Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Olallie Meadows

I went to Olallie Meadows Saturday afternoon in the hopes of finding owls Saturday night.  I had never been to the far eastern part of Marion County.  I was very glad I went.  From Portland you drive out past Estacada and then down FR 46.  From Salem go out to Detroit Lake and hang a left onto FR 46 just as you enter Detroit.

arrived at the Olallie Meadows Campground, got out of the car, and heard a very familiar two part call.  Pine Grosbeak.

It was an overcast afternoon, so it was hard to make out exact colors on the bird. I had to lighten up the photo just to see the details. Other grosbeaks in the area this winter look like montanus, they lack red down the flanks. The other option is the coastal form flammula.  This one appeared to be flammula. They have more color down the flanks.  I hear Pine Grosbeak in the Cascades during the summer.  They usually are deep in the forest and high in the trees, so getting a view of them is hard.  I think the locals are more common in the Cascades than we think.  I am going to make an effort to find more breeding Pine Grosbeaks this summer.  

Olallie Meadow.  Lots of frogs.

Birds seen at meadow:

Red-breasted Sapsucker  1
Northern Flicker  3
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  6
Red-breasted Nuthatch  4
Dark-eyed Junco  5
Pine Grosbeak  1     Calling from top of tree

My trip got off to a great start with the grosbeak.  I decided to hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail.  My goal was Lemiti Meadow (orange star on map).  I was thinking it might be an open meadow where I could spot some owls later in afternoon.  There are numerous small lakes in the area along the trail. This is Jude Lake. 

There were four Barrow's Goldeneye on the lake.  There is something special about seeing these ducks in their summer haunts.

Two typical views of the trail.

Lemiti Meadows turned out to be a set of bogs full of water surrounded by thick forest,  It was past 4 pm by the time I got there, and I had 5.5 miles to get back to my car before dark, so I did not spend as much time there as I had hoped.

Birds seen along trail:

Mallard  2
Barrow's Goldeneye  4
Sooty Grouse  3
Northern Pygmy-Owl  2
Northern Flicker  3
Common Raven  2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  28
Red-breasted Nuthatch  31
Golden-crowned Kinglet  23
American Robin  4
Varied Thrush  3
Song Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  17

After I got back to the car I noticed this sign:

Not sure what they meant by hazards.  Or was it a passive agressive way to keep folks from using their campground?  I decided to be safe and sleep in the car, thus avoiding the hassle of setting up my tent.  I took off looking for owls once it got dark.  

The bright moon was nice to owl by.  I stuck with the car and stopped every half mile.  I played a Boreal Owl sound with my iphone just once then listened.  The recording was not very loud but I thought it was loud enough.  Only owls I heard were a Great Horned and a Saw-whet.  

Olallie Butte at dusk.

I spent the night in the car with the window cracked open in case I heard an owl.  I thought I heard a few toots, but only when I was half-asleep. I woke up a few times but heard nothing for sure.  Next thing I knew it was 7 am and the sun was up. 


Great Horned Owl  1
Northern Saw-whet Owl  1

In the morning I hiked down south on the PCT to a power line then cut over to FR 4220 and walked back to the campground.

A huge Hairy Woodpecker, without a black bar splitting the red. I would like to figure out the subspecies on these birds. 

There were lots of sapsuckers in area.  They were all too far off the trail to see.  The calls were of Red-breasted or Red-naped. not sure which.  I assumed Red-breasted.

One of the many open areas you see along the trail.

Part of the trouble with the trails early in the season is all the blow down from the winter. It can take some effort to get around these obstacles.

Triangle Lake.

Birds seen:

Mallard  2
Red-breasted Sapsucker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Steller's Jay  3
Common Raven  2
Mountain Chickadee  2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  13
Red-breasted Nuthatch  15
American Robin  4
Varied Thrush  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Dark-eyed Junco  20
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Red Crossbill  5

Lemiti Creek, where it crosses FR 4680 on the way back to Portland. FR 4680 seems like a nice stretch of road to bird.  I saw a Mountain Quail along the roadside.

Olallie Meadow is 87 miles from my SW Portland house, which puts it closer than some spots on the east side of Hood.  I will be back here. A few of us are trying to organize a group effort.  There is a large butte nearby with a road to the top, looks good for owls.  The trees seem a bit larger than the area I owled on the 28th to 29th.  I am hoping that improves my results.


  1. This is great info! Definitely somewhere I'd like to do some exploring.

    1. I was surprised how nice it was, and closer than I thought. FR 46 is a nice road just by itself. And I saw a backbone of some beast in a clearing, I thought that it would make a good Jen photo. I went on by without even reaching for the camera.Your twisted brain does have its influences. :)

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