Sherman County again.

Yesterday I went back to Sherman County to try to get some better looks at the birds I found there last month.  I had some success but was pretty surprised to find that a big wildfire had spread through...  According to the Oregon Department of Forestry it burned about 5600 acres.  Unfortunately some of the best spots I had found for sparrows were completely burned and seemingly bird-free.

Oh well, I found some other good spots.  On my way down Highway 97 I was surprised to look over and see seven pronghorn standing on a hill looking at me.  I didn't realize they could be found this far west.  I love them. 

I found the meadowlark in charge of hunting on someone's property.  He took his job very seriously... Not sure how he held the pen.

It was definitely a good day for Horned Larks.  On my last trip I only saw one or two and they were not the pretty adults I saw yesterday.  Check out the horns!

And the horns from behind...

It was a pretty nice day out- I could see both Mount Hood and Mount Adams.  Here's Adams:

I came across one bird that kinda stumped me.  The only bird I can even guess is Say's Phoebe, but it doesn't really sit right with me...

Eh?  Then there was this guy:

There were lots of Western Kingbirds around, including this pair that I followed for a bit:

I passed a deer carcass at one point, and on my way back a Turkey Vulture was poised on a telephone pole keeping watch on it.  He spread his wings for several minutes at a time in a couple different positions though I'm not sure why.  It was pretty damn warm and there was certainly no way he was wet and I can't imagine he was cold.   I thought maybe it would help attract other vultures to the deer, but that's kind of a long shot.

That was about it for birds... There were tons of grasshoppers though.

When I got back to Portland I discovered one had hitched a ride in the car with me.  Hope they're not invasive.  Good times!


  1. Re: your Turkey Vulture:

    "The Horaltic Pose

    Turkey Vultures are often seen standing in a spread-winged stance (see photo at right). This is called the "horaltic pose." The stance may serve multiple functions, including warming the body and drying the wings. Research on this pose suggests that turkey vultures spread their wings in the mornings, once the sun's intensity reaches a certain level, to raise their body temperature (which they lower at night by a few degrees as an energy saving mechanism"


    Looks like a Say's Phoebe to me with an uncommonly deeply notched tail -- molt artifact?


  2. Im a big pronghorn proponent, it looks several of those are young of the year? Sweet.

  3. You had a great trip...Awesome to see the pronghorn! Terrific line up of birds too...I also wondered about the deep notched tail but it sure looks like a says!
    Almost time for the migrants to start moving!

  4. Hi Jen, it is always a treat to come and see the birds on your blog. Another great day of birding and wonderful photos.

  5. Cool Horned Lark! Looks like a Say's Phoebe to me.
    The fire is a bummer. I drove past one burning out that way a few years ago.


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