Monday, January 21, 2013

Birding Bend - January 21

Yesterday we spent a fruitless day searching for Lapland Longspurs that had been observed between Bend and Sisters. Mixed in with a flock of Horned Larks, we scoured several fields to no success. Though we located a Great Blue Heron standing in a newly plowed field, American Kestrel dive-bombing a Red-tailed Hawk, Pinyon Jays and a couple of Clark's Nutcrackers, we didn't find the larks or longspurs.

So this morning when we set out for a Barred Owl reported down at Farewell Bend park, I was less than optimistic. Fortunately, that feeling turned positive.

We ran into several other birders down along the river; Madell explaining that the owl had just flown across the river. Optimism rising. We moved away from the Deschutes River and headed down the trail. Success! The owl had landed in the grass near one of the small frozen ponds in the park. Several passersby stopped and watched the bird which seemed intent on some longer grass at the base of a tree. All of us moved down the trail and the owl stayed put.

At one point, a walker on the other side of the trail passed by the owl within 10 feet. The owl seemed unconcerned. Eventually, the owl flew off, crossed two lanes of traffic as we all shouted to "get higher." The bird seemed to barely miss several vehicles, then landed on the far side of the Reed Market.

Nice to see one of the reported birds now and then.

Species count to date: 70

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Birding Bend

Spent the morning at Hatfield (frozen) Lakes in Bend. The first pond was about 1/2 frozen and the second pond was totally frozen. A good selection of waterfowl in the first pond with buffleheads, ring-necked ducks, redheads, lesser scaup, and cackling geese, plus a bunch of others.

In terms of birds of prey - bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, northern pygmy owl.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Year of the Wildflower

Every year, the National Garden Bureau selects a perennial, vegetable and flower to represent their "plants of the year."

Selected for popularity, widely adaptable and easy-to-grow characteristics, these plants reflect horticultural diversity across the country. 


For 2013, NGB has chosen wildflowers to represent the category of "perennial of the year." So rent a sod cutter, remove that static lawn and start a wildflower bed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birding Bend

Checked out a burn from 2012 on the China Hat road today. I don't know the name of this burn, but it is younger than the 2003 Skeleton Fire. The fire didn't burn a large area, but torched most of the shrubbery and the pondos in the area. Of course, this attracts the woodpeckers and they were out there today.

I counted at least 35 hairy woodpeckers. Some trees have 4 or 5 birds pounding away. I also saw 2 white-headed woodpeckers - beautiful birds and with distinctive calls. A few mountain chickadees and a lone white-breasted nuthatch rounded out the group.

Though I didn't see the diversity that had been reported, this area near my home will get visited again.

Species to date: 55

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bird Watch - Bend Bulletin

Here is a link to my latest Bird Watch piece in the Bend Bulletin.

The great horneds around my neighborhood have been very active lately, and I've also seen several in the surrounding agricultural areas perched on phone poles around sunset.

Birding Bend

It has been a fruitful and frustrating week on the birding beat here in Bend. My nemesis bird - a Harris's sparrow - eluded me during several visits. I'm putting on my tweed cap and pulling out the curved pipe to help with my search later today.

A visit to the Millican area, blanketed with snow, turned up few birds. A lone horned lark, one northern harrier, a solitary rough-legged hawk were observed along the main roadway. Though short of birds, the area was literally plastered with jackrabbit, deer and mice tracks - amazing at how much activity is out there.

Yesterday, during a dog walk out along the #63 trail near Horse Butte, we observed a flock of over 200 pinyon jays foraging in the scattered ponderosa pines along the trail. It must be an excellent year for ponderosa seeds - the jays, Clark's nutcrackers, red crossbills and red-breasted nuthatches have been all over the trees in the area and even the ones around my home.

So, I'm off in search of a Harris and will check out a new burn off of China Hat that local birder Pete Lowe reported having a lot of woodpecker activity. That one will have to wait for later in the week when time allows for a visit.


Year-to-date: 50 species.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Birding Bend - 2013

January 1

Another year, another attempt. Another start at a Deschutes County Year. Easy to begin, tough to finish.

First bird of the year? A song sparrow in the back yard. Just beat out the dark-eyed juncos that started calling the second after the sparrow made itself known.

So from there, the day began with a dog walk through the neighborhood. Cold and clear, with a dark band of clouds on the low horizon. Bird three was an adult bald eagle, gliding towards the east at roof top level.

Cooper's hawk
The house sparrows and house finches found in their normal location on Woodside North. Western scrub-jays, red-breasted nuthatches and mountain chickadees calling and flitting across the road. Down at the intersection, an immature northern goshawk perched in some bare aspens. White supercillium line, heavily barred belly, long tail, large size. At least a nice start...

Later on in the day, a walk along the Canal trail down by Blakely Park. Reports of Harris's sparrows draws me to the point, but no such luck. More on how these sparrows have been my nemesis for the past two years at another point. More house sparrows and finches, but a lone red-breasted sapsucker drilling holes in a large ponderosa, a solo Cooper's hawk out looking for lunch, a red-tailed hawk navigating through thick limbs and past long needles.

All in all, a good start to 2013. Stay tuned...

Here's the day's list:
Canada goose
California quail
Bald eagle
Sharp-shinned hawk
Cooper's hawk
Northern goshawk
Red-tailed hawk
Eurasian collared-dove
Mourning dove
Red-breasted sapsucker
Downy woodpecker
Northern flicker
Western scrub-jay
Common raven
Mountain chickadee
Red-breasted nuthatch
Townsend's solitaire
American Robin
Varied thrush
Spotted towhee
Song sparrow
Dark-eyed junco
House finch
Red crossbill
House sparrow