Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tanagers and more in Ecuador

Tomorrow I'll be leaving on what I expect to be a great birding adventure in South America. I also expect to be amazed at the variety of birds... (About 1,600 species are known to be present in Ecuador.) ...and pleasurably frustrated at trying to identify what I see. In "The Birds of Ecuador" by Ridgely and Greenfield there are seven color plates illustrating just Tanagers! Can't wait!

Indigo Bunting

Another view of the Indigo Bunting in Polk Co., Oregon

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Indigo Bunting in Polk Co., Oregon

Today, just 20 miles from my home, I enjoyed one of birdings' chief pleasures: seeing and hearing a vagrant bird; that is, a bird that has for some reason strayed far from its normal range. This Indigo Bunting, rarely found west of the Rocky Mts., has established a territory on an Oregon hillside here in the Willamette Valley. The local Lazuli Buntings are not accepting his presence gracefully, but he continues to chase the males away from his chosen oak tree, and if singing is considered a good way to attract a mate, he should soon have one. Today a female Lazuli was hanging out in his tree, and that seemed to be okay with him.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Anna's Hummingbird on singing perch

Yesterday I found myself scrambling around in a boulder field on the steep slope of the Deschutes River canyon in Central Oregon. I heard the "scratchy" song of a male Anna's Hummingbird, but it took me most of an hour to find his singing perch. When I did find him, he was about 20 ft. up in a pine tree on a bare branch announcing to the world that this was his territory. His unmistakable voice is much more conspicuous from 100 ft. away than his visible image is from 20 ft. A recording of an Anna's song can be heard at

Friday, June 15, 2007

Western Wood-Pewee on nest

On the eastern slope of the Cascades last weekend I noticed a Western Wood-Pewee snatching insects out of the air in a Ponderosa pine forest not far from a creek lined with aspen and willow trees. It soon revealed the location of its nest by flying directly to it, and I wondered again, as I have many times, how Pewees can nest successfully without making more of an effort to hide the nest from the eyes of potential predators.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lincoln's Sparrow nest and eggs

At Lost Lake along the Santiam Hwy. in the Oregon Cascades today I found the nest of a Lincoln's Sparrow. It was on boggy ground in a clump of low vegetation about 200 ft. from the edge of the lake. It was difficult to find, even though I saw the adult when it flew out just about five feet ahead of me as I was walking. A Wilson's Snipe nest was also on the ground there about 10 ft. from the sparrow's nest.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Wallowa Co., Oregon

What can you say but something like, "Wow!"

Hydaspe Fritillary in Wallowa Mts.

I had photographed Hydaspe Fritillaries before (in the Coast Range Mts.) but this one in the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area was so beautiful I had to "capture" him, too.

Thicket Hairstreak butterfly

Not only is the birding wonderful in northeast Oregon, but at this time of year the "butterflying" is pretty good, too. I saw many species along the McCully Creek trail, but only got pictures of four. The Thicket Hairstreak was new for me, and was especially interesting because he chose to rest beside the only object on the trail that was the same color as himself -- these dried-up pine needles.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dark-eyed Junco nest in Wallowa Co.

A wonderful weekend of birding in Oregon's far northeast corner produced many memorable images in my mind, and a few in the camera. This nest of a Dark-eyed Junco was unexpectedly in a very open location on a dirt bank along the road at Hat Point. This site is just a literal stone's throw from the edge of Hell's Canyon where the Snake River appears small and motionless several thousand feet below.