Date: 12/24/17 11:02 am From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...> Subject: [COBOL] Other Lake/Harney County odds & ends
Hi again all,
In between Monday's Antone CBC and Hart Mountain, my daughter Martha and I joined the Summer Lake CBC for half a day, covering the Picture Rock Pass area.
Like others reported at the lunchtime gathering, we struggled to find birds in the windy conditions. We were finding more petroglyphs than birds until we happened across a big flock of BUSHTITS that were foraging on the lee side of the rocks. Our other main highlight from Picture Rock Pass was what appeared to be a set of WOLF tracks, probably a few days old. They were very large and made a beeline through the pass area, with none of the usual meandering that dogs tend to do. Later we heard that a few wolves have been in the area between Winter Ridge and Sycan Marsh.
A little lower down we tried hiking through an area that burned last summer, hoping for sage grouse, larks, or something. In some rocks next to a small aspen grove in a small canyon that comes down the NE end of Winter Rim, I managed to get a response from a CANYON WREN, but that was all. Up on the ridge crest, the wind was kicking up vortices of dust and that would come swirling down the canyon, just about strong enough to knock me off balance a couple of times. Lower down we found a NORTHERN SHRIKE.
Heading south along Hwy 140 on our way to Hart Mtn, we noticed that a big section of roofing had been peeled back from the barn on the west side of Summer Lake that has the big "No Smoking" sign painted on the north end. On Lake Abert -- which happily has quite a bit of water now -- the wind was kicking up whitecaps. Several hundred NORTHERN SHOVELERS were feeding close to the east shore.
After the Hart Mtn CBC, on our way to Sheldon NWR on Thursday we saw two big flocks of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS in the Warner Valley between Plush and Adel. In the high-elevation, sagebrush steppe part of Hwy 140 between Doherty Rim and the Nevada state line, we saw just three birds: a lone RAVEN, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and a NORTHERN SHRIKE.
Looping back from Sheldon NWR by way of Fields and the Alvord Desert on Saturday, just north of Andrews we came through a regular blizzard of AMERICAN ROBINS. We estimated well over a thousand just driving by and watching them peel off of the fencelines and sagebrush.
We checked for Rosy-Finches along the road out to Mickey Hot Springs but the snow line was too far up on the mountainsides. Back on the main gravel road, north of Mann Lake (which was frozen over and very windy) where we started to get into snow again, I got excited to see a flock of about 200 FINCHES fly up out of the treeless sagebrush, swirl around, landing briefly then flying again. We finally tracked them down and figured out that they were American Goldfinches.