Showing posts from April, 2016

Call of the Wagtail.

"Part of me wants it to disappear before I can look for it." - A famous birder on a rare bird being seen near them.

On Sunday while at work I got word that a White Wagtail had been found near Bend in central Oregon, though with my weekend not beginning until Tuesday I had zero hope of seeing the bird.  These Siberian wonders tend not to stick around for long but stick around it did.  It was seen all day on Monday.  This meant that I should try for it Tuesday, though I was not feeling it.  I went to bed Monday with the decision made that I would stick to local birding.

But then something happened Tuesday morning to cause me to wake with a start at 3:30 a.m.   It could only be described as the Call of the Wagtail (with a hint of the call of nature).  I wanted to go chase that bird.  I got up and packed my bags, made some coffee, remembered the dog food and the phone charger and took off down the highway at a ridiculous hour.

Wasco County sunrise

I stopped once along 97 so the …

Recent birds.

It sounds stupid, but I had somehow forgotten how much I love spring.  It's never boring between the birds, the bugs, the weeds, and the seeds.  Endless yard work with endless distractions.  I love it.  I was getting nervous this year as my favorite distraction, the Osprey that nest in view of my front yard, had not returned.  There were no Osprey flying over the house, no calls heard in the distance.  They usually show up the first week of April but this year their favored light pole had only been visited by the occasional starling.  Finally on Monday I caught one cruising over...

On Wednesday I went out front to check the development of an awesome red flower that had appeared and found it had been cut.  Grr.  Then I heard them.  I looked over at the high school field and saw three Osprey by the light pole, one sitting on the nonexistent nest.  I forgot about the flower.

Yesssss.  Everything is right again.

I took the dogs up to Mount Tabor twice this week for some migrant-huntin…

The rest of Umatilla County.

After securing a motel in Pendleton for the night and resting up for a bit, the mutts and I returned to Coombs Canyon Road to search for owls at dusk.

Not owls.
Light rain fell during the 10-mile drive down the road but amazingly stopped when I turned around.  On the return trip I finally had a little success with two Great Horned Owls, one perched on a tree and the other in front of the bright turquoise sky on a telephone pole.  
Unfortunately this was the only owl species I could find before I retreated to my motel.  In the morning I drove down to the Battle Mountain Forest State Scenic Corridor where some forest birds were waiting for me.   At the state park I walked the dogs around in the fresh dusting of snow finding Steller's Jay, Mountain Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco and...
Williamson's Sapsucker!
I drove the area for awhile hoping for a chicken or two, but no luck.  It was freezing with a steady breeze so I decided to head back north to explore another canyon and sage are…