Posted by: atowhee | June 11, 2014


I am leading the field trip to Malheur for Golden Gate Audubon. We are on the 320 miles drive from Ashland to the Malheur Field Station. We go through the Cascades (Sandhill Cranes, Mountain Bluebird), down to the Klamath Basin (Black Tern, eagles, Osprey, Yellow-headed Blackbirds), Collier State Park on the Williamson River (Dipper, Wood-Pewee, more Osprey), then across the open spaces of Klamath Marsh (Horned Lark in the grasslands, Cinnamon Teal in the water)…and then…look at that bird!XBILL CU
A family of Red Crossbills in a bare willow along the road across the marsh…at least two hundred yards from the ponderosa pine. Of course, you never know when or where you’ll encounter crossbills, but I would never have put Klamath Marsh on the list of possible locations. The eBird records for the K-Marsh NWR show several sightings over the years, but I have to believe most came in the ponderosa, not the willows surrounded by water lilies and reeds.
Later along Greenhouse lane south of Burns we saw a family of four being harassed by angry neighbors. Hell hath no fury like an Icterid irritated.

Early in our birding day we got to watch a pair of Red-breasted Sapsuckers carry food to their brood. Their best hole was in a tree shared with House Wren and Tree Swallows. The tree stood only ten yards from the Rocky Point Boat Launch on Klamath Lake. Here is a sequence of events at the nest hole.RBS1










That one shot showing the beak full of insects makes me think the sapsucker parent had gathered a number of carpenter ants.


  1. […] They often feed their young on insects and I once got a photo of an adult carrying a beak-full of carpenter ants into a nest hole near Klamath Lake (at Rocky Point). If you want to see that image click on this link and scroll down to the sapsucker section, past the… […]

  2. Adorable sequence, thanks.

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