Birds vs. Birding

We spent close to a week in northern Wasco County, OR, to get our dogs away from the barrage of illegal fireworks that plague the Portland area every July. While the property where we stayed provided some nice hiking opportunities, there is little public land in the northern part of Wasco County. I drove a few country roads looking for birds, but there were no public areas to really explore on foot. We were too ambitious with our hiking the first couple of days and ended up pushing Nala (who turns 10 next month) too far. She couldn’t walk on her own for two days, so we didn’t get out at all on those days.

Looking back on the trip, I got a total of one bird photo for the week, and never really got good views of any birds. It is tempting to say that the birding was bad, but thinking back, I really did see a lot of birds. Most were flybys, or birds seen without optics, but the diversity was actually pretty good. There were Ash-throated Flycatchers, Western Kingbirds, and Say’s Phoebes. Western Bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks, and Lewis’s Woodpeckers were common. The hummingbird feeder at the house where we stayed was visited by Rufous and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. A Wild Turkey crossed the road in front of me one morning. There were a lot of birds that I don’t get to see in the Portland area. Granted, views were often fleeting, but one of the advantages of being an experienced birder is the ability to recognize many species with less-than-stellar views. So given the fact that I didn’t actually do a lot of birding, the birding wasn’t too bad after all. We are always birding. Sometimes the views and species diversity are better than others, but there is always something to see.

Horned Lark, perched on a barbed wire fence, the only bird photo from the week

California Ground Squirrels were EVERYWHERE.

Not quite as common as the ground squirrels, Black-tailed Deer were seen on every outing.

These two fawns were “hiding” in the tall grass.

Here Bodhi contemplates his first cow. Nala cares not for such beasts.

Looking west toward Mt. Hood

In a pasture of mostly browns and pale olives, a few Blanket Flowers provided some intense color.

Happy Summer

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