A friend cruised through town and we took to the road. Mosier to The Dalles via the Old Columbia Highway through the Memaloose Hills and Rowena Plateau. Up over to the Tygh Valley and down to Maupin where we parted ways as he headed to Bend and i to Portland.
Faraday Reservoir to Little Crater Lake.
Chestnut-sided Warbler. The hardest part of the hunt? Finding out where campsites 1-8 were!
The state listserve was abuzz for a couple of weeks about a male Chestnut-sided Warbler inhabiting the stream side Aspens behind campsite 6 through 8 in Indian Ford Campground between Sisters and Bend. On our first pass through the campground we were totally confused as to where campsites 1-8 were and gave up.
About half way to Calliope Crossing i had a nagging feeling we should of crossed that little bridge and we turned around. When we got there a couple of birders showed us where the bird was and we spent a half an hour or more watching it come in and out of the stream-side Aspen thicket. The bird put on a great show!
We spent the rest of the day in the Ponderosa/Bitterbrush woodlands and made our way up the recently opened McKenzie Hwy into the montane forests of the Cascade crest.
Another side trip was out of Sisters up to the Tam McArthur Rim in search of woodpeckers in the burn areas. Not knowing this area well, or even where the woodpeckers had been seen recently, it turned out to be just a very enjoyable drive up to the snow. Many wild flowers were in bloom and a few butterflies were flitting about.
eBird Reports for:
This was essentially the same trip as yesterday’s post except i went to Clear Lake, in the rain, instead of Camas Prairie up in the Cascades, and traveled different roads out on the plateau. My main focus for the day was really the wildflowers.
However, i did come across a colony of Tri-colored Blackbirds which are not all that common on the plateau. I was walking the road and scouting the ditches for wildflowers when the sound of these birds made me take notice that they weren’t the default Red-wings. I would of probably just walked on by if not for their vocalization making me check them out. It was mid-day so the lighting was really harsh making it difficult to get any great photos of these black birds. But there’s a few that are diagnostic.
In the ditches i did find Narrow-leafed Milkweed, a couple of Buckwheats, and a Mariposa Lily as well. Oh, and a Northern Sagebrush Lizard — my first on the plateau!
I’ve been thinking about getting a small digital sound recorder to carry with me in the field. If anyone has a recommendation i’d like to hear it.
Outside of Maupin at Criterion Summit i walked out in to a recently burned grass and juniper field to get some pictures of the wildflowers dotting the area and i kicked up some Vesper Sparrows along with a few Chipping and Brewer’s Sparrows. Later in the month i was to also find Ash-throated Flycatchers at this spot. If you happen by it’s worth the stop to walk the short path into the field that heads west.
Ecoregions were the same as yesterday’s post.
Oregon State Highway 216. This little road covers a wide range of habitat; too much to adequately cover in a single day, or even two days. On the west end it starts off in the high Cascades, drops into the oak and conifer foothills of Pine Grove and out onto the Umatilla Plateau.
On this day i only made it to 197 and really didn’t do justice to the grasslands having spent most of my time trying, unsuccessfully i might add, figuring out Camas Prairie. I hiked the trail heading west from the corral and just wandered through a dense forest for a few miles. I caught a few glimpses of opening but it was on the other side of a pole fence that i followed for about a mile. i’m just not sure what to make of that place. I was really hoping to round up some dragonflys — maybe next time.
The oak woodlands around Pine Grove seem like really nice habitat but i couldn’t find any real access. It appears to be all privately held land.
I continued out to 197 and drove the road that follows the White River into the hamlet of Tygh Valley. It was just a real quick scouting trip as it was getting late in the day.
The conifer and oak foothills bordering the Columbia River just outside of Mosier is some of the most beautiful landscape in Oregon. It is very rich in wildflowers due to it’s transition from western Oregon to the drier eastern Oregon. It is designated as Level III as 9 and 9c at Level IV.
I had my dog with me so we could not visit Tom McCall’s Preserve. And this is definitely the end of dog season throughout most of the grasslands. The Cheat Grass is so thick it literally takes hours to clean it out from between aBoo’s toes. She is just miserable and even sits down and refuses to go any further.