For calling attention to this news. GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCHES making their near-annual appearance on Marys Peak are perhaps the closest thing that Benton County has to a "specialty bird." These are a species that a lot of folks really enjoy seeing and hearing about, both locally and from elsewhere around the Willamette Valley.
I'd add, if the Rosy-finches aren't right on the gravel road leading up to the summit, then the place to look for them is on the rocky, southern slope just as the road wraps around the south side of the communications towers, where there's about a 6- to 8-ft high rock outcrop/roadcut on the right, with a few desert-ish looking plants.
I wish I could channel Phil Hays here, as the local person perhaps most knowledgeable about the botany of that particular patch. But briefly, it's a very small patch of "desert" kept mostly clear of snow by winds in winter, and then catching full sun in summer.
Good luck to anyone looking for them. With as many as 7 Snow Buntings also in the area (the most I can recall in recent years) plus nutcracker, solitaire, and horned larks, that's indeed about as good as it's been for many years. The next thing to watch for might be Cassin's Finch (also nearly annual) and Mountain Bluebird.
Lars Norgren wrote:
> I just learned from Pam Otley that multiple parties of birders saw Gray Crowned Rosy Finches on and near the summit of dear Chintimini yesterday.. The species has been regular there since early 1970s so it's not getting flagged on eBird. > > Clark's Nutcracker, Snow Bunting, Townsend's Solitaire, Horned Lark...that's as birdy a visit to the Peak as l can remember. Pam Otley had the Rosy Finches and Snow Buntings together on the gravel road leading to the summit. No special skills needed to find them, just patience.
-- Joel Geier Camp Adair area north of Corvallis
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