DVOC Main Page > 2006 Field Trips > Oregon 2006

Detailed Itinerary for Oregon 2006
Updated 2/17/06

Specific itinerary is subject to change depending on local information and additional research before the trip departure date. However lodging sites (motels) are fixed.

If you are interested in going on this trip [you may join or leave at any point]:
(1) Contact either Tom Bailey, Don Jones, Frank Windfelder, or Al Driscoll and let one of them know you’re interested
(2) Find a roommate (we can help if there are people who express interest to us) to reduce your room and auto costs.
(3) You [and your roommate(s)] are responsible for making your own flight reservations, car rental, and motel reservations [as a guide motel costs at those listed below should be about $390pp at double occupancy; motel phone numbers and addresses are listed below]. You should be at the motel lobby listed for June 3 early in the morning (actual time forthcoming) of June 4 to begin the birding.

Saturday June 3-Travel Day:
On this day you should travel from Philadelphia (or other origin) to either Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington. Tom, Don, Frank, and Al will be staying the night of June 3 at the motel below in Forest Grove, Oregon after flying to Seattle (prices considerably cheaper vs. Portland). Birding will begin the morning of June 4 in the lobby of the motel below.

Best Western University Inn & Suites 3933 Pacific Avenue Forest Grove, OR 97116-2225 503-992-8888 1-800-780-7234

Sunday June 4-Day 1:
Willamette Valley and Coast Range Habitat. From the motel in Forest Grove we will proceed10 miles further to Scoggins Valley Road where we will look for Williamette Valley and Coast Range birds around Hagg Lake. Long-eared Owls (rare) have nested here and the picnic area at Scoggins Creek may hold Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, warblers, vireos, and flycatchers. Dipper and Band-tailed Pigeon may also be found. Time and access permitting we may stop at the Forest Grove sewage ponds before returning to Route 26. Species here may include Gadwall, Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal, American Widgeon, Ruddy Duck, American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Marsh Wren.

Time permitting on the way to Seaside via US 26 we may check the picnic grounds at Saddle Mountain State Park (A-2), a 14 mile round-trip detour, for typical Coast Range birds: Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Stellar’s Jay, Hutton’s Vireo, and Pacific-slope Flycatcher, These and Red-breasted Sapsucker are also present at Hagg Lake. We will then proceed to Seaside to overnight.

Motel 6
2369 South Roosevelt Drive
Seaside, OR 97138

Monday June 5-Day 2: Coastal Habitat. At first light we will depart Seaside and proceed north (about 11 miles) to Coffenbury Lake. Birding around the lake we hope to find Wrentit and some of the nesting waterbirds-Pied-billed Grebe, Green-backed Heron, Wood Duck, and Hooded Merganser. We may continue about five miles further north to the South Jetty of the Columbia River.

Returning south to Ecola State Park (often considered the most scenic site on the Oregon coast) and Cannon Beach to look for nesting Common Murre, Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemot, Western Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, and Black Oystercatcher and hope for lingering rockpipers. We will stop at Haystack Rock to observe nesting Tufted Puffin.

Continuing south we will reach Tillamook and bird in the Bayocean Spit area and Cape Meares State Park. We will look here for lingering shorebirds and waterfowl. Bald Eagle should be present. Spotted Owl (1-2 pairs) nest at Cape Meares but we will be extremely lucky to see or hear them.

Siletz Bay (A- )?

A stop further south at Boiler Bay State Wayside where we will scope for lingering loons, grebes, and perhaps Marbled Murrelet could be very interesting bird-wise or simply scenic.

At Yaquina Head Natural Area and Newport we will try for any of the bolded coastal birds we may have missed earlier. Night in Newport.

606 SW Coast Highway 101 Newport, OR 97365

Tuesday June 6-Day 3: The Coast Range, Willamette Valley and Western Cascades. We will leave Newport before dawn and proceed to Mary’s Peak, the highest point in the Oregon Coast Range. We will probably spend 2-3 hours here exploring several trails emanating from the parking area. A description from Birdfinding in Forty National Forests and Grasslands follows:

“Marys Peak, the highest point in the Oregon Coast Range at 4097 feet, is the best place to begin your birding. To reach Marys Peak, start at the junction of U.S. Route 20 and Oregon Route 34 in Corvallis, which is about 9 miles west of Interstate 5 and 80 miles south of Portland. Continue west on U.S. 20 and Rte. 34 for 6 miles to the town of Philomath, and go one mile beyond town. Turn left onto Rte. 34 when the two highways diverge, then drive 7 miles to Forest Service Road (FS) 30. Turn right onto FS 30, and follow the signs for 9 miles to the parking area and trailhead, bearing right onto FS 3010 after about 6 miles. Marys Peak is usually accessible all year; the road to the parking area is plowed in winter. Hiking, however, can be difficult in mid-winter. Oregon SnoPark permits, available at local Forest Service offices, are required from October through April. A sevenpage auto-tour brochure also is available from the Forest Service.

