Steens Mountain.

My last morning in Southeastern Oregon I drove up Steens Mountain.. There are warnings in some guides and websites that you need a "high-clearance vehicle" to do the Steens Mountain Loop drive.  Though it's true you need one for the southern portion of the route, from Frenchglen to the summit is no worse than any other refuge gravel road. 


The beginning of the drive slowly gains elevation through open fields with hawks perched in almost every tree...

I assume this is just a Red-tailed Hawk, though I'm not familiar with this exact coloring/pattern. 




A kestrel perched on a rock...


A tree full of meadowlarks...  They're a bit hard to see without zooming in...



I have heard that Steens Mountain's summit is THE place to find Black Rosy-Finches in Oregon.  I did not find any, but I found this fella:


Cassin's Finch?


Here's a little White-crowned Sparrow with a berry in its mouth...


My first stop on the mountain was Kiger Gorge... It was absolutely beautiful...


Next stop was the East Rim..


Stunning views in almost every direction...



My last stop was the summit... You guessed it, even more amazing views.....


Jake was not so impressed.


I spent some time wandering around the top, hoping some finches or an eagle would show up, but no luck.  The only bird I saw was this bluebird...

At 9700 feet it must be a Mountain Bluebird...

Ok one more view...


It was a wonderful drive... I hope to do it again sometime!