Staying in a fire lookout is as cool as it sounds. Several lookouts in Oregon are available for rent but are incredibly popular and hard to get into. Tomas and I were lucky enough to snag his coworker’s reservation for Fall Mountain Fire Lookout when he couldn’t go. We happily drove 5 hours east to the Malheur National forest to stay for two nights.
The views were stunning. And the lookout was fully equipped with a stove, fridge, and even a heater.
The surrounding forest was equipped with birds. Regulars were a pair of Mountain Bluebirds.
That would sometimes pick bugs out of the fire pit. We didn’t make a fire so it was okay.
One of the first birds I saw were Cassin’s Finch, one a juvenile begging for food.
It took me forever to I.D. this Dusky Flycatcher as it flicked it’s long tail, and called Chirrit, brrk, chirreet. Not the easiest flycatcher to I.D. but I powered through.
Luckily, there were easier birds, like this Green-tailed Towhee.
Songsters included a Townsend’s Warbler that I never did see, and Yellow-rumped Warblers that were much more conspicuous.
A Hermit Thrush made a brief appearance.
One morning I drove to a burn location to see if I could find some woodpeckers. I found three (!) White-headed Woodpeckers.
Two Black-backed Woodpeckers.
And a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.
At the burn location was also House Wren feeding young, Chipping Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, and a surprise pair of Rufous Hummingbirds.
When it warmed up in the afternoons, I returned to the lookout where Tomas and I would lay in hammocks in the breeze.
It was pretty relaxing, and I could watch birds at the same time, like this pair of Western Tanager.
In the evenings, from the deck we watched Common Nighthawks soar in the sky.
It really was a spectacular show. And even better watching from eye-level.
Despite the distance getting to the lookout, the obnoxious motorcyclists that couldn’t read the “Do Not Disturb the Guests” sign, and those stairs that were scary as hell, it was all totally worth it for the experience.
Especially worth it for the sunsets from bed. Gorgeous stuff!
Tweets and chirps,