Heading east.

Driving east from Portland is always a fun time.  The birds and landscape change more dramatically than driving south, and there are way less people to trip over.  Yesterday I headed that way with Christian to visit some old spots and some new ones too.  First stop:  Eagle Creek.

Barrow's Goldeneye

I was pretty psyched for some side by side comparisons of female Common and Barrow's Goldeneyes.  The differences in bill shape really stood out, and the Barrow's looked noticeably smaller, though Sibley suggests that Barrow's are actually slightly larger in general.

Common Goldeneye with two Barrow's Goldeneyes

While we were standing on the freeway exit bridge looking down on the creek, Christian pointed out an American Dipper hopping on a log.  The bird proceeded to put on quite a show while we were able to watch from directly above.  A unique experience for me...


From the overlook we saw even more goldeneyes, coots, and a dipper swimming like a maniac in much deeper water...


You better believe my brain tried to turn this into a wayward murrelet before accepting its dipperness

From Eagle Creek we continued our eastward travels, eventually exiting the interstate to the more scenic Mosier-The Dalles Highway.  A Wild Turkey along the side of the road was an awesome surprise...


Only my second time seeing a turkey in Oregon... So cool.  More from this road...

Deer gotta pee too

Memaloose Viewpoint

 First snowman of the year at Rowena Crest

 Next stop: Deschutes River State Recreation Area.  I love this park so much, and with zero other people on the trail it was even better.


I managed to summon a Rock Wren that gave us very nice views, but never heard or saw any Canyon Wrens.


 Along the trail was this little fella that I am tentatively calling a greenhouse stone cricket:


Seems to be missing one of its legs.  Made me think of this story on NPR not too long ago, which is pretty amazing.

With sunlight disappearing quickly we continued on south down 97 to Grass Valley, then west on 216 where we found a Rough-legged Hawk.  I won't discuss the details, but Christian got way better shots than me.  Here is one I managed:


And some more scenery...



Lastly, we pulled over so I could pee down a snowy slope in the dark while grasping a barbed wire fence for support, and I found this neat skull on the side of the road:


Such a good day.  Surprisingly no one got murdered in a snowy field under the near-full moon, as poetic as it would have been.  I am already itching to get back out there.  Good times!!

Comments

  1. Looks like a nice adventure! The Canyon Wren is sweet.

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  2. Great day and outing..I love the Dipper shots. Great captures of the deer in the fog. The views are gorgeous. Have a great week and happy birding.

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  3. awesome outing Jen...I love to watch a dipper,,,I often see them running the streams in the woods when I go waterfall hiking...never got a good shot like the ones you got here!! The turkey is a beauty and the wren too!! What kind of skull horse, cow? Something big!!

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  4. Wow, that first Goldeneye shot is absolutely gorgeous, and the Dipper was captured quite nicely too. Drool...drool.

    Unshaven-legged Hawks are a bitch to photograph, but what a sick bird!

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