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

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