Date: 9/9/20 1:01 am From: TIM JANZEN <tjanzen...> Subject: [obol] Eastern Oregon birding trip summary
I returned home in the evening on Sept. 7 from Eastern Oregon after a 4-day birding trip with my wife Rachel. We camped at Goose Lake State Park on Sept. 4 and then went down to the area just south of Davis Creek in California where the COMMON CRANE has been seen for the past month. The COMMON CRANE was with about 20 Sandhill Cranes on the east side of Highway 395 just south of the irrigated field in an area where there was some un-harvested wheat. Viewing conditions were not optimal since the cranes were feeding most of the time and thus kept their heads down quite a bit and we were also looking into the morning sun. In any case, my wife and I saw the COMMON CRANE at least 10 times during the 45 minutes that were there. I spent about 3 hours birding Goose Lake State Park and the nearby area on Sept. 5. The best birds were a pair of BLACK PHOEBES that were in a clearing in the willows about 50 yards north of the west most parking area just west of the railroad tracks. A SAY’S PHOEBE was also in the same area. At one point there was one of each species within about 5 feet of each other, which is the closest I have ever seen these two species at the same location. A BEWICK’S WREN was seen and heard just south of west most parking lot and two were in the same area just south of the state lake in California just west of the railroad tracks. The area around the campground was reasonably birdy, but there were relatively few migrant warblers. While I was there, I ran in to several birders from California who were looking for Yellow Rails. They said that as many as 8 had been reported in the wet field just south of the west most parking area. This field is just inside the California border. One YELLOW RAIL was reported in the same area inside the Oregon border on Aug. 4. See details at https://ebird.org/checklist/S72101632. For full details for my sightings as well as 3 photos of the BLACK PHOEBES see https://ebird.org/checklist/S73369368. It looks like David Mandell was there a day after me and found an AMERICAN REDSTART there. See his summary at https://ebird.org/checklist/S73262041.
From Lakeview we drove to Fields where I birded the oasis and the town for about an hour. The oasis was practically dead and the only migrant I could find was a WARBLING VIREO. After camping at Page Springs, I spent the morning of Sept. 7 birding the area around the campground. About 8:15 am I heard a vireo singing about 50 yards south of campsite #15 and after tracking the bird down I discovered that it was the PLUMBEOUS VIREO that has been recently reported from the campground. The bird moved into the draw just east of campsite #15 where my wife and I observed it with several other birders (Christine Gervais and her friend). While I was locating the Plumbeous Vireo, my attention was diverted to a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT that flew into a Western Juniper tree just SE of campsite #15. See https://ebird.org/checklist/S73369876 for more information including 3 photos of the Plumbeous Vireo.
I birded Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for the rest of the day and spent several hours late afternoon at Malheur HQ. A SNOWY EGRET and a male WOOD DUCK were on the display pond there at the headquarters. Migrant warblers were few in number. I saw 2 WILSON’S WARBLERS, but no Yellow-rumped Warblers. A female BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD briefly visited the feeders. For a complete checklist see https://ebird.org/checklist/S73370104.
I returned to Malheur HQ on the morning of Sept. 7. The SNOWY EGRET flew into the display pond while I was there and there were also a pair of WOOD DUCKS among the other waterfowl on the display pond. At least 5 LEWIS’S WOODPECKERS were seen flying around at the headquarters. There were about 3500 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS on the west side of the display pond, which was substantially more than had been present the previous afternoon. Migrant warblers were very few. See https://ebird.org/checklist/S73370238 for details.
On the way home we stopped at the Thomas Orchards fruit stand in Kimberly at about 3:30 pm to buy some peaches and nectarines. I parked near the fruit stand and when I got out of the car I thought I saw a glimpse of red in the walnut tree right next to the fruit stand. After scanning the walnut tree for several minutes the male SUMMER TANAGER popped into view and perched on an exposed branch for about 2 minutes allowing my wife and me to see it as did several of the other customers there. I was able to get a few photos before the bird flew into the nearby peach orchard and didn’t reappear during the half-hour or so that we were there. I didn’t see the female Summer Tanager that has also been reported from this location. See https://ebird.org/checklist/S73370377 for a photo of the Summer Tanager.