Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Get the gull and retrieve the rosy-finch

We made a big weekend trip to northeast Oregon to see the area's birds, but there were two species we really hoped to find. The first was a Black-headed Gull (typically an East Coast Bird) that had been hanging out near McNary Dam.

 

We spent at least an hour below the dam watching dozens of gulls fly from the Columbia to a frozen pond and back. Unfortunately, none of them were Black-headed. Some other birders eventually showed up and told us that our target gull was roosting on a driving range.

We hurried up to the range and after a few minutes of scanning we found the Black-headed roosting among the Ring-billed Gulls.

 
People were actually teeing off at the range, but the gulls didn't mind. We were only able to see the Black-headed Gull for a minute or two before it flew off to someone's backyard. It was high ratio of search time to watch time but we'll take it.


The second species we pursued was a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, which we'd never seen seen in Oregon. We drove to Wallowa County to search for flocks along the dirt roads outside of Enterprise.

 
On Saturday the thick fog kept us from seeing many birds.

 
We did see lots of frosty livestock, however, including this friendly horse.

 
A day later the fog cleared and we received word that rosy-finches were feeding near an abandoned ranch house.

We gunned it to School Flat Road and sure enough there they were. Twenty Rosy-Finches! Unlike with the Black-headed gull, we were able to spend some quality time with the rosy-finch flock. The members foraged on the ground, defended their personal space, and preened in a tree. Eventually, the flock flew behind a hillside and it was time for us to return to Portland, another successful trip to northeast Oregon in the books!

Misc. trip info

Number of bird species: 75

Dog-friendly lodging: Mountain View Motel

Best beer: Dargonstooth Stout at Embers Brew House

Best meal: brunch at the Red Rooster Cafe

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! That frosty horse is so cute, I want to bring it home and sit in front of the fire with it. Nice job on the rosy-finches and the gull!

    ReplyDelete