On a clear day, the summit of Marys Peak offers a fantastic panorama from Mt. Adams in Washington, south to Mt. Thielsen near Crater Lake, and west across the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. Marys Peak supports an equally exciting diversity of wildflowers and insects which combine to form a complex ecosystem. Wildflowers include yellow and giant fawn lilies, Oregon anemone, slender bog orchid, twinflower, Cardwell's penstemon, and western false and star-flowered Solomon's seals.

The open grass summit of Marys Peak is surrounded by 1000 acres of noble fir forest. A number of traits wind through open meadows, along a rock garden near the summit, and through the old-growth forest. The 1.2-mile round-trip Summit Trail begins in the parking lot and follows a gravel road to top; no vehicles are allowed. During spring and summer, American Kestrel, Rufous Hummingbird, Northern Flicker, Tree and Violet-green swallows, Cedar Waxwing, White-crowned Sparrow, and American Goldfinch are usually encountered along the road. Lazuli Buntings are occasionally found at the edges of the meadows. American Pipits are frequent migrants. During winter, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches often can be found here as well
Just below the summit lie 15 acres of alpine-like meadow that local botanists refer to as the "rock garden." Here you will find prairie lupine, sulphur buckwheat, and scalloped onion, plants more commonly found on dry, rocky high elevations in the Cascades and Rockies.
From the summit, in spring and fall, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and American Kestrel are often seen riding the thermals. Rufous Hummingbirds and an occasional Anna's Hummingbird may be found competing with honeybees for nectar among the wildflowers.

The 2-mile Meadow Edge (loop) Trail that also begins at the parking lot passes through an impressive stand of noble fir with a wonderfully green carpet of wood sorrel and fairybells. This trail also skirts meadow habitat and crosses a riparian area at the head of Parker Creek. Year-round resident birds along this trail include Ruffed and Blue Grouse, Great Horned and Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hairy and Pileated woodpeckers, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Varied Thrush, and Hutton's Vireo. During spring and summer, migrants and breeders, such as Hammond's and Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Hermit and Swainson's Thrush, Black-throated Gray, Townsend's, and Hermit Warbler, and White-crowned Sparrow also are present.

Of special interest to birders are Northern Goshawk, Spotted Owl, and Marbled Murrelet. Murrelets can be heard, mostly at dawn and dusk, giving their piercing, gull-like keerkeer-keer call in mature conifer stands during summer. If you are persistent-and very lucky-you may be rewarded with a glimpse of one as it buzzes through the forest at 50 mph enroute to and from nighttime fishing grounds at sea.”

From Mary’s Peak we will continue on to Philomath and depending on our list we may detour briefly south to William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. Nesters include Bullock’s Oriole, Black-headed Grosbeak, House and Bewick’s Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, Orange-crowned Warbler, Western Bluebird. Cabell and McFadden’s Marsh will provide a further chance for Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Wood Duck, Green-backed Heron, Belted Kingfisher, and Virginia Rail. Trails to the west of refuge headquarters hold some of the more local Willamette Valley species such as Mountain Quail, Ruffed Grouse, Lazuli Bunting, Willow Flycatcher, Acorn and Lewis’ Woodpecker, and MacGillvray’s and Yellow Warbler.

From here we will proceed through Corvallis and up the west slope of the Cascades and down the east slope on Oregon 20 for a three-night stay in ponderosa pine habitat at Sisters. Time permitting, on the way we may make several birding stops at Foster Resevoir (C-16) near Sweet Home and in the Santiam Pass area (E-5). Birding areas in the Santiam Pass area include Lost Lake, Big Lake, and Clear Lake. If we’re short on time, which is likely, we’ll return to the Santiam Pass Area on a day trip from Sisters-see Day 4.

Typical summering species at Foster Resevoir include Swainson’s Thrush, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Band-tailed Pigeon, Hutton’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Cassin’s Vireo, Wilson’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler and MacGillivray’s Warbler, Vaux’s Swift, Rufous Hummingbird, chickadees, creepers, nuthatches, and wrens. About 4.5 miles further up the Middle Fork Santiam River lies Green Peter Resevoir which in addition to the birds mentioned above holds Blue Grouse, Pileated Woodpecker, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Steller’s Jay, Gray Jay, Hermit Thrush, and Hermit and Townsend’s Warbler. In the dam area at Foster Resevoir we may find Osprey, Common Merganser, Ruffed Grouse, Mountain Quail, and Rough-winged Swallow. Overnight in Sisters.

