A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Oregon: From the Coast to the Cascades I 2022

August 26-September 6, 2022 with Cory Gregory guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the many charismatic western specialties we track down is the one-and-only American Dipper. Participant David Baker snagged this amazing photo on our very first morning!

Oregon, to most people, brings to mind rocky coasts and wet, mossy forests. However, there's so much more to this vast western state; a wide variety of habitats means more diversity and, hopefully, good birding! Our trip sampled many of the habitats in Oregon while visiting several corners of the state. And in the end, yes, we did see beautiful rocky coasts and mossy rainforests too!

We departed Portland and ventured east, down through the scenic Columbia River Gorge, all the while visiting several of the most well-known waterfalls in the west. We even came face-to-face with our first Pacific Wren creeping through thick brambles. The Blue Mountains and Wallowa Mountains looked nothing like the Portland area and so we explored some of the montane forests before winding our way down to Burns.

The drive was worth it for the scenery alone but it turns out, new birds were just knocking on the door; it wasn't long until we found a hillside with 20+ Lewis's Woodpeckers! And a little farther down the road, our first White-headed Woodpecker. Malheur NWR was very dry this year but it didn't stop us from birding the headquarters and then driving up Steens Mountain to take in some breathtaking scenery. Kiger Gorge looked gorgeous! A family of Burrowing Owls, a flock of Sage Thrashers, and some photogenic Sagebrush Sparrows really rounded out the visit and made us once again ask "Wait, this is Oregon?".

Our time in Bend was spent birding some mountain roads where we added Red-breasted Sapsucker and the rare Black-backed Woodpecker. In Sisters, we found yet another White-headed Woodpecker, this one nice and close! One evening, we even got to witness the spectacle of hundreds of Vaux's Swifts swirling down and roosting in a chimney in downtown Bend.

Once we made it to the coast, the dry sage flats seemed like a distant memory. Instead of the hot, inland terrain, we grabbed our fleeces and enjoyed the beautiful, cool Oregon coast and all the specialties it hosts. From stunning looks at Wandering Tattler, to the noisy Black Oystercatchers, from the Gray Whales offshore to the bellowing sea lions, we found ourselves in a completely different world. The rocky beach landscape dotted with lighthouses was a beautiful way to wrap up this fall tour to Oregon.

It was a pleasure birding with all of you and on behalf of Field Guides and our awesome tour manager, Nicole, we do hope you enjoyed our exploration of this large, diverse, and scenic state.

Until we meet again, good birding!

—Cory (aka Curlew)

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)


This migrant was only starting to return for the winter but we still found them a couple of times including at Hatfield Lake and Diamond Lake.

CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)

Fairly common, this familiar goose was seen most days of the trip.

WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)

We were scoping the pond at the Myrtle Point Marsh when we spotted one sitting quietly down below.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

Riley Pond west of Burns was hosting a couple of these fairly uncommon dabblers.

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)

We saw a male, sporting the red eye, at Myrtle Point Marsh.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

This big-billed dabbler was fairly common at a variety of ponds/lakes throughout the trip.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

Hatfield Lake near Bend was the best spot for these.

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)

Like the previous species, Hatfield Lake was where we saw most of our wigeon.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)

Common at lakes and other wet areas throughout the trip.


Thief Valley Reservoir, Hatfield Lake, and the science center in Newport all were good spots for this slim-necked dabbler.


Not very common, this tiny duck was spotted only a few times including at Hatfield Lake and Riley Pond.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the finest views in the west! Crater Lake, Oregon's only National Park, is the deepest lake in America. Our tour stops to take in this amazing view! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

Hatfield Lake near Bend was hosting at least one of these divers.

LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)

Both Hatfield Lake and Diamond Lake had this Aythya mixed in with other waterfowl.

HARLEQUIN DUCK (Histrionicus histrionicus)

Almost half a dozen of these fancy, rock-loving ducks were scoped offshore at Yaquina Head north of Newport.

SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata)

This was the most common duck offshore.

WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (Melanitta deglandi)

Although not common, they sure were distinctive when flying offshore! We tallied them from Face Rock and Boiler Bay.

BLACK SCOTER (Melanitta americana)

At least one was mixed in with other scoters offshore at Face Rock.

BUFFLEHEAD (Bucephala albeola)

This tiny but distinctive diving duck was seen twice on tour; first at Hatfield Lake and then again at Diamond Lake.

BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (Bucephala islandica)

Between 30-40 were scoped distantly on Diamond Lake. At this time of the year we have to rely on subtle fieldmarks like head shape, bill size, etc.

COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser)

One of these was just offshore at the south end of Diamond Lake.

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

About a couple dozen of these stifftails were at Hatfield Lake near Bend.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We visit a vast array of habitats in Oregon but one of the most bird-rich ones is the coast with all its seabirds and shorebirds. This Pigeon Guillemot was beautifully photographed by participant Mary Lou Barritt.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

CALIFORNIA QUAIL (Callipepla californica)

A common and widespread species that we enjoyed many of our days. They were especially conspicuous out east around Burns and Malheur.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)

We were driving downhill in the Wallowa Mountains when some of these were spotted near a household.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Fairly common in wetlands and lakes.

RED-NECKED GREBE (Podiceps grisegena)

This was a nice pickup! We found one offshore at Yachats State Park.

EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

A monster flock of these was on Diamond Lake; I estimated at least 200 of these were staging there on the lake.

WESTERN GREBE (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

Although we spotted them a couple of times on tour, the best views by far were at Fern Ridge Reservoir on our final day. We even got to see them feeding chicks!

CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii)

At least 20 of these were close offshore at Perkins Peninsula Park on our final day. We got to see some chicks too.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Common in urban areas.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

Seen twice on tour; first at Horsetail Falls on our first full day, and then again at China Creek near Bandon.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

Very common near Burns and Malheur NWR. Pretty common about everywhere else too!

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had ample opportunity to photograph a few of the California Quail we encountered, and we sure did encounter a lot in eastern Oregon! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

This widespread species was tallied most days.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

We had stunning views of these as they roosted on the wooden fencing at the Narrows Campground at Malheur. Super cool!

Apodidae (Swifts)

VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)

We were lucky and were able to watch the spectacle of swifts swirling into a chimney! The chimney at the old Boys & Girls Club in Bend is a perennial location for roosting and we weren't disappointed. At least 300 of these circled and circled before finally putting on the brakes and dropping into the chimney.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

Only seen once, at the HQ of Malheur NWR.


Stewart Park in Roseburg was a good spot for these and we ended up getting scope views of a male.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola)

We heard one of these secretive birds calling at Bandon Marsh NWR. Some managed to briefly see it before it disappeared.

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

Common on large bodies of water like Thief Valley Reservoir, Hatfield Lake, and Diamond Lake.

Gruidae (Cranes)

SANDHILL CRANE (Antigone canadensis)

Seen in a field downhill from the Wallowa Mountains on our second day.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

This was a surprise sighting. One of these had somehow found the tiny Riley Pond which we birded at after we left Burns.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

BLACK OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus bachmani)

This distinctive black-and-orange oystercatcher was common along the rocky shores that we enjoyed late in the tour.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our very first stop on the tour is this overlook where we were able to look eastward, down the massive Columbia River Gorge. After we departed here, we visited some of the most famous waterfalls in all of the Pacific Northwest. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) [*]

One was heard calling, flying over at the Bandon Marsh NWR.

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

This small, cute plover was tallied a couple of times including from the observation deck at Bandon Marsh NWR.

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

Common throughout the trip.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

Our only sighting was of a single bird perched atop the breakwall along the Coquille River.

LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus)

It was getting pretty late for these to still be in Oregon. Still, we had good looks at one foraging in a field as we approached the Malheur NWR headquarters.

BLACK TURNSTONE (Arenaria melanocephala)

Of all the rocky shorebirds we were after, these were the most common. We saw them on various rocky jetties in Bandon, Yachats, Boiler Bay, and others.

SURFBIRD (Calidris virgata)

These were very hard to come by this year but we still managed one, a distant bird feeding with turnstones along the jetty at the Coquille River.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

A few of these pale shorebirds were chasing waves at China Creek south of Bandon.

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii)

We saw this sleek, long-winged shorebird twice actually; first at Thief Valley Reservoir and then again at Riley Pond.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

This tiny shorebird was tallied numerous times from various wetlands and lakes.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Perhaps no other raptors were wanted as much as the Prairie Falcon. In the end, we had stunning views of this bird high up on Steens Mountain at about 9700' feet elevation. Photo by participant David Baker.

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos) [*]

At least one was heard as it was flying around at the Hatfield Marine Science Center slough.

