Posted by: atowhee | August 15, 2014


I was guiding a trio of visiting birders this evening. They all wanted to see one of our local Great Gray Owls. We tried several likely spots–no luck. But the night ended with smiles all around because we had driven along a…ruff road: in the sooty twilight:

This RuffedSooty Grouse had been lazily feeding along Shale City Road.

When a fellow birder pointed out the bird’s yellowish eyebrows and then I re-examined the photos you can also see the broad pale bar at the tip of the tail…Sooty, not Ruffed, Grouse.
RUFF RUN (1280x960)
Other interesting sightings: a flock of Western Tanagers, clearly mustering for migration. A Wilson’s Warbler and a Hermit Warbler. Brown Creeper. Two Common Nighthawks over Keno Access Road. Sandhill Cranes at Howard Prairie. Two flocks of Mountain Bluebirds there.
At Howard Prairie we watched a pair of Kestrels kiting over the grassland.
Along fence lines there were a rich variety of seedeaters: Vesper, Lark and Chipping Sparrow and a juvenile Lazuli Bunting.
KEST REST1 (1280x960)

KEST-KITE1 (1280x960)


Here’s a Vesper Sparrow photo taken by Dianne Fristom at Howard Prairie:
Vesper sp
Yesterday on Shale City Road I saw a California Towhee, somewhere over 3000′ elevation. Not where I would expect that species.P2110117 (1280x960)

Shale City Road, Jackson, US-OR
Aug 15, 2014 4:30 PM – 5:10 PM
Protocol: Traveling
10.0 mile(s)
5 species

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) 1

Sooty Grouse
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 15
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) 1

Willow Witt Ranch, Jackson, US-OR
Aug 15, 2014 4:50 PM – 6:10 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 mile(s)
9 species

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 2
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 4
Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis) 1
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) 1
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) 6

Howard Prairie Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Aug 15, 2014 7:10 PM – 7:35 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
12 species

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) 2
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 2
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) 15
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 12
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) 1
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) 1
Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) 1

Keno Access Road, Jackson, US-OR
Aug 15, 2014 7:30 PM – 7:50 PM
Protocol: Traveling
7.0 mile(s)
5 species

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) 2
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) X


  1. That bird standing calmly in the road is clearly an unruffled grouse.

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