A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Oregon: From the Coast to the Cascades II 2022

September 8-19, 2022 with Cory Gregory guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
The magestic Columbia River Gorge is one of many breathtaking vistas we enjoyed on this comprehensive Oregon tour. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

The goal in creating this tour was to have a thorough but fun route through the many regions and habitats of Oregon. The stereotypical habitat of rocky beaches or lush coniferous forests is just a small sample of what Oregon is really about. We ventured through grasslands, sage flats, up a 10k foot mountain, looked up at waterfalls hundreds of feet high, explored lush mountain riparian corridors, and, of course, the rocky coasts and impressive rainforests. In the end, we could certainly confirm the fantastic bird diversity and scenic vistas that we'll remember for years to come.

Our route started by taking us to the Columbia River Gorge, and its many waterfalls, before heading to the northeast corner of the state. Many Lewis's Woodpeckers later, we were exploring the (now dry) landscapes surrounding Malheur NWR and whether it was the Pronghorn we encountered, or the seven Burrowing Owl heads peeking at us, there was plenty to see. As usual, Bend came through and delivered Pinyon Jays, Black-backed Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, and, as it turned out, smoke from a nearby wildfire. Thankfully the views of Crater Lake were stunning and specialties like Clark's Nutcracker and Red-breasted Sapsucker all fell into place.

The chance to spend time along the coast in Oregon was a highlight and the bird-rich shorelines gave us plenty to look for. We added Wrentits, Harlequin Ducks, several species of cormorants, loons, and auklets, and even a suite of rocky-loving shorebirds like Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone, and Surfbird. Turning our attention inland one last time, we climbed Marys Peak which overlooks the Coast Range. Some last minute highlights fell into place there too like Golden-crowned Sparrow, Evening Grosbeak, and even an unexpected Northern Pygmy-Owl!

So the next time someone mentions birding in Oregon, you will already be well-versed and have fun stories to tell! I'm certainly glad to have been able to share this state with you all and I hope to bird with you in the future! On behalf of Field Guides, the tour manager Nicole, and myself, thank you for joining me for birding the coast to the Cascades.

Best of 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)

CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)

This familiar goose was common in a variety of wet habitats. Tallied all but one day.

WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)

Myrtle Point Marsh had at least one female.

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)

We found a couple of these at Hatfield Lake near Bend. At least one of them was a nice male but it wasn't in full breeding plumage yet.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

Fairly common at the few lakes we visited.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

Hatfield Lake and Ankeny NWR had a couple of these, and some were starting to look pretty sharp.

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)

Myrtle Point Marsh and Ankeny NWR both had this dabbler species.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)

Common on lakes and ponds throughout.


Although we spotted this slim dabbler several times, our best looks came from Ankeny NWR on our final day.


More than a dozen were foraging along the edges of Hatfield Lake near Bend.

CANVASBACK (Aythya valisineria)

A bit of a surprise, one of these was present on a back corner of a wastewater pond in Hines.

REDHEAD (Aythya americana)

A trio was scoped down on Hatfield Lake near Bend.

Field Guides Birding Tours
If you like woodpeckers, Oregon is a fantastic destination to enjoy an impressive variety. Among the many species we saw was this Red-breasted Sapsucker, a western specialty. Photo by participant Suzi Cole.

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

This Aythya was seen a couple of times at Hatfield Lake and Ankeny NWR.

LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)

Pretty uncommon on this tour. We scoped a distant pair on Diamond Lake.

HARLEQUIN DUCK (Histrionicus histrionicus)

We started seeing these fancy ducks once we arrived at the rocky coast near Newport. Both Devils Punchbowl and Yaquina Head had a few.

SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata)

Common offshore.

WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (Melanitta deglandi)

A few of these were seen flying by offshore. Thankfully their distinctive black-and-white patterning gave them away.

BUFFLEHEAD (Bucephala albeola)

We had a number on Hatfield Lake near Bend.

BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (Bucephala islandica)

There was a good-sized flock of these divers on Diamond Lake. Unfortunately, they were pretty distant but we were still able to study head shape and bill size.

HOODED MERGANSER (Lophodytes cucullatus)

Seen both in Roseburg and again at our final stop at Ankeny NWR.

COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser)

A small flock of these migrated south during our seawatch at Boiler Bay.

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

The only spot to have these was Hatfield Lake in Bend.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the most common woodpeckers we encountered was the familiar Northern Flicker. However, we learned more about Red-shafted vs. Yellow-shafted and, especially, what they look like when they mix. Participant Russ Cole got this photo of an intergrade!
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

CALIFORNIA QUAIL (Callipepla californica)

Common and always quite dapper! An impressive swarm had gathered at the feeders at Malheur NWR and we saw many more around Burns.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)

Seen a couple of times, mostly as drive-bys.

RUFFED GROUSE (Bonasa umbellus)

Wow, this was a fantastic experience with such a hard-to-find species! We were just leaving Moss Springs in the Wallowa Mountains when we found a family group that stayed in view for quite a while.

GRAY PARTRIDGE (Perdix perdix) [I]

This guy took us by complete surprise! We were cruising down the road on our second day when one was spotted right on the shoulder of the highway! We stopped and reversed in time to take several photos and to watch a group of them flush and fly into a field. This was a first ever for this tour. Wow.

RING-NECKED PHEASANT (Phasianus colchicus) [I]

We saw one of these introduced pheasants, albeit a pretty funky-looking one.

CHUKAR (Alectoris chukar) [I]

Our first experience was a calling bird but that guy stayed out of view. It wasn't until later that we managed to find a whole flock of them along the side of the road! Alongside Malheur NWR, this flock eventually worked up the hillside and we counted at least 20 as they slowly picked through the dry scrub.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Although this small grebe was seen a number of times, our best looks came from Ankeny NWR on our final day.

RED-NECKED GREBE (Podiceps grisegena)

A tough bird to see on this tour, this medium-sized grebe was seen nice and close on the Yaquina River where it was feeding right off the jetty.

EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

At least a hundred of these dotted the lake at Diamond Lake. We saw some closer though at Hatfield Lake and even one at Ankeny NWR on Pintail Marsh.

WESTERN GREBE (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

Perkins Peninsula Park at Fern Ridge was a great spot to see and study Aechmophorus grebes. We had many of these alongside the following species, and even feeding chicks.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Some of the most enjoyable aspects of birding is when things happen you don't expect. A good example of that was when we spotted this Gray Partridge crouched on the side of the road! Although an introduced species to the US, this is a tough bird to find and it was new for many of us. Photo by participant Suzi Cole.

CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii)

It wasn't until our final afternoon that we caught up to this western specialty. Similar to the previous species, these don't have black covering the eye.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Common in urban areas.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

We saw these western pigeons a couple of times near Bandon but they were all flyovers.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

Common through much of the tour, especially in eastern Oregon.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Fairly common throughout the trip.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

A couple of folks had a flyover early one morning in Newport.

Apodidae (Swifts)

VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)

While in Bend, we were able to visit a chimney downtown that is well-known for hosting hundreds or thousands of these swifts as they stage and migrate south. During our visit, we estimated more than a thousand of these tiny insectivores swirled around and eventually dropped in. It was quite a show!

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

One was seen at the feeders at Malheur NWR headquarters during our visit.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

Seen many times but the biggest flock was at Diamond Lake where a tight swarm was swimming way offshore.

Gruidae (Cranes)

SANDHILL CRANE (Antigone canadensis)

Several of these big guys were feeding distantly in a field near where we saw the Gray Partridge on Day 2.

