Posted by: atowhee | September 7, 2022

SALEM TO MALHEUR

Tuesday’s trip was from Salem to the Malheur Field Station.  And some side roads.  Over 300 miles with some birding thrown in.  First birdy stop was Sawyer Park along the Deschutes River in Bend.  A local birder told me the dippers were rarely seen that far downstream these days…but other birds were busy.  Pygmy Nuthatches chasing Yellow Warbler from a willow.  In the willows and cottonwood thickets were Anna’s Hummer, Cedar Waxwings, Cassin’s Vireo, and…WILLOW Flycatchers.  The nutty-hatches were everywhere, one even giving me the eye while it gleaned goodies out of the dirt.

Once inside Harney County I checked out some roads north of Riley where I had never birded before.  Mountain Bluebirds were hunting along both Silver Creek Road and Best Lane.  Along Best I also saw the largest magpie flock I’ve ever found.  Over thirty in one field.

I saw over forty pronghorn today—all in irrigated fields.  One at Hampton, the rest north of Riley.

Sage Thrashers evidently had a very successful breeding season—they are abundant and obvious in sagebrush habitat.

Other sightings: Bald Eagle near Hampton surveying an irrigated field; a Ferruginous Hawk in a green hay field along Silver Creek Road.

Most creeks and reservoirs are dry.  Agricultural irrigation was seen in numerous hay fields.  Nearly all of it involved spraying water through the air—this is not drip irrigation.

Click here for my summary of avian flu effects on wild birds in Oregon…so far.


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