Posted by: atowhee | September 10, 2022


Sept. 9, Harney County.

We began  our birding day at Sodhouse Ranch which is only open to the public for a shirt season in late summer and early autumn.  Some of the willows and cottonwoods there are 130 years old.  Forest birds are drawn there on migration—some we saw today were Cassin’s Vireo, Western Tanager and Yellow-rumped Warbler (myrtle).  The ranch gave us a good run of sparrows including three new for our trip: Spotted Towhee, Lincoln’s and vesper Sparrow.

Next we headed north along Hwy 205.  There were two groups of pronghorn north of The Narrows.  The famous juniper at MP17 was still standing, but the ferruginous’s nest there had collapse and fallen to the ground.  Will they rebuild?  North of greenhouse Lane we saw our first Ferruginous Hawk of the trip.

The Burns Sewer ponds were busy.  Must-watch were the busy 500 Red-necked Phalarope dining on surface servings of edibles,  There was a single Dunlin, three Least Sandpipers, dozens of Killdeer.  Besides shorebirds there were cormorant, shoveler, Ruddy Ducks, Eared Grebe.

We went north on US395 to lunch at Idlewild Campground–elevation c. 5000′.  No other people and our group out-numbered the birds seen.

After lunch at Idlewild, we drove back down to the basin. At Burns [fishing] Pond on Hwy 78 we saw our first Snowy Egret.

At Crane Hot Springs their big pond had stilts and coots and stuff.  We added two land birds to our trip List: Loggerhead Shrike and Brewer’s Sparrow.  Thence eastward to make our raptor run through Crane.  Our first Golden Eagle and two Burrowing Owls were along Crane-Buchanan Road.  South on Hwy n789 we saw two more Golden and a single Bald Eagle, another ferrugy, numerous red-tails and a kestrel.  Beneath some of the water-misting irrigation pivots were hundreds of Brewer’s Blackbirds.
As we hurried home along Sodhouse Road we saw a field full of curlew west of refuge headquarters, another new shorebird for our list.  Some were youngsters with beaks yet to reach full length.

Out trip list now tops 90 species.

Click on any image to see it full screen. Though we had already seen dozens of thrashers, the third before final pic shows one deigned to mpose for us in good light. Last one–young robin at Sodhouse Farm.


  1. Great sightings!! Was great to meet you. Did you see the trumpeter swans on Thursday? Nancy

    • Saw trumpeter pair at Benson Pond

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