Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oregon birding Day VI: Saving the best for last!

To get the most out of my last day of birding before returning to Portland in time for the Evolution Meetings, I got up at the crack of dawn and headed to Robert W. Sawyer State Park located along the Deschutes River in Bend. I was hoping for Canyon Wren, Dipper, and Pygmy Nuthatch, but settled for the last one. In return, I added Anna's Hummingbird and Bushtit to the bird list.
Pygmy Nuthatch (above) and Bushtit (below):

The ever-present Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (above) and California Quail (below):

The main objective for today was to explore the unique canyons at Smith Rock State Park a few miles north of Bend, near the town of Terrebonne. This park is renowned for its nesting Golden Eagles, White-throated Swifts, Canyon Wrens, and possibly Swainson's or Ferruginous Hawks (check out their website: http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_51.php). Unfortunately, the eagles had already fledged but their massive twig nests were visible from far away.

At the trail head parking lot I was greeted by a family of Black-billed Magpies (above), and as I hiked down the canyon towards the Crooked River this gorgeous male Bullock's Oriole (below) kept showing himself off. He joined his mate in some willows growing along the river where I suspect they had a nest.

The air above the canyon was filled with White-throated Swifts (above) and Violet-green Swallows (below):

Along the steep cliffs and boulders lining the canyon, I saw and heard many Rock Wrens (above) and my lifer Canyon Wren. Unfortunately, I was so perplexed when the Canyon Wren popped up between the rocks in front of me that I lost the photo op before it disappeared.
On the flats along the river bends I came across a family of Lazuli Buntings (below):
Frequent scanning of rocks in the river finally yielded a pair of American Dippers:
During my six day trip I didn't come across any snakes, but this lizard was very common at Smith Rock. The males had a brilliant blue throat patch seen in this photo.

After an extremely productive morning I decided it was time to wrap up my birding adventure. I took the scenic route along hwy. 26 past Warm Springs and Mt. Hood and had the car dropped off at the Airport by early afternoon. That gave me a couple of hours to relax at my home for the next five nights, the hip Jupiter Hotel before walking over to the Oregon Convention Center to register for the Evolution Meetings. I could easily have spent six days at any one of the wonderful sites visited... The west always leaves me wanting more!!


  1. Great photos. The scenary looks amazing, would be great to be on that spot. Among the bird photos I like best the Bushtit. The bird and twig make diagonals in the picture which creates harmony together with nice background and light:)

  2. Great Posting! I'm heading to Sisters Oregon this week and found your posting very informative. Amazing photos!