Best Western Ponderosa Lodge 505 Highway 20 West
Sisters OR 97759

Wednesday June 7-Day 4: The Western and Eastern Cascades. Today we will sample the various forested habitats on the east slope of the Cascades. Just five miles west of Sisters is Indian Ford Campground. Target birds here include White-headed Woodpecker (ponderosa pines), Williamson’s Sapsucker (pines) and Red-naped Sapsucker (aspens). In the creek-side riparian growth we will search for any of the warblers or vireos we may have missed such as Townsend’s, Orange-crowned, MacGillivray’s, and Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Warbling and Cassin’s Vireos. Away from the creek in the pine, sage, and juniper habitat we will search for Pygmy Nuthatch, Green-tailed Towhee, Dusky and Hammond’s Flycatcher, Red Crossbill, Cassin’s Finch, and House Wren.

Continuing west to higher elevations on the west slope we will bird Lost Lake Campground and Big Lake. In addition to some of the birds above we may find Pine Siskin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Mountain Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Steller’s and Gray Jay. Hermit Warbler is abundant (along with hybrids) and Barrow’s Goldeneye usually nests on the lake. Big Lake lies in a bowl at the base of Mount Washington about three miles south of US20 somewhat east of Lost Lake. In the pine and fir forest around the lake (in addition to the birds mentioned for Lost Lake) we may find Olive-sided Flycatcher, Evening Grosbeak, Clark’s Nutcracker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Red Crossbill.

Clear Lake is located further west before Santiam Pass on the west slope. In addition to the birds above birds we may encounter include Red-breasted Sapsucker and in open areas Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Lazuli Bunting, Dark-eyed Junco, Brewer’s Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird. Deciduous shrubs support warblers and Lincoln’s Sparrow,

On our return to Sisters we may also bird Cold Spring Campground. Birds here and habitat is similar to that at Indian Ford Campground.

After dark we will likely look for Northern Pygmy-Owl and other owls between Sisters and Indian Ford Campground. Overnight in Sisters (same as Day 3).

Thursday June 8-Day 5: The structure of today’s birding will depend on how successful we have been with the mountain birds on Day 4 and earlier. South of Sisters (91 miles) lies Salt Creek Falls, the only known nesting site for Black Swift in Oregon. This area can be reached fairly quickly via Rte 97 (through mainly desert habitat) or through a more leisurely and birdy route (habitat and birds similar to Day 4) known as the Cascade Lakes Highway.

[Alternatively we could bird in the Redmond, Madras, and Prineville areas further east. Eight miles north of Redmond lies Smith Rock State Park. Here Prairie Falcon and Common Raven nest on the cliff faces; Canyon and Rock Wren can be found anywhere in the park and juniper–sagebrush habitat holds Say’s Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Savannah Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow. Prineville Resevoir is in dry desert country. The east end of the resevoir around the inlet is marshy and supports nesting Pied-billed Grebe, Canada Goose, Mallard, Cinnamon Teal, Redhead, Virginia Rail, and Coot. In the surrounding terrain, mostly sagebrush uplands with interspersed juniper woodlands, Brewer’s. Lark, and Vesper Sparrow are common and Sage Thrasher, Loggerhead Shrike, Say’s Phoebe, and Common Nighthawk also summer.

In any event on our way to Burns (Day 6) we will bird the west end of Prineville Resevoir which has rugged cliff faces attracting Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, Rock and Canyon Wren, Poorwill, and Raven. We will travel Oregon 27 between the resevoir and the tiny town of Brothers looking for the local Pinyon Jay, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Gray Flycatcher.] Overnight in Sisters (same as Day 3)

Friday June 9-Day 6: Depending on how well or poorly we are doing we will either leave early and drive through the sagebrush to Burns or seek out missed species in the Sisters/Bend area and then proceed to Burns. The Burns-Hines Area and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will provide a break from mountain birding as we search for wetland and desert birds. We will search the fields south of Burns for American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Wilson’s Phalarope, Franklin’s Gull, White-faced Ibis, Black Tern, Forster’s Tern, Long-billed Curlew, and Sandhill Crane. We may see Ferruginous Hawk and other raptors on the drive from Bend.

At night we may drive north 17 miles from Burns to Idlewild Campground for attempts at Northern Pygmy-Owl, Flammulated Owl, and Common Poorwill. Overnight in Hines.