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)

The biggest flock came from the Bandon Marsh NWR overlook where we saw 150 or so.

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

This species prefers the saltwater habitats along the coast of Oregon more than the freshwater lakes inland. We found two probing in the slough at Hatfield Marine Science Center.

WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)

Wow, more than 10 of these camouflaged shorebirds were sitting quietly at Riley Pond.

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)

This tour really lucked out with this tiny but fascinating shorebird. Our first encounter was about 20 at Hatfield Lake near Bend. But then we saw roughly 200 offshore at China Creek south of Bandon!

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

Thief Valley and Stewart Lake both had this familiar, tail-bobbing shorebird.


Splendid views of this West Coast specialty were had by all! The south jetty of the Coquille River was a reliable place to see these gray, rock-loving Tringa.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

Just a couple of singles were seen on tour.

Alcidae (Auks, Murres, and Puffins)

COMMON MURRE (Uria aalge)

This common alcid was seen offshore but the best views came from the Suislaw River right near the jetties.

PIGEON GUILLEMOT (Cepphus columba)

Same as with the previous species, the best views came from the south jetty of the Suislaw River when one came floating right by us.

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We visit Kiger Gorge, seen here, as we ascend Steens Mountain. What an incredible vista! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

MARBLED MURRELET (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

They were always distant and difficult, but we did tally this small and fascinating alcid a couple of times including at Boiler Bay and offshore the Coquille River.

CASSIN'S AUKLET (Ptychoramphus aleuticus)

A trio of these plump, gray alcids were scoped from Boiler Bay.

RHINOCEROS AUKLET (Cerorhinca monocerata)

Not very common for us, only two were seen offshore at China Creek south of Bandon.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

It was getting late to see these but we still managed a huge flock of ~500 at Malheur NWR! It was quite a sight watching them swirl around together and slowly move over the landscape.

HEERMANN'S GULL (Larus heermanni)

We were scoping offshore at Boiler Bay when we managed to pick out two of these very dark, almost black gulls.

SHORT-BILLED GULL (Larus brachyrhynchus)

An early arriver at the Hatfield Marine Science Center slough.

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)

Not very common on tour, seen just a couple of times out on the east side of the state.

WESTERN GULL (Larus occidentalis)

This big, dark-backed gull was abundant along the coast during the last third of the tour.

CALIFORNIA GULL (Larus californicus)

Although always outnumbered by the previous species, this medium-sized gull was still common along the coast.

HERRING GULL (Larus argentatus)

The gull flying by at Diamond Lake looked to be this classic, common gull.

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One of the special waterbirds we make a point to see are the Clark's Grebes. This one was photographed at Fern Ridge Reservoir by participant Mary Lou Barritt.

GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL (Larus glaucescens)

This is another big gull but it's always paler backed and paler winged compared to the Westerns. We found two at Boiler Bay that looked to be pure.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Only two of these were seen on tour which is fewer than I expected. They were at the Hatfield Marine Science Center estuary trail.

Gaviidae (Loons)

RED-THROATED LOON (Gavia stellata)

Although not very common, a couple of these were scoped offshore.

PACIFIC LOON (Gavia pacifica)

Of the three loons, this was the most common for us. We tallied them several times offshore Bandon State Park and up in Yachats.

COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)

Our lone sighting came from China Creek.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

BRANDT'S CORMORANT (Urile penicillatus)

Once we got to the coast, these became pretty common. We often could see the buffy chin/throat patch which made ID easy.

PELAGIC CORMORANT (Urile pelagicus)

This small cormorant is strictly a West Coast species and we saw many of them once we made it to the coast late in the tour. At times, we could compare the pencil-neck of this species compared to the larger ones.

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Nannopterum auritum)

This large species of cormorant was seen in both freshwater and saltwater habitats.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Perhaps our best looks came from Malheur NWR when we had 75 soaring in circles right overhead.

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Common along the coast.

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It was hard to turn our backs on such a view but we did pause for a quick group photo.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

Fairly common throughout, both in freshwater and saltwater habitats.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Our first looks at this large, white heron were from Myrtle Point Marsh.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

The only sighting of this quiet, small heron was at Myrtle Point Marsh.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

This uncommon heron was a surprise discovery in the trees behind Riley Pond.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)

Although distant, there was no mistaking this dark, distinctive ibis. Our only sighting was on our way to Malheur NWR HQ.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Common, tallied daily.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Common, seen most days on tour.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)

This huge raptor was spotted a couple of times including on our way to Malheur NWR. We also spotted a couple more farther down the road towards Steens.

NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)

Seen several times over grassy or marshy habitat.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

There were two of these bird-eating hawks at the Whispering Pine Campground area uphill from Sisters.

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Of all the rock-loving shorebirds we saw, there were none more tame and well-photographed than this Wandering Tattler in Bandon. Photo by participant David Baker.

BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

An adult was seen soaring over the Thief Valley Reservoir.

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (ELEGANS) (Buteo lineatus elegans)

This western subspecies was seen twice; first at Malheur NWR and then again at Myrtle Point Marsh.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

We were lucky to witness some huge numbers of these as they were migrating south through the Malheur region.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Common, seen most days.

Strigidae (Owls)

BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)

We found an adorable family group of these tiny owls on the road north out of Malheur NWR.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

Seen a few times around lakes and rivers.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus ruber)

We had some beautiful looks at this western specialty in the mountains near Sisters.

LEWIS'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes lewis)

Wow, I've never seen more Lewis's Woodpeckers on this tour! They were seemingly everywhere on the day we drove from La Grande down to Burns. In fact, we tallied these on half of our days!

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

We found this distinctive woodpecker in Roseburg and then again at Fern Ridge Reservoir.


This is a rare species that is sometimes very hard to find. But for us, we had great luck! We found multiple birds on the day we birded up in the mountains near Sisters.

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The stars of the show at Crater Lake, besides the lake itself, were the Clark's Nutcrackers! Here's one flying by with a very full crop! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)

Found more in the lowland habitats for us, these were seen in places like Roseburg, Myrtle Point Marsh, and along the coast.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

Fairly common up in the mountains near Malheur, Bend, and Marys Peak.

WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER (Dryobates albolarvatus)

Surely one of the most interesting woodpeckers we have, this western species was a major target for us. We ended up finding several including along Hwy 395, in Sisters, and up in the mountains.

PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus) [*]

Only one was heard on this tour, up in the Wallowa Mountains.

NORTHERN FLICKER (Colaptes auratus)

Common, seen most days.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

Often seen in open country, the first sighting was from Thief Valley Reservoir.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

This majestic falcon was actually seen several times on tour. The best views, however, were certainly from the Yaquina Head Visitor Center.

PRAIRIE FALCON (Falco mexicanus)

This target of ours was seen nicely a couple of times including at Steens Mountain and again at Hatfield Lake near Bend.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)


This big flycatcher, which is in the same Genus as the pewees, was seen at Shevlin Park in Bend.

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

Although not particularly common for us, we did spot this big flycatcher in the Whispering Pine Campground area.

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It's not often you go on a trip that ends up with three different kinds of chickadees. But in Oregon, we do just that. One of the three, and perhaps the most sought-after, is the colorful Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Photo by participant Mary Lou Barritt.

WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii)

A couple of these were foraging at the HQ of Malheur NWR.

GRAY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax wrightii)

We got to watch as one of these was doing that interesting downward-pump of its tail at the Malheur NWR headquarters.

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

This is a water-loving flycatcher that has expanded northward in recent decades. We saw them in Roseburg and Myrtle Point Marsh.

SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

Our only one was spotted at the headquarters of Malheur NWR.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii) [*]

Try as we might, we couldn't get eyeballs on this singing vireo up near Whispering Pines Campground.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)

We saw a few shrikes in the Malheur area.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

CANADA JAY (Perisoreus canadensis)

It didn't take long for us to find our first flock of these inquisitive birds. We found them on our second morning in the Moss Springs Campground area.

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Common throughout most of our trip.

CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma californica)

Common around Portland as well as Roseburg.


This gaudy Corvid was common throughout our time in eastern Oregon.

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In the dry country around Malheur and Bend, it's possible to find Mountain Bluebirds patrolling from fences. We found this attractive male as we approached Burns. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

CLARK'S NUTCRACKER (Nucifraga columbiana)

It took a little work but we eventually had stellar looks at this fascinating Corvid in the high elevations around Crater Lake.

AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Fairly common, especially along the coast.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Common throughout, tallied daily.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus)

We saw these on our very first day, around the waterfalls, but then again around Roseburg.

MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli)

This was the default chickadee in the mountains around Bend and Malheur.


