Posted by: atowhee | August 27, 2014


This time of year the mid-day temps climb above 90 degrees. The sun threatens to melt the binoculars’ strap. Birds take looong siestas. So I tell myself the birding is better at 4000′, or maybe even at 6500′ elevation (not admitting that each 1000′ climb means 4 degrees less heat in the air).
Yesterday evening I had to drive to Klamath Falls. I left in time to get in some pre-darkness mountain birding.
One young Mountain Quail standing next to Shale City Road before ducking back into the underbrush.

mtn quail1

Later a Sooty Grouse picking insects off the road itself. I followed this bird for a hundred yards without trying to get out of the car. Shots taken through a newly cleaned windshield.
SOOTY-TAIL2 (1280x960)

SOOTYT-FOCUSD (1280x960)

soot walk1 (1221x1280)

soot-look3 (1280x1153)





SOOTY-BEST (1280x960)

SOOTY-E (1280x960)

SOOTY-G (1280x960)

SOOTY-LOOKS2 (934x1280)

Around Milepost 12 on Clover Creek Road: Olive-sided Flycatcher sharing treetop with his little cuz, the Western Wood-Pewee. Neither bird is ever likely to share a hunting spot with one of its own species outside of family-rearing season.TWO FLYS

TWO FLYZ UP Olive-sided alone: OSF
Half of the Kestrel pair hunting a hayfield in Keno:KEST AT KENO

On the eastern slope of the Cascades the Aspen are beginning to shower the ground with gold.
When even a slight, parching August breeze ruffles the aspen, the quaking leaves sound like rainfall. It’s an aural mirage.
A cedar tree of two minds…
CEDAR TWIST1 (960x1280)


Late morning today I met some visiting birders up on Mt. Ashland. There was a hatch of small dark flies and every bird we saw was flycatching. Not only flycatchers and bluebirds… but Juncos…Red-breasted Sapsuckers…Chipping Sparrows…Red-breasted Nuthatches. Getting hungry, I was tempted to grab a bit myself, but stayed with the trail mix.
But the best catch of the day was not one but two sightings of a Northern Goshawk. Each time it was cruising above the treetops. The second time the bird circled high above the campground, gaining altitude without a single wing flap. The big, muscular, soaring accipiter is a wonder to watch. No Sharp-shinned Hawk could ever muster that kind of aerial show.Northern GoshhawkThis photo of the Goshawk far overhead was taken under difficult lighting conditions by Dianne Fristom. The mid-day sun and sky were very bright.
Throw in the TVs, a Peregrine and a Cooper’s Hawk and we had four raptor species and not one of them was a Red-tail! That’s as good as a crowd of ducks with no Mallard!

Mt. Ashland, Jackson, US-OR
Aug 27, 2014 11:25 AM – 12:55 PM
12.0 mile(s). 22 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 2
Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 1
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) 2
White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus) 2
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 3
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) 1
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) 4
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) 1
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 3
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 4
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 4
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 2
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) 8
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 1
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 3
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 50
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) 1
Cassin’s Finch (Haemorhous cassinii) 1


  1. I’m going to be following your blog for a while as my wife and I will be in Oregon, birding for a week in October and anything I can find about where to go and what we might find is helpful. Mountain Quail has been a bit of a nemesis recently and I’m hoping that we might finally find one.

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