Date: 6/15/20 5:50 pm From: Tim Rodenkirk <timrodenkirk...> Subject: [obol] Re: The saga of the Veery and the Wood Thrush (long)
I also prefer to find my own rarities and have NOT chased many “lifers” or
state birds recently found by others in the last decade. Most of my chasing
is on the south coast these days.
Anyhow, upon hearing the description of where this bird was and knowing
that it promised a most enjoyable hike, I was compelled to go down. I have
always wanted to see the Klamath Gorge. It is spectacular! We saw people
backpacking in on our way out. I count myself lucky to have seen such
Of course another big draw was to bird with friends I don’t see often which
included the two “finders” and Dave Haupt, all excellent birders and just
fun people to hang with. I went down Saturday afternoon, camped in the
Cascades at a remarkably beautiful non-campground location and picked up
Frank Mayer at 0430 in KFalls. We met Kevin and Dave and Paul and Courtney
and Caleb at 0530 at the rim and began or journey.
The wildflowers on the walk down were spectacular! We saw cool birds like
gnatcatchers and many singing Nashville Warblers etc. etc. just hiking
down. The river bottom is a paradise and the only spot in the county for YB
Chat and Wrentit (the latter we missed). There is a ton of history down
below and an old pioneer route that went through the area. It was utterly
spectacular Wood Thrush or not.
I really pick my chases anymore but this was a fun one, I would have been
smiling ear to ear whether or not the Wood Thrush was there or not. I also
sometimes forget that one of the perks of chasing is visiting with folks I
rarely see but enjoy visiting with very much.
Anyhow happy trails and happy birding- still looking for that mind bending
rarity in my neck iof the woods!
On Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 5:32 PM David Bailey <davidcbaileyoregon...>
> Good story Paul. I am a lister, but I am a birder first. I seek the rare
> and unusual, but also the usual and expected. The rare birds that I find
> through my own efforts (though with the collective knowledge of many that
> help me strategically plan my birding), I find more rewarding than those I
> chase (or twitch; stakeouts...). I find it most rewarding when I find a
> rare bird, and through my efforts of reporting (and often times meeting up
> with others on the twitch) am able to help others observe and tick and
> enjoy the bird.
> Lots of people chase rare birds, myself included; only a small percentage
> of those twitchers find rare birds for others to chase. That is my
> challenge to all listers--find some rare birds of your own to share with
> the others. Pay it forward.
> When was the last time you found a rare bird yourself?
> How does one find rare birds? I will leave that answer to future
> communications, but feel free to chime in.
> David C. Bailey
> Seaside, Oregon...where I most recently found a rare for Clatsop County
> Wilson's Phalarope and reported it promptly resulting in at least five
> county listers subsequently observing it.
> On Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 16:58 Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...>
>> I’d been hearing of a Least Flycatcher and a Waterthrush near Sisters for
>> some time. Then on Friday night there came a report of a Veery in the area
>> as well. I contacted some Bend birders, and Howard Horvath and Mary
>> Oppenheimer volunteered to meet me in Sisters at 8:30 Saturday morning.
>> Meanwhile there came the report of a Wood Thrush down in the Klamath
>> River canyon.
>> I left McMinnville at 5:30 Saturday morning and met Howard and Mary in
>> Sisters at 8:30. Soon we were at Black Butte Swamp off Hwy 20. With Don
>> Sutherland’s help we found the VEERY rather quickly. We got to watch it
>> sing multiple reps of its song in sunshine, then switch to a series of its
>> call. What’s not to like ‘bout that?
>> We continued on to upper Indian Ford Creek, across the highway from
>> Indian Ford Campground. We walked the trials there from 9:30 – 11:30,
>> searching for the Least Flycatcher. We found another VEERY. I was
>> introduced to things I’d heard about: “the gate,” “Gobbler’s Knob,” “Glaze
>> Meadow,” “Black Butte meadow” -- but no Least Flycatcher (this was my
>> second try). As the weather was getting blustery, we opted for lunch in
>> Sisters. Then I decided to try for the Wood Thrush.
>> I contacted Kevin Spencer, and at 2 PM headed to Dorris, CA, following
>> the directions posted by Steve Kornfeld. By 6 PM I reached the rim of the
>> Klamath River canyon, where I ran into Jeff Gilligan. We hiked to the
>> bottom of rocky Topsy Grade to reach Frain Ranch by 7:15. We birded the
>> area 7:15 – 8:15 PM without seeing or hearing a Wood Thrush. At one point
>> we heard a series of 5 rapid notes “pwut- pwut- pwut- pwut- pwut” that
>> neither of us recognized. As we tried to track down the source, it called
>> 6-8 times more, retreating into the dense cover along the little stream
>> running toward the river. From 8:15-9:40 we two old guys (age 70 and 75)
>> stumbled up the grade to our cars. We made it to a motel in Klamath Falls,
>> for lodging, showers, and internet. There I found this recording on Xeno
>> Canto https://www.xeno-canto.org/497571 which matched the calls we
>> heard in the canyon. We had heard a WOOD THRUSH!
>> We went to bed after midnight satisfied that we’d heard a Wood Thrush,
>> and planning to try again in the morning. At 4:30 AM Jeff opted out. I
>> met Kevin Spencer et al at the top of the Topsy Grade at 5:30, and by 6:30
>> our band of seven had reached the Frain Ranch again. In ones, twos, threes
>> and seven we birded the area until 10:40. I was off on a little
>> exploration when the others heard the WOOD THRUSH sing a few times about
>> 9:08. At 10:40 I decided to start up the grade again. With stops to let
>> my old heart rest, I made the top by 12:15. The younger folks started
>> later and got there ahead of me. One the way up I met 75 yr old Sheran
>> Wright going down, then Harold and Mary. At the top Tim Shelmerdine
>> arrived and decided to try to drive down. I hear that Chuck Gates and Don
>> Sutherland arrived later, but didn’t find the bird. Owen Schmidt, Tom
>> Love, Craig Miller, Marilyn Miller all visited earlier.
>> So why are so many old people risking their ankles, heart, or oil pans to
>> get to this remote corner of the edge of Oregon?
>> For those uninitiated, there are only 4 accepted records of WOOD THRUSH
>> in Oregon. Three of those are from the 1980’s. If you look at the 20
>> birders with the most species on their Oregon State Life Lists, none of us
>> had seen a WOOD THRUSH in Oregon. That’s why 8 of those 20 birders (so
>> far) have made the effort to get down there.
>> I spent a combined 11 hours to chase that bird, 3 of those climbing up
>> that grade, stubbing my toes on rocks with my old heart pounding, but who
>> else do you know who’s found a Veery and a Wood Thrush in Oregon ON THE
>> SAME DAY?
>> On my way home yesterday I stopped at upper Indian Ford Creek for another
>> hour of CHE-BEK-less birding. My body aches today. I did walk 2 miles at
>> the rubberized track behind the McMinnville hospital without stubbing my
>> In a back corner of my mind I hear the voices that say “I’m not a birder;
>> I’m a birdwatcher.” “ I don’t chase.” “I care about the planet.” “Think
>> about the CO2 you add to the atmosphere.” “I’m a conservationist.” “I’m a
>> citizen scientist.” “Listers don’t care about (are a threat to) birds.” To
>> those voices I offer a piece of advice from a wise thinker from years ago:
>> Luke 18:10-14.
>> Here is a screen capture of Topsy Grade, facing east (from Google maps).
>> The top of the grade is in the upper left of the picture. The Frain Ranch
>> is in the lower right by the river. California is further downriver to the
>> Good birding, everyone,
>> Paul Sullivan