We worked on these a bit before finally getting some splendid views at Seal Rock Wayside. It isn't often that you get three species of chickadees on one tour!

Alaudidae (Larks)

HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

We crossed paths with five or so up on Steens Mountain.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

Horsetail Falls, on our first morning, yielded some good looks at this species.

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

This big swallow species was migrating out for the season but we still managed to find some at the estuary in Newport as well as high above Latourell Falls.

TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)

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The amazing patterning of Common Nighthawks usually make them very difficult to spot as they roost on tree limbs. But when they choose a roadside fence? The photo says it all. Photo by participant Mary Lou Barritt.

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

At least 10 of these flew overhead, low, when we were birding around the Whispering Pine Campground.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Common, tallied every day.

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

Thief Valley Reservoir had a couple of these pale-rumped swallows.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus) [*]

Although we never saw them, we heard these tiny gray birds on our very first morning when we were still near Portland.

Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

WRENTIT (Chamaea fasciata)

Wow, such awesome looks at China Creek at Bandon State Park! This species can be particularly sneaky when it wants to.

Regulidae (Kinglets)


We managed to bring a couple down when we were at the observation deck of Bandon Marsh NWR.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)

Common in some of the higher-elevation forests. The Moss Springs Campground had at least a dozen.

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis tenuissima)

The birds in Sisters are still part of the S. c. tenuissima subspecies.

PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)

Wow, these were ubiquitous at a couple of spots like Idlewild Campground, Shevlin Park, Whispering Pine Campground, and the Ponderosa Lodge in Sisters.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)

Many of these were hopping around near Kiger Gorge and the East Rim of Steens Mountain.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We also tally three species of nuthatches on this tour. By far the most energetic and noisy are the Pygmy Nuthatches. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

Only a couple of migrants were found including one at Malheur NWR and Whispering Pine Campground above Sisters.

PACIFIC WREN (Troglodytes pacificus)

One of the very first birds of the tour, this tiny and dark wren showed very nicely for us at Latourell Falls.

MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) [*]

Our only one was at Riley Pond, and it was a heard-only.

BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)

We got ok looks at one at China Creek while focusing on the Wrentits.

Cinclidae (Dippers)

AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus)

We had a wonderful experience with this fascinating species right off the bat, at Horsetail Falls on Day 1. We even got to watch it sing!

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Sometimes common in urban areas and pastures.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

SAGE THRASHER (Oreoscoptes montanus)

We came across an impressive flock as we neared Malheur NWR headquarters. About 30 or so were present along the fencerow. We later saw more that day north of the refuge as well.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)

Fairly common for us, these were present around Sisters, Roseburg, and Marys Peak.

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (Sialia currucoides)

This beautiful, sky-blue species was seen nicely along the road as we approached Burns from the north. We saw a few later on as well.

TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE (Myadestes townsendi)

We had a brief look at one near Crater Lake but they were not common for us.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Almost never coming completely out of dense cover, the coast-loving Wrentit was a target high on our list. This awesome photo was by taken by participant Mary Lou Barritt.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) [*]

We heard one calling nearby at the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Common throughout the trip, tallied almost every day.

Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Seen all but a couple days.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Seen daily.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)

A calling bird flew over the parking lot at Marys Peak.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

EVENING GROSBEAK (Coccothraustes vespertinus)

Half a dozen of these black, yellow, and white finches showed up in a treetop at the Marys Peak Campground. A great species to see!

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)

Common around Sisters, Roseburg, and Newport.

PURPLE FINCH (WESTERN) (Haemorhous purpureus californicus) [*]

A calling bird flew over as we were birding on Marys Peak. That was our only encounter though.

CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii)

We ended up having great views of a couple feeding along the road down from Moss Springs.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)

Seen briefly perched in a treetop at Moss Springs Campground and then heard many times after that.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Along the picturesque coast of Oregon are a number of lighthouses and, as luck would have it, we had a beautiful day to photograpah this one at Yaquina Head. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)

Moss Springs Campground had a small flock of these swirl into a treetop.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

Not very common for us on this tour, oddly.


Like the previous species, this was another finch that was noticeably absent. We only had one or two encounters the entire time.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

At least five were seen at the Whispering Pine Campground high above Sisters.

BREWER'S SPARROW (Spizella breweri)

These fairly-drab Spizellas were hanging out with the Sagebrush Sparrows at Chickahominy Reservoir.

LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)

We crossed paths with a flock of these near Malheur NWR HQ.

FOX SPARROW (Passerella iliaca)

A few of these big sparrows were seen hopping along the edge of the road near Whispering Pine Campground.

DARK-EYED JUNCO (Junco hyemalis)

Fairly common in coniferous forests and higher elevations. We saw them at places like Moss Springs where more than a dozen were flitting about along the ground.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Pretty common the second half of the trip.

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia atricapilla)

This NW specialty was a target of ours but it made us work for it. It wasn't until our last day, on Marys Peak, that we found one. But once we did, it showed quite nicely for us.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the evenings we spent in Bend we went downtown to witness a well-known phenomenon of Vaux's Swifts swirling into the chimney to roost. We saw several hundred fit into this single chimney! Photo by participant David Baker.

SAGEBRUSH SPARROW (Artemisiospiza nevadensis)

Most people might not associate this sage specialty with Oregon but, they're certainly findable. For us, we had stellar looks at Chickahominy Reservoir.

VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)

We tallied a couple of these including at Malheur and at the Brothers Rest Area.

SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)

Strangely absent for much of our trip. We did find some at Hatfield Lake near Bend though.

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)

Fairly common throughout, mostly in thick brambles. We saw some of the very dark, sooty ones along the coast too.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)

Our best looks came from the headquarters of Malheur NWR.

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)

YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) [*]

We were having our picnic lunch at P Ranch when one of these started giving call notes. It remained hidden though.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

This attractive blackbird is reliable at the feeders at Malheur NWR. We saw at least three of them there but that was our only sighting.

WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta)

This denizen of grassy fields was fairly common during the first half of tour.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Fairly common, especially around wetlands like at Malheur NWR.


Only a few were seen on this trip and the Brothers Rest Area turned out to provide our best looks.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Another common denizen of the coniferous forests we visited was the Red-breasted Nuthatch. They often joined in with the Mountain Chickadees and kinglets. Photo by participant David Baker.

BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

Abundant in almost every habitat.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)

This is such a skulky warbler sometimes. We managed to hear one calling up near the Whispering Pine Campground but only a few lucky folks got to see it.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

Not uncommon but mostly heard from grassy and wet areas.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

A couple of lucky folks got to see this uncommon warbler on our third day.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

Fairly common throughout the trip.

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)

This yellow-throated subspecies was the only variety we saw. But still, we tallied them most days.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

We stumbled onto just one of these black-capped warblers and that was at an overlook over Bandon Marsh NWR.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

We found ourselves among many of these on the south shore of Diamond Lake. More than half a dozen moved through in a migrant flock.

LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena)

It was very quick but we heard, and then saw, one of these fly by at P Ranch at Malheur NWR. But by this date, most of these should have already departed.



Not uncommon for us but only officially tallied two days.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We enjoyed several species of jays on this trip such as California Scrub-Jay and Steller's Jay. This, however, is the one-and-only Canada Jay which kept a close watch on us in case we dropped something to eat. Photo by participant David Baker.

LEAST CHIPMUNK (Tamias minimus)

This tiny dude was common throughout.

BELDING'S GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus beldingi)

We photographed one of these next to our van as we drove up Steens Mountain.

CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus beecheyi)

Many were seen on the ground at Perkins Peninsula Park at Fern Ridge.


Common during our time in eastern and central Oregon.


Compared to the previous several tiny species, this thing looked like a giant!

CHICKAREE (Tamiasciurus douglasii)

AKA Douglas' Squirrel. Common in many of the montane habitats. At Moss Springs Campground, we watched one in a treetop plucking, and then heaving cones off the top of the tree! It was quite a show.

GRAY WHALE (Eschrichtius robustus)

We finally tracked some of these migrants down at the end of the tour near Newport.

CALIFORNIA SEA LION (Zalophus californianus)

Who can forget the bellowing show down below our restaurant in Newport!

HARBOR SEAL (Phoca vitulina)

Common during our time along the shore. We had especially good looks in Bandon along the jetty.

MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus)

This big-eared species was tallied only once for us.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

Common, seen almost daily.

PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)

These are always cool to see and we had good luck with them during our first couple of days in eastern Oregon.


WESTERN FENCE LIZARD (Sceloporus occidentalis)

We saw and photographed several of these throughout the trip.

Totals for the tour: 190 bird taxa and 13 mammal taxa