Posted by: atowhee | October 17, 2015


UPDATE: Saturday morning two of the birders from our Friday group revisited our spots and saw a Great Gray Owl…and then another one.  Two before lunch!  Much smiling in that auto.  See bottom on blog for GGO pics on a rainy mountain morning.  Pics from Joanna Dixon and Erica Herron whose second trip up paid off double.

I was leading a six-pack of visiting birders from the Fremont (CA) area yesterday.   We were in the Cascades east of Ashland seeking Great Gray Owl.  Despite repeated visits to meadows where they hunt, in both morn and eve, we dipped.  Nada.  But another bird they all wanted to see was Pileated Woodpecker.  We totaled nine before the day darkened including quintuplets along Keno Access Road, screaming, drumming loudly and even one aerial chase. Here are the first two we saw along Dhale City Road (where we also had unsatisfying glimpses of scurrying Mountain Quail).  pw1 (1280x960) pw2 (1280x960) pw3 (1280x960) pw4 (1280x960)Here’s one of our group along what should be the shore of Hyatt Lake at 5000′ elevation.  All that grassland behind here is lake bed turned to meadow.  The white spot in the sliver of remnant water is a small group of White Pelicans.  HAYTT DRY2 (1280x960)HYATT DRY (1280x960) WP-FEED (1280x960) WP-FFED2 (1280x960)Ducks on Hyatt Lake included Shoveler, Bufflehead, Green-winged teal, Redhead plus Eared Grebe and a Bald Eagle overhead.  Coots numbered a couple thou.

Our most exciting bird of the day was a Prairie Falcon that flew right toward us across Howard Prairie (where I’ve never seen one before) then pulled up at the last minute showing us a fine view of his nether half. One of us got great picture of that flight which I will share when I get a copy.

We saw three Harriers (one a male) in the Howard Prairie meadows, plenty of Red-tails all over.  Sparrows at Howard Prairie included Savannah, Lark and a lingering Vesper.  We had Song Sparrow elsewhere plus Spotted Towhees and Juncos–good day for the sparrow family.  Also, we had a flock of Western Meadowlarks at Howard Prairie, some even landing in the road.

We found no Mountain Bluebirds  but Westerns were seen in two places above 3000′ elevation.

This Hairy Woodpecker landed on this stalk of roadside mullein along Keno Access Road. A good day for woodpeckers including a Red-breasted Sapsucker, Acorn, and a plentitude of Flickers.HAWO-WEED (1280x960)HAWP FEED2 (1280x960)I will post our checklists here tomorrow (Sunday).ggo-satGGO on post, same owl on small ponderosa.  Here owl is hunting a meadow that free-range cattle are fenced out of.  BLM land. ggo-sat2Keno Access Road, Jackson, Oregon, US
Oct 16, 2015. 14 species

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  X     fly over
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  5
Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  3
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  4
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2

Shale City Road, Jackson, Oregon, US
Oct 16, 2015 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM.  17 species

Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus)  6–not seen well, as gthey scuttled off into the underbrush
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  1     in oak scrub
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  4
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  2
Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  4
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  6
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  2
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  2     in oak scrub on lower Shale City Road
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)  3
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  X
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  1

Howard Prairie Lake, Jackson, Oregon, US
Oct 16, 2015.  10 species

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  20     fly-over
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  4
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)  1
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)  1
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)  1
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  5
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  10

Hyatt Reservoir, Jackson, Oregon, US
Oct 16, 2015 2:50 PM – 3:35 PM.  17 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  150
American Wigeon (Anas americana)  10
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  200
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  10
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  15
Redhead (Aythya americana)  6
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  10
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  2
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)  2
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  10
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  4
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  1
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  2000
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)  1     feeding along the shoreline!

Howard Prairie Circuit, Jackson, Oregon, US
Oct 16, 2015.  Comments:  mostly along Dead Indian Memorial Road
12 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  X
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  1


  1. This must be a misspelling. No one ever sees NINE pileateds! (I bet you tell good fish tales too. Just kidding.)

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