Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Crook County July 1-2 2017

Last weekend I headed out to do my BBS for the year.  I did this same trip last year except I did the Clover Creek BBS.  I am alternating  BBS's each year due to the remoteness of the routes.  This year it is the Crooked River BBS's turn. As I did last year, I spent time in the Maury Mountains, part of the Ochoco National Forest.  I left Portland Friday at 6 pm, I found a camp spot at about 10:30 pm  (red tent on map).

On Saturday morning I birded up the road I camped on and did a general loop through the area, blue line on map.  Klootchman Creek was still a small stream.   MacGillivray's Warblers were along the stream, based on the family groups it seems to be a great breeding spot for them.

A view looking out towards the SE and Lake County.

My ebird list for the loop:

Klootchman Ck Loop, Crook, Oregon, US
Jul 1, 2017 6:15 AM - 8:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.9 mile(s)
Comments:     Camped up 150 from 16, hiked up 150 to 1750, down 1750 to turn on ridge (old clearcut landing) then cut through woods down to old logging road then down to 16 back over to 150 and up to car
21 species

Turkey Vulture  3
Common Nighthawk  2
Common Poorwill  1
Hairy Woodpecker  3
Dusky Flycatcher  5
Cassin's Vireo  1
Gray Jay  4
Steller's Jay  2
Common Raven  2
Mountain Chickadee  11
Red-breasted Nuthatch  5
Hermit Thrush  7
American Robin  9
MacGillivray's Warbler  9
Yellow-rumped Warbler  11
Townsend's Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  16
Dark-eyed Junco  11
Western Tanager  15
Cassin's Finch  6
Red Crossbill  5

My next stop was just down FR 16 from my camp, I saw an old grass covered logging road and decided to hike up (yellow line on map)  to a spring that was about 1 mi away.

Hairy Woodpeckers, and as this photo shows, Williamson's Sapsuckers are the expected woodpeckers up here.

A pleasant surprise was a group of Pygmy Nuthatches working their way around a pine tree.  I tried to see if any were juveniles (brown washed upperparts), but could not really tell what mix was.

Of course, Huck came with me.  Tess joined us as well, my daughter dog-sits her.  But Tess gets to go with Huck on our adventures.  Some dogs are sniffers (Huck hikes with nose to ground), others like Tess are lookers (hike with head up looking everywhere).  Lookers need to have an eye kept on them.  They will see a badger, skunk or deer just as easily as you do.  So Huck can pass right by some quiet deer out in a meadow unless he smells them, Tess will see them.

Both of the dogs are grazers of grass.  Huck has yet to grow back his rump from a fur cut to keep him cool in summer of 2016.  An older dog problem it seems.

Sniffers like Huck can find water anywhere.  Tess knows to follow him when he runs down into a ditch.

At the top of the hike was a nice cool forest with a spring.  Townsend's Solitaires were singing in the trees nearby, wonderful sound for the morning.

Ebird list for hike:

FR 180, Crook, Oregon, US
Jul 1, 2017 9:15 AM - 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     up 180 to where it crosses small spring, 180 is old road right at cattle guard. Nice bird path
19 species

Mourning Dove  1
Williamson's Sapsucker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Western Wood-Pewee  4
Dusky Flycatcher  5
Gray Jay  3
Common Raven  1
Mountain Chickadee  7
Red-breasted Nuthatch  4
Pygmy Nuthatch  7     Mobbing flock
Western Bluebird  2
Townsend's Solitaire  5
Hermit Thrush  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler  7
Chipping Sparrow  6
Dark-eyed Junco  4
Western Tanager  6
Cassin's Finch  8
Red Crossbill  5

After two great bird hikes, I wanted to let the dogs cool off, so I drove down to Antelope Reservoir and let them swim at the boat launch.  This Spotted Sandpiper was along the nearby shoreline. Some Tree Swallows chased away a Northern Goshawk that cruised through the boat launch.

In breeding plumage, Spotted and Common Sandpiper are much different.  In basic plumage they are very similar.  I try to train my eye to check out the wing stripe on every Spotted I see, one of these years I might see a wing stripe that extends to the flanks, a Common Sandpiper trait.  You can see this stripe fades out on the secondaries.

After giving the dogs a nice swim, and one more hike in woods (purple line), I camped at Double Cabin Campground.  The next morning I started the BBS at 5 am (green line on map).  It is mostly a drive through sagebrush and hay fields. One stop had me right next to  Ferruginous Hawk.  It was being nagged at by a young Red-tailed Hawk.

The Ferruginous Hawk stayed up on a phone pole. It did not like me stopping at its house.  It swooped down over me a few times.  On BBS's . you are supposed to stay 5 minutes at each spot.  I cut this stop short to get out of their area. 

I entered my BBS results in ebird in groups of 10.  The last one is in Deschutes County, the rest are in Crook.

After the BBS, I cut back through the Maury Mountains and headed to the new Crooked River Wetlands.  It was a hot day and the dogs were tired from the previous day's adventures.  I tried to do a loop through the wetlands, but dogs were not interested in being out in the direct sun, they cut the loop  short and wanted to get back to car.  

Here is a photo of pond where most of the shorebirds were.All ponds are bordered by a paved path or a gravel path.  Dogs are welcomed on a leash, though the only shade available are a few informational kiosks.

This is another pond next to the one above.  I am looking back to the parking area.  There is a shaded picnic area there and an outhouse. Note, in the midday sun, my car is the only one at the site.

Another pond.  They built some islands out in the center. Perhaps some Burrowing Owls will find their way here.

I am looking out across the upper five ponds.  That is gravel in front of me.  I cut in-between the pond in front of me and looped back to car.  There is tall grass off to right that borders the river.  Off to the left is a field that had singing Savannah Sparrows.

It seems to be a great area for viewing shorebirds, main attraction is there are no shrubs blocking your view.  And with all the paths, an infinite number of loops are available depending on how much time you have.

Thanks for the visit.  

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