Field Guides Birding Tours
While in Bend we were able to enjoy an amazing spectacle; a massive swarm of Vaux's Swifts coming into roost. They circled for what seemed like ages, but as the light dimmed more and more, pretty soon they started hitting the brakes and dropping in. All 1000+ of them! Photo by participant Suzi Cole.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

BLACK OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus bachmani)

This West Coast specialty was fairly common once we reached the rocky shorelines around Bandon. Sometimes they were abundant, like at Devils Punchbowl, where we had more than 13 in one view.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)

We found a bird distantly at China Creek that I do believe was this species. Given the level of rarity that this represents, it's a real bummer we couldn't get any closer to it and get better photos.

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

This migrant species was tallied a couple of times along the coast at spots like Ona Beach SP and along the Coquille River jetty.

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

Fairly common throughout, tallied most days.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)

For some reason we had good luck with this usually-rare shorebird. Our first encounter was a lone individual feeding along the sandy shoreline at China Creek south of Bandon. We later found a trio at the estuary in Newport.

BLACK TURNSTONE (Arenaria melanocephala)

This is one of the rock-loving shorebirds limited to the West Coast. We started encountering them as soon as we reached Bandon.

SURFBIRD (Calidris virgata)

Goodness! This western, rock-loving shorebird was a real pain to find but we eventually had success with a distant bird at Yaquina Head. Whew!

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

This is a pale shorebird that breeds in the High Arctic but then migrates south and becomes a familiar fixture along sandy beaches. We encountered them several times.

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii)

Although not very common for us, we were probably lucky to find them at all. They were fairly distant, but a trio of these were seen distantly from China Creek at Bandon State Park. We could see the distinctive long-winged shape and the scaly back patterning.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

A tiny, yellow-legged peep that we saw at Hatfield Lake and Ankeny NWR.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here we're looking out over a gargantuan, crater-filling lake. Crater Lake National Park, the only national park in Oregon, has one of the most impressive vistas and it's really quite hard to comprehend until you're there, looking down at the deepest lake in the US. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)

Our most common peep on this trip, this long-billed species was seen at places like Hatfield Lake, Ona Beach SP, and Ankeny NWR.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

It wasn't until our very last stop of the tour, at the Pintail Marsh at Ankeny NWR, that we found this freshwater-loving shorebird. We tallied about 150 there.

WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)

This stealthy, camouflaged species was spied at Riley Pond and Hatfield Lake.

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)

This was a great shorebird to add to our list! We found one at Hatfield Lake swimming around feverishly, pecking at the surface of the water. We saw another one the following day in a pond near the coast.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

We were searching for dippers in Sawyer Park in Bend but instead found this tail-bobbing species.


We ended up having fantastic luck with this gray, West Coast specialty. Tallied each of our days along the coast, they were seen at spots like the jetty along the Coquille River, Devils Punchbowl SP, and Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

A few of these tall, lanky shorebirds were seen at Hatfield Lake, Ona Beach, and Ankeny NWR.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) [*]

We heard one of these calling at Ankeny NWR but never laid eyes on it.

Alcidae (Auks, Murres, and Puffins)

COMMON MURRE (Uria aalge)

We had great looks at some in the Suislaw River near Florence. We would see many more offshore at places like Boiler Bay, etc.

PIGEON GUILLEMOT (Cepphus columba)

Our best looks came alongside the previous species in the Suislaw River, as seen from the south jetty.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here we're looking at, and talking about, the natural history involved with having Acorn Woodpeckers around. This granary tree, nicely photographed by participant Suzi Cole, is one of many we can see up close.

MARBLED MURRELET (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

Only a couple of folks were lucky to see a pair of these small alcids offshore at Boiler Bay.

RHINOCEROS AUKLET (Cerorhinca monocerata)

Seen in decent numbers, actually. Not a reliable or easy species to see sometimes, these alcids were tallied from the Coquille River, Bandon SP, Boiler Bay, and the jetty of the Yaquina River.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

HEERMANN'S GULL (Larus heermanni)

This is such a distinctive and classy-looking gull! We were lucky to find some a couple of days including great looks at both adults and youngsters from the jetty at the Coquille River in Bandon.

