Posted by: atowhee | September 12, 2022

From Chukar to Lewis’s Woodpecker to East Rim Overlook

Sept. 11, Harney County.  Smoke and dust and not-so-good air.
We began our final day of the Malheur Field Station birding trip at refuge headquarters.  The feeders and the trees were busy.  Among species we saw: Lewis’s Woodpecker (one birder had come from Montreal specifically to photograph that species), Gray Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Western Tanager, Anna’s Hummingbird, House Wren, Spotted Towhee, Fox Sparrow.

At HQ there were at least two dozen Turkey Vultures waking up from, sleep in the tall trees.  Later at Buena Vista we again saw TVs in a rising kettle.  Then at P Ranch there was a kettle surrounding their beloved roost on the old lookout tower.

Thence south on Hwy 205.  Just south of MP 45, north of Krumbo Lane we drove through a road cut with shallow rock cliffs on  both sides. I saw a chicken-like bird run across in front of us.  “Can’t be a quail here,” I thought.  It took some maneuvers to turn the van around.  Speeding back we found a flock of Chukar, at least fourteen.  Parents and young clambering up the rock face.

One wag said, “Collective noun would be Upp Chukar.” 
“That’s sick, nauseating,” said Wag #2.

At P Ranch there was some bird business along the Silvies River trail.  Both species of goldfinch were there and a Lincoln’s Sparrow…most by the Long Barn.

At Frenchglen we walked the first part of the Barnes Spring Trail.  A solitaire passed overhead.  Dozens of crows crowded around the Frenchglen Hotel.

In the afternoon we did the Steens Mountain Loop, starting at the south end.  Mountain Bluebirds were our first reward.  Sparrows were numerous at several spots, especially Vesper.  More Horned Larks.  At East Rim Overlook above 9500 feet elevation a junco came up the canyon wall—our only one this trip.  Then a Chipping Sparrow.  Mountain Bluebirds decorated the craggy cliff face.  At least two Golden Eagles soared below our feet, and ravens and a red-tail.  Heading back downhill a couple of Prairie Falcon performed overhead.

Heading north through Frenchglen we passed a large flock of feeding Barn Swallows.

Among the fine insects today were a green mantis who flew on pale wings, and a metallic green dragonfly at Frenchglen, one among many.  The pronghorn were in a field north of Sod House Farm. 

I believe the planet next to the full moon is Jupiter. I was wrong–Venus, says somebody who knows.

Our trip list from four days topped 110 species.

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