Oregon plays host to so many different habitats and ecological regions that summarizing them is rather difficult to do! From the sage, to the mountains, and the lush coastal forests, we explored many corners of this state and came away with a fun and comprehensive fall Oregon trip!
The weather held off, our view of Crater Lake was a great one, and the birds performed well. In fact, even on Day 1 we were honored to have a beautiful Great Gray Owl! With such a majestic, hard-to-see, ghost-of-a-bird right off the bat, we knew we were in for a fun trip.
Malheur NWR was our destination for some of our birding early on and the HQ area was our first stop. Don't forget about the Burrowing Owls! We found not one but two families of these as the the light started to fade south of Burns. As we made our way towards Bend, we started to encounter new things. In Sisters, we had phenomenal luck with the roving Pinyon Jay flock, great views of the White-headed Woodpecker, and we can't forget about the 100+ Lewis's Woodpeckers we saw! The woodpecker show really was superb, we ended with 10 species including the tricky Black-backed Woodpecker.
After we enjoyed visiting Oregon's only national park, Crater Lake, we found our way deep into the forest where we visited the Clearwater Waterfalls. With an American Dipper bobbing around on the mossy logs and rocks, it was a perfect ending to the day. Once we reached the coast a whole new suite of birds were in play. Bandon and the coastline over the next couple days provided us with many highlights including Black Turnstone, Black Oystercatcher, Wandering Tattler, Harlequin Duck, and a variety of alcids we could see from shore. Even the Wrentits were seen well!
Capping off a fun trip was made even sweeter by our final morning on Marys Peak. First, some Sooty Grouse met us in the middle of the road rewarding our early-morning efforts. Equally cool was the Northern Pygmy-Owl that performed so well that we eventually had to walk away from it!
I want to thank all of you for coming along on this Field Guides tour and I hope we get to travel together again soon. Be safe and good birding!
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
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
CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)
Fairly common in a variety of wet habitats.
WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)
Meyer Pond near Bandon had a few of these attractive ducks.
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)
Both Chickahominy and Hatfield Lake had a few of these western dabblers. Sadly, at this season they're not so flashy.
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)
Fairly common throughout.
GADWALL (Mareca strepera)
Not uncommon on various ponds and wetlands.
AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)
About 10 of these wintering ducks were seen at Hatfield Lake.
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta)
At least 60 of these were at Hatfield Lake near Bend.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Anas crecca)
Only a couple of these small dabblers were present at Hatfield Lake.
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)
Hatfield Lake was our only spot for these as well.
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)
This diving species was seen just a couple of times.
HARLEQUIN DUCK (Histrionicus histrionicus)
This attractive species was fairly common amongst the surf and rocks around the lighthouse at Yaquina Head.
SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata)
Only offshore late in the tour.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (Melanitta deglandi)
A number of these chunky seaducks were seen offshore near Bandon.
BUFFLEHEAD (Bucephala albeola)
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (Bucephala islandica)
Diamond Lake near Crater Lake had 1-2 dozen of these. Because they're not in breeding plumage, we had to focus on more subtle fieldmarks like the head shape.
HOODED MERGANSER (Lophodytes cucullatus)
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Fairly common at a variety of lakes including Chickahominy where at least 15 were seen.
CALIFORNIA QUAIL (Callipepla californica)
Yes, we eventually caught up to these although they weren't as abundant as I thought they'd be. For example, we found a flock of 35+ near Krumbo Reservoir at Malheur NWR.
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)
We spotted these mostly as we drove by various spots.
SOOTY GROUSE (Dendragapus fuliginosus)
Wahoo! This target is always a tough one to connect with but our early-morning drive from Newport to Marys Peak paid off when we found several of these along the road. This species was once considered conspecific with Dusky Grouse and was called "Blue Grouse".
RING-NECKED PHEASANT (Phasianus colchicus) [I]
Although an introduced species, these caught our attention near Krumbo Reservoir at Malheur NWR.
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
HORNED GREBE (Podiceps auritus)
A lone bird was scoped distantly at Diamond Lake.
RED-NECKED GREBE (Podiceps grisegena)
The Yaquina Head Lighthouse area had a couple of these swimming offshore.
