Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Discovering Bend

Many Oregon birders apparently consider Bend to be primarily a place to stop off for food and fuel on their way to points further east. But this large sprawling city on the western edge of the high desert has several parks and lakes to explore.

Ash-throated Flycatcher - Not quite used to seeing flycatchers of this size but what a stunner!
Dee and I began at Hatfield Lakes, which is in fact a water reclamation site and offers both wetland and juniper/sage habitats. It's also a little disconcerting as right next door is a state police firing range, in the UK you probably couldn't get within miles of an establishment like this, but here we are!! Just as we found a position to scope the lake a bird took the eye in the Sage Brush below, not having seen one before a quick look at the 'Sibley's' yielded our first Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Western Kingbird - three of these beauties on the perimeter trail.
A first look at the lake produced a large flock of circa 100 Long-billed Dowicher, these along with Dunlin, Western SandpiperSemipalmated Plover, Wilson's Phalarope and three Least Sandpiper. On the open water Eared Grebe, Bufflehead and American Coot. A trail leads around the perimeter of the top lake and as we commenced our walk a wonderful Western Kingbird flew up into a nearby tree.

Western Tanager - Proud looking bird!
There seemed to be large number of Western Tanager around today and despite trying our best to get a photo of the stunning male the best we could manage was a female, but whose complaining!

Flycatcher Sp. Best guess Hammond's ?
There are at least fifteen flycatcher species to be found in Oregon and unless they call identification is sometimes impossible, with that in mind another two flycatchers seen today will have to be noted as Flycatcher SP. Other species of note included: Killdeer, Lincoln's Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper, Bald Eagle and House Wren.

House Wren - The song has a familiar ending likened to our own Lesser Whitethroat.
After lunch we made it across to Smith Rock State Park which has a nesting colony of White-throated Swifts. In fact if your just after the species, park up in the first day use area and scan the mountains, we had 20/30. Notwithstanding, Dee and I headed down below to walk the river and came across a family of Common Merganser, seven young in total. Western Tanagers were here to, along with Violet-green SwallowsHouse Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Yellow-bellied Marmot - Another of Dee's favourites!
Golden Eagles also nest here and among the score of Turkey Vultures enjoying the thermals, Golden Eagles and the odd Peregrine could easily be seen. Dee had her usual moments too and a sighting of one of her favourites, Yellow-bellied Marmot made the day even more special.

BUBO Listing