Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tygh Creek Birding

Today (5/14/16) I returned to Wasco County to see what new migrants I could find.  The meadow along Threemile Creek is a great spot to start the morning.  I left Portland at 5:10 am and was birding by 7 am.

Birds seen at this location:

Bottomlands at Threemile Ck, Wasco, Oregon, US
May 14, 2016 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.3 mile(s)
Comments:     sunny
29 species (+1 other taxa)

Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  1
Vaux's Swift  4
Belted Kingfisher  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Olive-sided Flycatcher  1
Western Wood-Pewee  3
Dusky Flycatcher  3
Cassin's Vireo  4
Warbling Vireo  2
Steller's Jay  2
Common Raven  1
Mountain Chickadee  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  3
Golden-crowned Kinglet  2
American Robin  3
Nashville Warbler  3
MacGillivray's Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Black-throated Gray Warbler  7
Hermit Warbler  1
Townsend's/Hermit Warbler  2
Wilson's Warbler  3
Chipping Sparrow  5
Dark-eyed Junco  6
Western Tanager  6
Black-headed Grosbeak  4
Lazuli Bunting  2
Pine Siskin  2

The one bird photo of the day, Dusky Flycatcher, id'ed by song.  This was the best I could do, the rest of the birds were not in a picture-taking mood.

A few other creatures were out as well, a nice butterfly/moth type thing and some lizards doing a dance.

I am gradually birding  a loop that leaves FR 27 and heads up the School Canyon Trail, then cuts over to the Tygh Creek Trail then back to FR 27. The loop is 13 miles, too long for one day since I stop and bird too often. Today was the first time I birded the Tygh Creek Trail section, it follows Tygh Creek up into the hills from FR 27 then leaves the creek and climbs steeply up into the Ponderosa Pine forest, then continues into a mixed fir forest.  It does not go through a burn area, like the School Canyon Trail, so woodpecker numbers seemed lower, but lots of other birds were enjoying the day.

The lower trail, I always hope to find an odd warbler down along the riparian areas.

Birds found along the lower trail:

Tygh Creek Trail (lower end), Wasco, Oregon, US
May 14, 2016 9:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.75 mile(s)
Comments:     sunny
19 species

Vaux's Swift  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Western Wood-Pewee  2
Hammond's Flycatcher  1
Cassin's Vireo  2
Warbling Vireo  3
Steller's Jay  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  4
Golden-crowned Kinglet  7
Hermit Thrush  3
Nashville Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
Black-throated Gray Warbler  2
Hermit Warbler  3
Dark-eyed Junco  6
Western Tanager  5

A nice patch of oak woodlands while looking over at the School Canyon Trail.  A steep climb, but I stop to bird often so not all that bad.

Lots of wildflowers on the hillsides.

This pine forest was just beautiful.  Dusky Flycatchers, Western Tanagers, Chipping Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos plus a mix of warblers.  Heard a few woodpeckers, but could not track them down.  It was fun to wander to see what I could find.

Birds in the upper elevations:

Tygh Creek Tr (upper portion to Jordan Cutoff), Wasco, Oregon, US
May 14, 2016 10:15 AM - 2:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
5.0 mile(s)
Comments:     up and back, sunny, then partly sunny with two very light showers 15 min each at most
27 species (+1 other taxa)

Turkey Vulture  2
Vaux's Swift  5
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Black-backed Woodpecker  3     confirmed nesting, heard at least one chick
Olive-sided Flycatcher  1
Western Wood-Pewee  3
Dusky Flycatcher  7
Cassin's Vireo  2
Warbling Vireo  3
Steller's Jay  2
Common Raven  2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  6
House Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  5
Townsend's Solitaire  3
Swainson's Thrush 1
Hermit Thrush  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  12
Black-throated Gray Warbler  5
Hermit Warbler  7
Townsend's/Hermit Warbler  2
Chipping Sparrow  10
Dark-eyed Junco  12
Western Tanager  5
Black-headed Grosbeak  6
Cassin's Finch  12
Pine Siskin  7

The bird numbers picked up in the higher elevation forests.  Next weekend I hope to hike the section of the loop that connects the Tygh Ck Trail to the School Canyon Trail. I hope to find a variety of woodpeckers. It will be 10 miles round-trip.  I marked this loop off on the ECAS-Wasco County-White River WMA-google map.  The Tygh Creek trail accesses the Badger Creek Wilderness, it is probably the most remote and least visited area of the Mt Hood National Forest, far more critters than people.  Be careful, but a great birding experience.

Huck relaxing after his lunch.  We managed to avoid rain, two brief, light showers on the way back was the total wet for the day.  I was surprised I missed Sooty Grouse. We saw a grand total of two other hikers.

Thanks for the visit.


  1. Great post! Sure makes me want to check out that area one of these days!
    BTW, your butterfly is a Mourning Cloak, and the lizards look like Western Fence Lizards to me.

    1. Thanks much for the info, I figured Fence Lizard, no clue on the Mourning Cloak.