Posted by: atowhee | May 28, 2019

HARNEY COUNTY: HWY 205–A BIRDER’S GUIDE

The following information is ephemeral, good for this season, this year.  The area between Hwy 78 and Wright’s Point is in the Silvies River floodplain and is wet this year.  Many fields have standing water.  Ponds and low places have capacity water, ditches are often flowing streams.  South of Milepost [MP] 9 the landscape becomes arid with some irrigated fields and plenty of sagebrush steppe.  The Narrows is grassland.  This year you may find pronghorn and Horned Larks there, not grebes and gulls.
All along north end of 205 watch for possible posted snipe and  various blackbirds.

MP 3   East end of Hotchkiss Lane, going west toward Hines on Hotchkiss you will find flooded fields with ducks and ibis and phalarope.  One area is now bright with a  blue from nature’s palette that is truer than sky blue–the common camas is  profligate with bloom and color.

MP 5 Just south of here is east end of Green House Lane.  Going west you find  more flooded fields.  Cranes, ducks, possible Black Terns fly-catching, ibis, the local mix of icterids, swallows.  Here we had Peregrine sitting on fence post.pere postd (2)
Near west end of Green House is Potter Swamp Lane, south on this you find more flooded pastureland.  Here we found nesting curlew near the road, peeking at us through the grass.

MP6  Farm pond at west end of Island Ranch Road.  Always a rewarding stop.  The fields about have all the area’s nesting shorebirds.  A Sora called from the flooded ditch next to the electric power sub-station.  The pond may yield ducks and attract fly-catching fliers from swallows up to Black Terns.

MP14  West end of Ruh-red Road which this year yields the annual Burrowing Owl nest for us tourists.  Further east is the seasonal marshland on either side of the swollen Silvies.  Ducks included Canvasback and Redhead.  Phalarope were swirling in water just ten yards from the van.  Shrike in the sagebrush.

MP 17  Just north of this is the Ferruginous nest in lone juniper.  We thought we saw at least three fuzzy ferruginettes.  In this photo both adults were briefly at nest together:FERRU-NEST (2)

MP 24 Narrows, dry, dry and dryer.  The water is apparently approaching from the east.

MP  33  Sagebrush Sparrow on the flanks of Saddle Butte.  Meadowlarks will serenade your search.

Buena Vista has the usual distant view of cranes in meadow to the southeast, not much life (unless you count coots of the feathered sort) in the revived ponds here–did see single pair of Ring-necked Ducks.  East on BV up the road that connects to Foster Flat the canyon there yielded a Raven nest, Lark Sparrows and Canyon Wren, just over mile from 205 at upper end near the stacked hay bales.

MP 42  Cliffs south of Buena Vista have nesting raptors.  We found Great Horned Owl with two chicks still white and fuzzy, one already out of the nest. That on west side of 205; to the east a Red-tail nest with chicks.  Cliff Swallows abound.

Further south approaching French Glen the fields are awash and the blackbirds and other bog lovers are plentiful…cranes, harriers, ibis. If you are  building a checklist you can depend on crows at French Glen.

Yellow-headed Blackbird collecting solar heat after cold night in Malheur Basin:hot yhb (2)

 


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