Not far from Fort Rock State Park there is yet another magical place.
I almost don’t want to blog about it (the secret’s out!). But someone told me and I’m grateful. Someone also told me to bring suet. Best advice ever.
Before the blinds though, the road from Fort Rock to Cabin Lake deserves mentioning. Cabin Lake Rd is nine miles of Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Brewer’s Sparrow, California Quail, Vesper Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Loggerhead Shrikes. We saw THREE shrikes in a matter of minutes.
And a coyote.
It was kind of nuts. I didn’t want it to end. But the road leads to something even better.
Don’t be fooled. There are no cabins and there is no lake at “Cabin Lake,” but nestled inconspicuously behind a decommissioned guard station, on the border of pine forests and high desert, there are two bird blinds renovated by East Cascades Audubon Society and run by volunteers. They even have their own “Friends of Cabin Lake” Facebook page.
Both sites are equipped with suet feeders and a water source, a true oasis for wildlife in such a dry climate. I sat inside and peered out the portals.
It didn’t take long before the first birds showed up. Pinyon Jays, a lifebird!
Dang they are a noisy bunch.
Another noisy Corvid visitor was Clark’s Nutcracker.
A couple of Brewer’s Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows showed up.
A few woodpeckers came about too.
The blinds are a great place to study Cassin’s Finch.
It was easy to observe the crisp, dark streaks on the female’s chests and see the bright raspberry-red crown on the males.
Actually, it was pretty easy to observe all the birds. They come so close. I’m not used to photographing at such a close range and could have let up on the zoom.
I’m also not used to sitting in one spot while birding or I would second-guess which blind the birds were at. It’s hard to pick one! A couple of times I got antsy and went walking around the forest. But the birds were either far away or all at one of the watering holes anyways so inevitably, I’d return, sit, and practice patience.
I was rewarded with Mountain Bluebirds.
And a Green-tailed Towhee!
Mourning Doves were the most skittish about coming close to the blinds.
While Yellow-rumped Warblers visited frequently.
Birds weren’t the only thirsty critters.
The blinds exceeded any expectations I had going in. And while I birded for hours on end, Tomas mountain biked for miles around the forest trails. Fun for everyone.
We camped nearby at the edge of the sagebrush sea. It was one of the most peaceful and fulfilling birdy trips we’ve taken. I would highly recommend checking it out and supporting East Cascades Audubon.
Tweets and chirps,