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)
Fairly common, especially at Diamond Lake.
WESTERN GREBE (Aechmophorus occidentalis)
We had a nice side-by-side comparison between these and the following species. These western guys always look like they're wearing sunglasses.
CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii)
Along with the previous species, Fern Ridge Reservoir had plenty of these to scope. We even got to see some all-white youngsters.
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)
Just flybys on this trip.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)
Only a couple of these migrants were spotted at Malheur, flying around late in the afternoon.
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)
Wow, what a cool show! More than 800 of these swirled around and around a chimney in downtown Bend. As dusk settled in, they started getting closer and closer to the opening until finally they started slamming on the brakes and dropping in! It's incredible to think of 800 of these tiny birds lining the inside of the chimney.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)
A few were visiting feeders at Malheur NWR HQ.
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna)
Fairly common in Roseburg.
SORA (Porzana carolina)
We even got views of a couple of these at Riley Pond as they picked around in the vegetation.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
A whopping 1200+ were at Diamond Lake.
SANDHILL CRANE (Antigone canadensis)
Always a neat bird to see! We saw 3 near Krumbo Reservoir at Malheur NWR.
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus bachmani)
A western specialty, these big and obvious shorebirds were seen at a number of coastal areas.
SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus)
It took a little bit of work (climbing a sand dune) but we eventually had scope views of this uncommon coastal species. Their camouflage is amazing!
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)
Seen at a number of coastal spots late in the trip.
LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus)
One of these huge shorebirds flew over us at the mouth of the Coquille River.
MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)
A few of these large shorebirds flew over as we were looking for Snowy Plovers.
BLACK TURNSTONE (Arenaria melanocephala)
It was fantastic getting to see so many of these rock-loving, western shorebirds. At one point we saw 60+ from the south jetty in Bandon.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
We saw a couple of flocks of these pale shorebirds along the sandy beaches on the coast.
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii)
This sleek and beautiful sandpiper was seen at Chickahominy Reservoir where several people managed photos.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)
Chickahominy Reservoir had one.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)
Chickahominy had a flock of 62!
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
WANDERING TATTLER (Tringa incana)
Fairly common along the rocky coast.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
COMMON MURRE (Uria aalge)
Common along the coast, our most abundant alcid on the trip.
PIGEON GUILLEMOT (Cepphus columba)
A couple were seen here and there along the coast.
MARBLED MURRELET (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
More than 5 of these tiny alcids were seen swimming offshore from China Creek.
RHINOCEROS AUKLET (Cerorhinca monocerata)
Fairly common, usually seen in 1s or 2s.
HEERMANN'S GULL (Larus heermanni)
Surprisingly, only one of these was seen and that was at China Creek.
SHORT-BILLED GULL (Larus brachyrhynchus)
A singleton was seen swimming in the river channel at the Coquille River.
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)
WESTERN GULL (Larus occidentalis)
Abundant along the coast.
CALIFORNIA GULL (Larus californicus)
Quite common along the coast.
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL (Larus glaucescens)
We saw at least one bird at Boiler Bay that looked pure. We saw many hybrids though.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
Seen a couple of times near Bandon.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)
Seen distantly at Fern Ridge Reservoir by a couple of folks.
RED-THROATED LOON (Gavia stellata)
One at China Creek.
PACIFIC LOON (Gavia pacifica)
Relatively few on this trip, all migrating offshore.
COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)
Our least common loon, ironically. One was at Diamond Lake.
SOOTY SHEARWATER (Ardenna grisea)
Seen flying way offshore a couple of times.
BRANDT'S CORMORANT (Urile penicillatus)
Look for the buff patch on the throat. Common along the coast.
PELAGIC CORMORANT (Urile pelagicus)
Also common along the coast. This is the smallest of the cormorants on the trip and was dark overall including a thin dark bill.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Nannopterum auritum)
Common on inland bodies of water (and some coastal areas too).
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Malheur NWR was a good place to see these flying overhead.
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Abundant along the coast.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
At least half a dozen of these were at Hatfield Marine Science Center.
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)
We saw hundreds of these in Malheur NWR, but mostly as flyovers.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)
We chanced into this impressive raptor on our drive back north after Malheur NWR.