SHORT-BILLED GULL (Larus brachyrhynchus)

This western species, previously known as Mew Gull, was just starting to return for the winter during our trip. Our best look was from Ona Beach SP where one of these was sitting with larger gulls on the beach.

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)

Although never common, a few of these familiar gulls were seen at various spots on the trip.

WESTERN GULL (Larus occidentalis)

This was the most common of the large gulls along the coast. It's a big, 4-year gull with a very dark back and dark primaries.

CALIFORNIA GULL (Larus californicus)

Not as big as the previous species, this 3-year gull has a dark eye and a fairly long bill compared to Ring-billed.

GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL (Larus glaucescens)

This is another one of the large, 4-year gulls. However, it's not as dark-mantled as Western. Also, the gray in the primaries matches the gray of the mantle. We found a couple of these along the Suislaw River and Yaquina River.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Only one or two of these large terns were seen on tour. Our best looks were at the estuary in Newport.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

It was pretty uncommon to see this species flying around the Coquille River harbor like it was. Maybe the thick fog bank had something to do with it.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Some of our best highlights came on our final day of birding! This Northern Pygmy-Owl, which is a hard bird to track down, showed very nicely for us at Marys Peak! A fantastic find. Photo by participant Russ Cole.
Gaviidae (Loons)

RED-THROATED LOON (Gavia stellata)

Only a couple of these classy loons were seen along the coast on our final two days.

PACIFIC LOON (Gavia pacifica)

This was the most common of the loons for us offshore.

COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)

Despite the name, this wasn't the most common of the loons! We spotted a couple including at Smelt Sands SP.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

BRANDT'S CORMORANT (Urile penicillatus)

Fairly common along the coast, most of the ones we saw had that distinctive pale chin patch.

PELAGIC CORMORANT (Urile pelagicus)

These were common along the shorelines once we reached Bandon. This is a slender species with a thin, all-black bill and face.

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Nannopterum auritum)

This familiar cormorant was common in a variety of habitats including both freshwater and saltwater.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

A nice flock soared overhead while we were at the Malheur NWR headquarters.

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Common along the coastline.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

AMERICAN BITTERN (Botaurus lentiginosus)

Good spotting, Glenn! One of these secretive herons popped out onto the shoreline at Pintail Marsh for a minute or two.

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

Fairly common in a variety of wet habitats throughout.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Oregon hosts a fun variety of jays and other Corvids. From magpies to Steller's Jay, scrub-jays to Canada Jays, there always seems to be something around. This curious Canada Jay was one of many we saw on this trip. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

This tall, white heron was fairly common in marshes and wet habitats.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

Small and secretive, it was easy to miss this unassuming heron. Our first was at Myrtle Point Marsh and then again at Pintail Marsh.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Common, tallied every day.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

This fish-eating raptor was spotted only on our first day as we were driving along the gorge.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)

We saw this huge, impressive raptor twice on the day we spent down at Malheur NWR. A couple were along the road and we had another flying at Kiger Gorge.

NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)

This "Marsh Hawk" was seen several times in grassy or marshy habitat like at Bandon Marsh NWR.

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)

Our smallest Accipiter, these were spotted at Crater Lake and Moss Springs Campground.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

The Trout Creek Swamp had a calling bird that was eventually joined by another, perhaps its mate.

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

This western subspecies was seen a couple of times including at a park in Roseburg and then again at Myrtle Point Marsh.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

It's rare to have this species stick around so late but we did manage to find them on our second full day after we left Moss Springs Campground.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We saw more than one kind of tiny owl on this trip! We were near Malheur NWR in the dry southeastern part of the state when we paused for this adorable family group of Burrowing Owls. Photo by participant Russ Cole.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Common and seen most days.

Strigidae (Owls)

NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (PACIFIC) (Glaucidium gnoma californicum)

Wow, this was a highlight for sure! We were birding in the Marys Peak Campground area when we eventually spotted one in a treetop! We all had great scope views of this little diurnal predator.

BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)

An adorable family group of seven was seen sitting low behind a mound north of Malheur NWR.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

Seen a number of times along waterways and lakes.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)

This was a great sighting right off the bat on our second day! We had just exited the van at Moss Springs when we heard tapping. We tracked it down to a beautiful male Williamson's!

RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus ruber)

The Trout Creek Swamp up in the mountains above Sisters proved to be a reliable place to see this western specialty. We couldn't have asked for better views!

LEWIS'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes lewis)

At least ten of these fascinating woodpeckers were spotted along Hwy 395 on our way south into Burns. We later saw another one at Malheur NWR HQ as well.

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Riverfront Park in Roseburg sure delivered this distinctive species! Dozens were seen in short order. We got to study the color patterning on the head to be able to tell males from females.


This is an unreliable, tricky species to find so imagine our luck when we found them multiple times! Our first was in a burned patch near Idlewild Campground in Malheur National Forest but we found another around the Whispering Pine Campground above Sisters.

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)

The park in Roseburg delivered our one and only.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Sometimes we pause for other amazing sights, whether it's an animal, insect, or plant. This trip we had the good fortune of having Glenn along who suggested we pause for the California Pitcher Plants. Wow, they really were impressive! Photo by participant Suzi Cole.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

Fairly common in the montane coniferous forests on tour.

WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER (Dryobates albolarvatus)

A tour highlight for many of us, this fantastic, western woodpecker eventually came in and visited the feeders in Sisters.

PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus) [*]

Just a heard-only on our second day.

NORTHERN FLICKER (Colaptes auratus)

We spent considerable time studying flickers on this tour to highlight the difficulties in assuming Red-shafted vs. Yellow-shafted. This was highlighted when we found a Red-shafted with very thin, red marks on the nape. It was technically an intergrade! These intergrades are thought to be pretty rare but I suspect it's just a lack of careful study of each individual flicker.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

We drove by this species of small falcon several times on the first half of the tour.

MERLIN (Falco columbarius)

We were waiting for the White-headed Woodpecker to show up in Sisters when we spotted, and then scoped, this falcon high up in one of the bare pines.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

It was a rare treat to be able to scope such a close Peregrine Falcon like we did at Yaquina Head. In fact, there was a pair right next to the visitor center and one was being pretty vocal.

PRAIRIE FALCON (Falco mexicanus)

This impressive falcon is always a target of ours. Most people got looks at Kiger Gorge up on Steens Mountain but then we got another one as we were driving out of Burns the following day.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)


This uncommon Contopus was perched on a high, bare branch near the Trout Swamp hillside.

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

Most of these had departed south already but we did manage to find a couple at the Malheur NWR headquarters.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Another interesting Corvid on this tour was this Clark's Nutcracker! This western species showed nicely for us at Crater Lake National Park. Photo by participant Russ Cole.

PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis)

This yellow-green Empid was seen pretty well at the Malheur NWR headquarters where it was flycatching around the feeders.

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

This is an attractive, western phoebe that is rarely far away from water. We found some at Myrtle Point Marsh and Riverfront Park in Roseburg.

SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

Only one of these salmon-colored phoebes was spotted at Malheur NWR HQ.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

This was a real treat at Riverfront Park in Roseburg. Not a species we see very often on this itinerary, this was only the 2nd or 3rd time ever I've managed it on this tour.

CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii) [*]

A singing bird up near Whispering Pine Campground always seemed to be just out of view.

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

Just one or two migrants were seen in eastern Oregon.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)

This black-gray-and-white predator was seen a couple of times on the day we spent at Malheur NWR but that was the only day.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

CANADA JAY (Perisoreus canadensis)

A lovely Corvid and one we saw multiple times at places like Moss Springs Campground and the Idlewild Campground in Malheur NF.

