Date: 6/24/18 12:12 pm
From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
Subject: [obol] Rock gardens, birds, and a cinnamon bear
Hi all,

My daughter Martha, a friend of hers and I ran the Santiam Breeding Bird
Survey (BBS) route this morning, after camping out Saturday night near
Crabtree Lake (the headwaters of Crabtree Creek, above Lacomb in Linn

At Crabtree Lake we gave our annual greetings to the multitude of
Rough-skinned Newts, then checked out the rock gardens on the volcanic
outcrops. Stonecrop is blooming abundantly now, along with Tolmie's
Cat's-Ear (Calochortus) and a couple of other plants I haven't managed
to identify yet. Paintbrush, lupines, penstemon, bleeding-heart, etc.
are also blooming in widespread locations, so this is a colorful time to
visit the mid-elevations of the Cascades.

A few Hermit Thrushes took turns with Swainson's Thrushes and Varied
Thrushes to provide the evening chorus (curiously, though we heard
numbers of all three, we seldom heard Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes
singing at the same time. A few Vaux's Swifts skittered through the sky
over a stand of old-growth where they still can find natural snags for

At sunset a few Common Nighthawks came out calling; one male "boomed"
in a display flight. As we crawled into our sleeping bags, a pair of
Spotted Owls started calling, then one flew over our campsite. It was
good to know that some are still around despite the invasion by Barred
Owls, which we also heard through the night.

In the morning we got up early so we were ready to start the BBS route
by 04:54 (the designated starting time). A Northern Pygmy-Owl joined the
pre-dawn chorus at the second stop. Farther along the route we
encountered good numbers of Hammond's Flycatchers in stands on BLM land
that were thinned a couple of summers ago, plus many Pacific-slope
Flycatchers in denser stands of mixed forest, Willow Flycatchers in
young "reprod" (replanted) stands, and one Olive-sided Flycatcher.

This year's route brought no major surprises in terms of birds. However
a "cinnamon" Black Bear out foraging in a replanted clearcut at the 16th
stop was a real treat to see. The bear was ambling through the stumps,
apparently searching for grubs in decaying logs. At one point it climbed
up on a big stump and just sat there for a while, sniffing the breeze.
After it climbed back down I finally remembered that I had a camera in
the minivan, and snapped a few photos.

The 10 minutes or so that we spent enjoying the bear almost cost us
later in the route, when one of our tires got shredded on a very rocky
stretch of road. After digging out one of the two spare tires that I
always carry for this route, and swapping it in, we had to hustle to
finish the rest of the route on time. We made it to Stop 50 just in time
to complete the last 3-minute point count by 09:54, exactly five hours
after we started.

Happy mid-summer exploring,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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