I survived my camping trip with the dogs this weekend. I had fun but it was not without some troubles- the heat felt brutal in the afternoons, Jake got covered in sap, I got stung on the palm of my hand by something, I missed the Chestnut-sided Warbler despite camping a hundred yards or so from its hangout...
Regardless of all that, a weekend in the woods is a weekend in the woods, and I came back feeling great. My plan for the trip was to bird a bunch of areas I had never visited before and on that note I was completely successful.
The areas I visited were all parts of different burned areas, the first being the GW Burn. I realized quickly that the most abundant birds there (and everywhere it seemed) were Chipping Sparrows. I briefly tried to turn a juvenile into a variety of different sparrows before it clicked that it was just a chippy young lad....
This burn area turned up a nice little variety of woodpeckers for me... I believe this fellow is a Red-naped X Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid, but am not positive:
I was happy to find several Lewis's Woodpeckers in this area too:
I watched one of the woodpeckers get chased by a hummingbird from one tree to another. It looked like the hummer was dive-bombing the woodpecker until they both landed in the same tree, and the hummer took off. I had never seen this before.
After setting up camp at Indian Ford I took the dogs for a walk in the trees around Cold Springs Cutoff. It was fairly birdy with nuthatches, Western Bluebirds, more Chipping Sparrows, flickers, and Mountain Chickadees...
Ralph came ridiculously close to catching a little squirrel here. So glad he failed.
The next morning we headed to the Rooster Rock Burn, south of Sisters. The first hour or so was a bit frustrating- I'd hear a woodpecker and head towards the sound only for the sound to stop and no bird to be seen.
Eventually I found a few birds, like this flycatcher:
There were lots of Pygmy Nuthatches in this area and I watched one pluck a little wormy thing out of some pine needles. He could not seem to figure out how to eat it though- I even saw it wrap around his beak briefly.
I saw a lot of young bluebirds on this trip. In this area there was a Mountain Bluebird papa around so I felt confident that the young ones were Mountains as well.
Nearby I heard woodpeckers pecking and was psyched to find a trio of Black-backed Woodpeckers!
They were not at all interested in getting their photos taken. Also around were cowbirds, ravens, Cassin's Finches, Hairy Woodpeckers, flickers, and Mourning Doves. After a few hours in this area I headed back through Sisters and stopped at Forest Road 1018 (also called Trout Creek Butte Road I think). After a snack I took the dogs for a walk around an area where I had seen White-headed Woodpeckers on previous trips. Sweet success!!
The dogs and I were sitting in a shady spot when I heard some knocking but could not see a woodpecker anywhere. Until a little white head popped out of that hole!
So cute. I saw two more in the nearby trees, but no good photos. The last major area I wanted to explore was the Shadow Lake Burn which occurred last summer. I had actually photographed the smoke from the fire when I was on my way back from Malheur NWR in early September, so I was psyched to see what things looked like now.
This was the most frustrating area I birded- I heard so many woodpeckers and could only locate a single Hairy Woodpecker. I had really hoped for American Three-toed or even some Williamson's Sapsuckers, but no... Sure saw a lot of Steller's Jays though...
There were a couple of Rufous Hummingbirds zipping around too but only fuzzy photos...
After several hours around this area the dogs were panting so loud I couldn't really listen for woodpeckers anymore. We all chugged some water and got on the road to home.
It was a great trip despite missing so many birds I had hoped to see. There's always next time! Good times!!