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (ELEGANS) (Buteo lineatus elegans)
Strangely, our only one was up in the mountains near Sisters.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)
Fairly common in the Malheur NWR area.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Our most common Buteo.
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (PACIFIC) (Glaucidium gnoma californicum)
Certainly a highlight of the trip for many of us was getting to see this tiny species so well up on Marys Peak. We got to hear it, watch it fly, and had scope views of it perched.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)
Success! We found a couple of these at a couple different locations north of Malheur NWR.
GREAT GRAY OWL (Strix nebulosa)
This was such a memorable moment for us. This huge, quiet, ghost-of-a-bird showed itself to us as we drove quietly along in the Blue Mountains. We all had great looks and got nice pictures as we watched it look around. Eventually it flew farther back in the woods and we finally resumed breathing!
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)
Whew, we barely saw this species but there was no doubt when we got scopes on a male sitting atop a conifer near the Whispering Pine Campground.
RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus ruber)
A couple were at Trout Creek Swamp and another flew by in Roseburg.
SAPSUCKER SP. (Sphyrapicus sp.)
This was an interesting study of sapsucker hybridization. In the end, it's pretty clear that it wasn't a totally pure Red-naped. Instead, it looked to have some Red-breasted genes.
LEWIS'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes lewis)
Wow, seeing so many of these north of Burns was phenomenal; about 100 were tallied in just the one afternoon!
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)
Common at the park in Roseburg. We even got to see some of their granary trees.
BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER (Picoides arcticus)
It sure took a lot of work but we eventually found a lovely female near Sisters. This tricky species is often one of the main targets of folks.
DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)
WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER (Dryobates albolarvatus)
These were in short supply this year but the trusty Ponderosa Lodge in Sisters had feeders where we managed to see one of these distinctive woodpeckers.
PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus)
NORTHERN FLICKER (Colaptes auratus)
A fairly common migrant throughout our trip.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
PRAIRIE FALCON (Falco mexicanus)
Just a singleton along Ruh-Red north of Malheur.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi)
This big flycatcher, which is in the same genus as the pewees, was seen atop a tree in the Trout Creek area.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)
A late one was still at Malheur NWR HQ.
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)
Seen at the Malheur NWR HQ area.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
It was uncommon to see these around still at this date.
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Like the previous species, this was seen at Malheur NWR.
CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii)
Our only one was at the Idlewild Campground.
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)
Not uncommon at a few spots near Malheur and Bend.
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)
Common around Malheur NWR.
CANADA JAY (Perisoreus canadensis)
At Marys Peak and Idlewild Campground.
PINYON JAY (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus)
Finding a flock of 80 of these roaming around in Sisters was so much fun! We got out and stood there as they flew all around us.
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)
CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma californica)
Seen around Bend and Roseburg.
BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (Pica hudsonia)
These long-tailed Corvids are always a treat to see!
CLARK'S NUTCRACKER (Nucifraga columbiana)
Along the rim at Crater Lake is as reliable of a spot as any other! We saw some getting fed and so that explains why.
AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus)
Our least common chickadee.
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli)
Fairly common in the, well, mountains.
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (Poecile rufescens)
Common in the Coast Range and spots along the coast.
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)
WRENTIT (Chamaea fasciata)
We couldn't have gotten better views of this usually-skulking species than we did at the covered bridge rest area.
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Corthylio calendula)
Only seen at Moss Springs Campground.
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus satrapa)
We saw some extraordinary kinglets with their crowns out in full force.
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)
Common throughout in coniferous habitats.
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis tenuissima)
All of these that we saw were of the Interior West group.
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)
A common sight and sound in the conifers throughout the trip.
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)
Our only sightings came from the top of Steens Mountain.
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus)
We had excellent views of one in the canyons north of Burns.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
These become sneaky in migration!
PACIFIC WREN (Troglodytes pacificus)
Our only sighting was of a bird that kindly perched up for a second at the Moss Springs Campground.
MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) [*]
Heard only, giving some calls from the cattails at Riley Pond.
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
Found in Roseburg and along the coast.
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus)
This fascinating species was seen very well, twice! First at our second stop on the first day, and then later in the trip at Clearwater Falls.
