Monday, June 20, 2016

Sisi Butte

I have explored most of the north side of Mt Hood and the far eastern side of Mt Hood National Forest over the past years looking for pockets of good birding. I will continue to survey those areas.  However,  my birding eye has now focused itself on the area between Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson, mainly south of Summit Lake down to the Olallie Lake area.  This area is closer to Portland than FR 27 and seems to have lots of easy access with logging roads.  I have explored Ollalie Meadows last year looking for owls, other than that it is all new.  Another reason is eBird reports are lacking except for those few other forest wanderers that I see in eBird. I decided to do a birding hike of Sisi Butte yesterday.  It is labeled in the one other eBird report as Horseshoe Ridge.

Sisi Butte has a fire tower on one of its two peaks, it sits at 5617 feet, a tad higher than Bonney Butte, From the gate on 4220, it is about a 1400 foot climb up an easy road.

A map  of where this area is:

(Area I hiked is on left of white line, I have added other possible hikes on the right, hope to do one of these in July of this year)

Peaking between the trees along the road with a view of Olallie Butte.

An over-exposed Mt Jefferson sits just 15 miles south of Sisi Butte.

The road to the top is the southern border of the Clackamas Wilderness. These open areas had flycatchers, tanagers , hummers and other forest birds.

The fire tower at the top, the trees block the horizon from the ground, but I climbed up the stairs a bit and could see well.  This might be a good raptor watch area come September.  Anyone try for a survey up here? Not sure if this tower is used still or not.  I thought I had a Broad-tailed Hummer up here, but I fell back on a Rufous.  I wish I had better views since it was a very iffy ID.  The golden-green color had me going, but I never got a great view.

Hammond's Flycatcher based on call, and long wings on the road up.  I thought the bill was long for a Hammond's, but they do vary with overlap with the Dusky.  I did hear Dusky in same clearing.

I wander these woods without ever seeing another human, birding is fun listening to all the song variations, watching the dog is fun.  The main concern I have is running into bears.  I will often give a loud whistle in areas where the road is the only travel lane.  Yesterday I heard a large animal crashing down through the brush running away from me.  Not an elk or deer, I would have seen its head.  Scared me for a bit and the dogs did not chase, thankfully.  I think I had my first bear encounter.

That is Tess, a dog sitting customer of my daughter, up the road a bit from Huck.

My ebird list:

Horse Shoe Ridge, Clackamas, Oregon, USJun 19, 2016 8:20 AM - 12:20 PMProtocol: Traveling6.0 mile(s)25 species

Sooty Grouse  1
Rufous Hummingbird  2
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Olive-sided Flycatcher  4
Western Wood-Pewee  2
Hammond's Flycatcher  2
Dusky Flycatcher  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Gray Jay  3
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  7
Red-breasted Nuthatch  8
Golden-crowned Kinglet  7
Hermit Thrush  3
Nashville Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  10
Black-throated Gray Warbler  1
Townsend's Warbler  2
Hermit Warbler  4
Wilson's Warbler  1
Dark-eyed Junco  13
Western Tanager  4

Purple Finch 2
Cassin's Finch  3
Pine Siskin  21

Evening Grosbeak  2

After getting back to the car and having lunch, I crossed over FR 4220 and hiked along a logging road that followed Lemiti Creek up to Slow Creek.  It is an old burn area that is slowly recovering.  Insects may have taken a toll on the trees as well.

I always enjoy looking at the very gray Hermit Thrush in the Cascades.   I guessed this Hermit Thrush had food for someone, it called and called waiting to serve a mid-afternoon meal.

Lemiti Creek, I was hoping to find breeding MacGillivray's here, but none detected.

The dogs getting a drink at Slow Creek.  The road crosses the creek here and goes to the border of the Warm Spring Reservation.

All of my great bird photos from here are over-exposed, I bumped a setting on my camera without noticing, however I had great views of:

4220 to Slow Creek, Clackamas, Oregon, US
Jun 19, 2016 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
15 species

Hairy Woodpecker  1
Hammond's Flycatcher  2
Warbling Vireo  1
Common Raven  2
Mountain Chickadee  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  2
Mountain Bluebird  4
Hermit Thrush  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Chipping Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  8
Western Tanager  3
Cassin's Finch  3
Red Crossbill  10
Pine Siskin  4

I will be back to this area in the fall to see what woodpeckers are out and to see if I can do a raptor survey.  It may be a great spot to do an owl trip as well.

Thanks for the visit.

Happiness is seeing wet dogs having fun.

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