A short while ago on a sunny day before the rains came back, Tomas and I decided to play hooky from work and head east. He to bike the Deschutes River Railbed Trail and me to work on some county birding. I had exactly 7 species in Wasco, and 2 in neighboring Sherman County just east across the Deschutes River.
I explored Deschutes River State Rec Area first which is where I saw my first army of adorable goslings.
With protective parents not far behind.
I mostly explored by car because I was still booted up and couldn’t hike (or walk) well. But that didn’t stop me from dragging myself up a trail following an intriguing birdsong that turned out to be an Orange-crowned Warbler. Birds will be my reason for walking again.
On the way down a Bushtit caught my eye.
This is when I learned there are two subspecies of Bushtits: “Interior” and “Pacific.” I’m used to seeing Pacific at my suet feeder, that are all gray puffballs. Interior are gray puffballs with blushing brown cheeks. Didn’t think they could get cuter.
Safe on flat ground and back at the park I found White-crowned Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and a single Lincoln’s Sparrow. In the tree-tops were Yellow-rumped Warblers, and dozens of bright American Goldfinch.
I then hopped over to Wasco County to check out Celilo Park that offers free camping that seems to appeal mostly to local fishermen. The problem with campgrounds along I-84 is that they’re along I-84. It’s noisy, and occasionally trains blow through screaming the horn. Not ideal for camping or birding, but I made do.
The best birds were a pair of Western Kingbirds.
And a Yellow Warbler! – that did not appreciate my wanting to take its photo.
Just before it zipped down to the Columbia River water’s edge and flew off. It was hotter at this point, birds were quieting down and I had little time before I had to meet Tomas back by the trailhead.
Back at Deschutes SP I found a Hammond’s Flycatcher (long primary projection, vest, small dark bill, short tail).
And surprisingly, three more Western Kingbirds!
I ended up adding 42 species between the two counties. I thought 5 Western Kingbirds in one day was a lot, but Wasco County would teach me a lesson about kingbirds later.
Tomas made it back, sweaty and accomplished after 40 miles with just three flats (watch out for that puncturevine). We drove back to Portland after stopping at Pfriem (pronounced freem) Brewery in Hood River where the beer is so good you’ll leave your credit cards there. No regrets!
Tweets and chirps,