East Columbia Gorge – Early November Weekend

Traveling to the Deschutes River mouth i was almost done in by a deer on I84.  Thank goodness there was a wide shoulder to dive into because i had just passed a semi when i had to slam on the breaks.  The deer is fine.

Anyway, first stop was Celilo Park.  I’m walking down to the boat ramp to scope the ducks and an very odd, big white bird comes in off the river.  My first thought was Great Egret – not unheard of in these parts but certainly uncommon.  What i found when i got my scope on it was even more rare – a leucistic Great Blue Heron!  Check out the pictures in the gallery.  It was early morning so the lighting was quite poor.

Also on the river was a Horned Grebe and a half a dozen or so Western Grebes along with assorted ducks and coots.  A nice surprise – a Varied Thrush in the park.

From there is was a stop at Heritage Landing and the Deschutes River Park.  Best birds here were a flyover Cooper’s Hawk, Barrow’s Goldeneye on the river, and another Varied Thrush.  A few reverse season wild flowers and the last of the summer’s bloom.  There were quite a few fungus up with the wet weather — too bad i don’t know my mushrooms, i’ll have to work on that.

Then off to the John Day Dam.  Best birds more Horned Grebes, Common Loons, Common Goldeneye, and Bonapart’s Gulls – LOTS of them at the spillway.  Also came across a finch i first thought was a Purple Finch.  The lighting was poor, it was a female so i left it un-ticked.  It could of been a Cassin’s Finch.

Level IV Ecoregion: Pleistocene Lake Basins (10e)

eBird Reports:
Celilo Park
Heritage Landing
Deschutes River Park
Biggs-Rufus Hwy
Rufus Landing
John Day Dam