PINYON JAY (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus)

Seeing this flock roaming through Sisters was a highlight for sure! Turns out, we'd at least hear some more the following morning at Hatfield Lake.

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Fairly common after the first couple days.

Field Guides Birding Tours
In the town of Sisters, we had the good fortune of seeing one of the most unique woodpeckers in all of the US. This is a White-headed Woodpecker that participant Russ Cole photographed.

CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma californica)

This jay stuck to lower and urban areas like around Portland, Roseburg, and down the Willamette Valley.


Abundant in eastern Oregon, it was a real treat having swarms of magpies around.

CLARK'S NUTCRACKER (Nucifraga columbiana)

The rim of Crater Lake provided us with this high-elevation Corvid but that's the only spot we encountered them.

AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Common the latter half of the trip.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Abundant and tallied nearly every day.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus)

We found this classic northern chickadee along streams, willows, and other various forests. They were fairly prevalent at spots like Roseburg, Myrtle Point Marsh, and a couple along the coast.

MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli)

This chickadee, with its white eyebrow, was the common chickadee around Bend, Sisters, and in the Wallowa Mountains.


Perhaps the most interesting of the chickadees for many of us, this is a Pacific Northwest specialty. We encountered them most often along the coast at places such as Ona Beach SP, Bandon SP, and other wayside stops.

Alaudidae (Larks)

HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

At least a couple of these were on the ground around Kiger Gorge at Steens Mountain.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

This western species was tallied a number of times on the latter half of the tour. However, it was tough to see the fieldmarks when they were flying high overhead.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our only passerine that swims is, yes, the American Dipper. We really had to work for ours but once Suzi spotted it, we all had phenominal, crushing views as it crept, slept, swam, and climbed around at Clearwater Falls. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Common, seen almost every day.

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

This pale-rumped swallow was pointed out at Hatfield Lake and it turns out that was our only spot.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)

These adorable, little gray puffballs flitted by when we were birding in Riverfront Park in Roseburg. Quite a collection too, at least a dozen were working together in a flock.

Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

WRENTIT (Chamaea fasciata)

This western specialty is notorious for being easy to hear but tough to see. We found that reputation to be spot-on; we could hear them easily at spots like China Creek and Miller Park, but seeing them was always a challenge. We eventually did see bits and pieces of one but they were definitely feeling shy that day.

Regulidae (Kinglets)

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Corthylio calendula)

Moss Springs Campground in the Wallowa Mountains was the only spot we found this cute kinglet.


Seen both in the Wallowa Mountains and again along the Trout Creek Swamp above Sisters.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)

Quite common in coniferous forests throughout the trip.

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

The nuthatches we had in the Malheur NF in eastern Oregon were definitely of this subspecies. It's good to pay attention too in case they are split one day.

PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)

The twittering flocks of these western nuthatches were fairly common at places like Tumalo State Park and around Sisters.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)

Just a couple were tallied, and mostly heard-only. We did get quick glimpses of one at Moss Springs Campground.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The previosly-mentioned Clearwater Falls was a highlight for everyone. This quiet set of falls was so incredibly scenic and peaceful. Having the dipper to watch was just icing on the cake! Photo by guide Cory Gregory.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)

ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)

The Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain proved to be a good place for this western species.

CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) [*]

One was calling upslope during our second visit to Tumalo State Park.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

One of these was chattering away during our birding of the headquarters of Malheur NWR. Overall though, it seemed like most of them had left already.

PACIFIC WREN (Troglodytes pacificus)

One of our very first stops, at Latourell Falls, we ended up getting decent glimpses through the thick brambles of this dark, western specialty.

MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) [*]

Heard calling at Riley Pond.

BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)

It was great getting such good looks at this long-tailed wren at Riverfront Park in Roseburg.

Cinclidae (Dippers)

AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus)

Ahh, the dipper. For the longest of times, they were not where they were supposed to be... and before long, we had a nemesis on our hands! Finally, our path led us to Clearwater Falls between Crater Lake and Roseburg. What a gorgeous setting to finally get dipper, thanks to Suzi's sharp spotting!