Comfort Inn
504 North Highway 20
Hines, OR 97738

Saturday June 10-Day 7: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Today we will spend the entire day birding Malheur NWR. Here in addition to the birds listed above in the Burns-Hines area targets will be Western Grebe, and perhaps a Clark’s Grebe, White Pelican, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon Chukar, Burrowing Owl, Willet, Snowny Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Trumpeter Swan, and with much luck [since lekking (early March to mid April) will have long since ceased] Sage Grouse.

We will spend some time in the Diamond Area where we may add Bobolink, Great Horned Owl, Common Raven, Canyon Wren, Rock Wren, Cliff Swallow. In the area of Diamond Craters, an area riddled with craters, lava cones, cinder cones, and caves, we will search out Lark, Sage, Savannah, Vesper, and Brewer’s Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, Sage Thrasher, Common Nighthawk, Say’s Phoebe, Western Kingbird and Horned Lark.

At the south end of the refuge near Frenchglen is Paige Springs Campground where we may find Ash-throated Flycatcher, Bushtit, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Lesser Goldfinch. Return for overnight to Hines. Same lodging as Day 6.

Sunday June 11-Day 8: We will leave Burns early and depart for the Blue Mountains (unless we need to mop up some wetland species near Burns-Hines). About 51 miles north of Burns, and hopefully arriving at first light or before, we will briefly detour west on Izee Road to a couple of wet meadows looking for Upland Sandpiper and Wilson’s Snipe in Bear Valley (G-24).

In Starr Campground, near the spring in the middle of the campground, a little further north along Route 395, we will look for Lincoln’s Sparrow, Rufous and Calliope Hummingbird.

We may stop in Clyde-Holliday State Wayside (G-23) a few miles west of John Day for Least Flycatcher which has nested here in the past.

From John Day we will head 29 miles east on Route 26 then cross-over (55 miles) the Blue Mountains on Route 7 to Baker City. As we descend the east slope of the Blue Mountains we will reach the Powder River near Sumpter. This area of the river has been extensively dredged for gold mining. There are numerous willow-lined sloughs and ponds which provide good habitat for many birds with an eastern flavor: Gray Catbird, Veery, American Redstart, and Yellow-breasted Chat. Yellow Warblers are everywhere. Further east we will reach Phillips Resevoir. We will stop at Union Creek Campground to scope the lake for nesting waterbirds which include Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Mallard, and Cinnamon Teal. Osprey nest here as well and Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds are common. Between the dam and Salisbury the Powder River is extremely rough and hosts American Dipper and Common Merganser. Approaching Baker City we will detour toward the town of Auburn through an area of open ponderosa pine habitat where White-headed Woodpecker, William’s Sapsucker, Dusky Flycatcher and Mountain and Western Bluebirds nest. Finally we will approach Baker City via some wet farmland in the narrow Bowen Valley where American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora, and Marsh Wren may be found. From Baker City we will proceed to LaGrande, 41 miles to the northwest, via Interstate 84 which follows the old Oregon Trail. Overnight in La Grande.

La Grande Super 8 Motel
2407 East R Avenue
La Grande OR 97850

Monday June 12-Day 9: High Elevation Coniferous Forests. During the day we will bird Moss Springs Road and Anthony Lakes Ski Area. These are areas 6-7000 feet in elevation where dense coniferous forest dominated by white fir, larch, lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce predominate. Grouse are the species targeted on Moss Springs Road with Spruce, Blue, and Ruffed all are present with Blue Grouse listed as common. Other species we can hope for are Northern Goshawk, and several finches including, if we are very lucky, White-winged Crossbill and Pine Grosbeak which are rare.

Anthony Lakes is another high elevation area good for finches and typical high-mountain birds. The lakes are shallow and surrounded by marshy wet meadows home to Winter Wren, Nashville Warbler, Lincoln’s, Song, Fox, and White-crowned Sparrows. Northern Goshawk is frequently encountered hiking in this area. We will take a short (1 mile round trip) hike to Hoffer Lake which has produced Three-toed Woodpecker and Blue Grouse. The very difficult to find Great Gray Owl nests in this area and has occasionally been seen in the meadows near Anthony Lake and Grande Ronde Lake.

After dinner we will bird Spring Creek Road (about 17 miles north of La Grande off I-84) and stay late to owl. This area at about 3500 feet elevation holds Great Gray Owl, Great Horned Owl, Flammulated, Western Screech-Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Saw-wher Owl, and Barred Owl. Diurnal raptors include Northern Goshawk, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks and Red-tailed Hawk. Overnight in La Grande (same as Day 8)

Tuesday June 13-Day 10: This day we will travel to Seattle after either birding Spring Creek Road again and/or stops on the way to Seattle. Note if you have flown into and out of Portland, you should return there.

Overnight in Seattle-no motel booked as yet

Wednesday June 14-Day 11: Return home