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Fairly common around Malheur NWR HQ and in most urban settings.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

SAGE THRASHER (Oreoscoptes montanus)

The road leading to the headquarters at Malheur was great for these sage specialists. At times, we even had several in the same bush!

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)

Seen at Deadman Pass, Riverfront Park in Roseburg, and the Marys Peak summit.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Once our tour made it to the Oregon Coast, the weather, the birds, and the scenery changed dramatically. Gone were the sage flats and mountains. Instead we had breathtaking vistas overlooking the famous coastline; a sprinkling of incredible rock formations amongst pristine sand beaches. Photo by participant Suzi Cole.

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (Sialia currucoides)

Finding several sky-blue males north of Burns was certainly one of the highlights of the trip. We saw more at Hatfield Lake and Crater Lake as well.

TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE (Myadestes townsendi)

Something about Tumalo State Park in Bend, that place was absolutely loaded with these. And that's a good problem to have... except when they landed on rocks in the stream giving us dipper vibes.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)

Heard and seen just once or twice including at Latourell Falls.

HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) [*]

One of these was calling down in the streamside thicket near the Whispering Pine Campground.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Fairly common, tallied almost every day.

Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Malheur, Riverfront park in Roseburg, and Ona Beach all hosted this familiar species. At Riverfront Park, flocks were flycatching lazily over the river.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Most of the avian life we saw at the Brothers Rest Area belonged to this introduced species.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)

A calling bird flew over at Hatfield Lake but that was our only one.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

EVENING GROSBEAK (Coccothraustes vespertinus)

A couple of these big and flashy finches showed up at Marys Peak while we were watching Steller's Jays and sparrows.

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)

We added these to our triplist thanks to random stops like the Brothers Rest Area and Hatfield Lake.

CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii)

Our only encounter with this western species was a flyover in the Malheur National Forest when we were looking for woodpeckers near the Idlewild Campground.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One western species that we saw exceptionally-well in Bend, and repeatedly too, was the Townsend's Solitaire. They were commonplace for us but that just allowed us to become more familiar with their habits, habitats, and calls. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) [*]

It's a bummer we never saw them perched but we did have a couple calling flyovers at Diamond Lake.

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)

A nice little flock showed up at Moss Springs Campground and flitted around the top of a spruce.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) [*]

This small finch has been hard to pin down lately and we only heard one once on this tour.


A few were at the Ni-Les'tun Overlook at Bandon Marsh NWR.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

We were probably seeing migrants when we had this small sparrow at Deadman Pass and Trout Creek Swamp.

BREWER'S SPARROW (Spizella breweri)

This sage species performed admirably for us at Chickahominy Reservoir. This Spizella is a close relative of the previous species and they share the same size and shape.

FOX SPARROW (Passerella iliaca)

Sparse on this trip for some reason. We had a couple along the road leading uphill to the Whispering Pine Campground, and then we had another at the Marys Peak Campground.

DARK-EYED JUNCO (Junco hyemalis)

It's always nice to see the proper "Oregon" Dark-eyed Juncos. Quite common around the Moss Springs Campground when we flushed a flock off the ground.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

A common sparrow for us, migrants were showing up all over the place.

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia atricapilla)

Whew, just in the nick of time! This target of ours was just returning from their breeding grounds farther north. We saw one nicely near the Marys Peak Campground but that was one of our last stops on the tour!

SAGEBRUSH SPARROW (Artemisiospiza nevadensis)

Such a sharp-looking and interesting sparrow, I'm always glad to see them! Although many people might not think of Oregon as being great for these, the sage around Chickahominy Reservoir was teeming with them.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Although Golden-crowned Sparrows don't breed in the Lower 48, they sure do winter there. They were just starting to return by the time our trip was finishing up but we managed to find one on our final day. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)

We all got looks at one up at Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain. The white outer-tail feathers was a great clue when we saw it flush initially.

SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)

The scrub around Hatfield Lake near Bend was hosting many of these short-tailed sparrows.

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)

Fairly common for us throughout the trip. The ones we saw on the coast were of the very dark M. m. cleonensis subspecies.

LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)

Our only look was of one at Hatfield Lake.

GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus)

This western towhee is typically pretty rare on this tour but this year several were still around. Our first one came along Hwy 395 north of Burns and then we later had another in the forests above Sisters.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)

Fairly common, especially in the eastern and central parts of state.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

The feeders at the Malheur NWR headquarters was the only spot we saw this distinct and handsome Icterid.

WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta)

Our best looks came from Sodhouse Lane as we approached the headquarters of Malheur NWR. Some were even singing still which was cool to hear.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Common in the right kind of habitat.

BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

An abundant western species that we tailed about every day. They really were in about every parking lot along the coast!

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata)

Chickahominy Reservoir, Hwy 395, and the Trout Creek Swamp all had one or two of these fairly-common warblers.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We became accustomed to the many squirrels and chipmunks we encountered. One of the most common critters we saw was the Douglas' Squirrel, also known as Chickaree. This one on Marys Peak posed just long enough for guide Cory Gregory to snap a photo.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) [*]

Heard calling a couple of times but they always stayed out of view.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

Fairly common, seen on about half the days.

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

Seen many times, this western subspecies typically has a distinct yellow throat which separates it from the "Myrtle" subspecies.

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)

Darn it, just one of these showed up and it was a quick sighting along the road leading uphill from Sisters.

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)

Sometimes tricky to track down, I was happy with us finding these western warblers several times including at the Moss Springs Campground, Malheur HQ, and Trout Creek Swamp.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

Very few of these were moving through during our trip. We did see a couple along Hwy 395 in the eastern part of the state though.

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

We had splendid looks of some migrants that were seeking refuge at the Malheur NWR headquarters.



This was the common cottontail we saw through much of the trip.

LEAST CHIPMUNK (Tamias minimus)

Common, especially on the first half of the tour. These have the distinct habit of running with their tail sticking straight up.

CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus beecheyi)

Common around Fern Ridge Reservoir.


This handsome rodent was fairly common in the eastern and central parts of the state at places like Steens Mountain and other higher-elevation forests.

Field Guides Birding Tours
It sure was a fun group! We managed to stay still for just a moment before turning our attention back to the incredible Crater Lake behind us.


Wow, these looked so big after we got used to the Least Chipmunks. Our best looks were at Tupalo State Park in Bend.

CHICKAREE (Tamiasciurus douglasii)

Also known as Douglas' Squirrel. These guys were common in many of the coniferous habitats we visited throughout. We even saw one tossing cones from a treetop which was amusing to watch!


The one hanging out in a tree at Hatfield Lake sure didn't seem to be in a rush to get anywhere!

NUTRIA (Myocastor coypus) [I]

This introduced and problematic rodent has become abundant throughout Oregon. We saw them twice on tour.

GRAY WHALE (Eschrichtius robustus)

It's always great to see whales! We got to watch some of these performing offshore from Boiler Bay.

COYOTE (Canis latrans)

Seen around Malheur NWR.

CALIFORNIA SEA LION (Zalophus californianus)

It's hard to forget what we witnessed on the docks near the dinner restaurant in Newport! What a noise (and smell)!

HARBOR SEAL (Phoca vitulina)

It was a hoot watching these lay around along the shore and striking their banana pose.

MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus)

This big-eared deer was seen a number of days on tour.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

This familiar species was tallied on at least a couple of our days.

PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)

It's always a treat to be able to spend time with these open-country specialists. We saw them several times including near Baker City and Burns.


WESTERN FENCE LIZARD (Sceloporus occidentalis)

Fairly common at some of the parks around Bend.

Totals for the tour: 191 bird taxa and 15 mammal taxa