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
SAGE THRASHER (Oreoscoptes montanus)
Quite a number of these migrants were passing through, especially along the road to Malheur NWR.
WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)
Seen in Sisters, Roseburg, and a couple other spots.
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (Sialia currucoides)
Seen just once, north of Burns.
TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE (Myadestes townsendi)
We had wonderful, close views of this sleek species in the mountains north of Burns.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Always a treat to see these and we did so at Malheur NWR, Roseburg, Sandy Creek, and others.
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]
AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)
Mostly calling flyovers.
EVENING GROSBEAK (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
Several flocks of these big finches were roaming around including many on the Trout Creek Hillside and more from the Whispering Pine Campground.
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
PURPLE FINCH (WESTERN) (Haemorhous purpureus californicus)
A few of these flew over us while we were birding at Myrtle Point Marsh.
CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii) [*]
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)
There was a huge flock of these up on Marys Peak; we estimated at least 170.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)
We saw a sizable flock of these up on Marys Peak too.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
Seen in Roseburg and Malheur NWR HQ.
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Spinus tristis)
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
This small sparrow was abundant at some of our stops early in the tour.
BREWER'S SPARROW (Spizella breweri)
We focused on birding in the sage habitat at Chickahominy and ended up with great looks at this small Spizella.
FOX SPARROW (Passerella iliaca)
Trout Creek Hillside had a few.
DARK-EYED JUNCO (Junco hyemalis)
Most were the "Oregon" Dark-eyed Juncos. Fitting name!
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
SAGEBRUSH SPARROW (Artemisiospiza nevadensis)
It took some work to finally track them down at Chickahominy but we did. This species holds its tail up as it runs on the ground, reminiscent of a tiny thrasher.
VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)
Just one at Malheur NWR HQ.
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus)
Very brief looks north of Burns.
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)
Fairly common and we managed some nice pics of some in Roseburg.
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
Many of these had already left and so it was especially good to connect with them at Malheur NWR and the Substation Pond north of Malheur.
WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta)
Abundant near Malheur NWR.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Molothrus ater)
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata)
We had at least three different encounters at various, seemingly random spots.
MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)
We were lucky to have a couple of terrific encounters with this skulky species. The one we found at Idlewild Campground posed nicely for us and it ended up giving us some of the best looks we've ever had.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
Only one at Sage Hen Rest Area.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
Singletons were spotted 4-5 times throughout the tour.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)
This western species was tallied a couple of times including at Malheur NWR HQ as well as the Trout Creek Hillside a few days later.
HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis)
A couple were seen high in the trees along the Trout Creek Hillside.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
Only at Idlewild Campground north of Burns.
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)
Not particularly uncommon for us.
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena)
Female, north of Burns.
BRUSH RABBIT (Sylvilagus bachmani)
This was the cottontail we saw along the coast the one time.
NUTTALL'S (MOUNTAIN) COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus nuttalli)
LEAST CHIPMUNK (Tamias minimus)
TOWNSEND'S CHIPMUNK (Tamias townsendii)
Present up on Marys Peak.
YELLOW-BELLIED MARMOT (Marmota flaviventris)
We had neat views of a couple of these up near the East Rim of Steens Mountain.
BELDING'S GROUND SQUIRREL (Urocitellus beldingi)
This was the drab species we saw as we were climbing up Steens Mountain.
CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus beecheyi)
GOLDEN-MANTLED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus lateralis)
Friendly! Sometimes too friendly.
FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger)
WESTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus griseus)
CHICKAREE (Tamiasciurus douglasii)
Also known as Douglas's Squirrel.
DEER MOUSE (Peromyscus maniculatus)
This little dude was lost in a parking area along the coast but we carefully carried him to safety.
NUTRIA (Myocastor coypus) [I]
GRAY WHALE (Eschrichtius robustus)
It's so cool to see this right offshore! Boiler Bay is good for this as well as Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
COYOTE (Canis latrans)
CALIFORNIA SEA LION (Zalophus californianus)
These were a sensory overload near our restaurant in Newport.
HARBOR SEAL (Phoca vitulina)
Common, especially down around Bandon where we saw them loafing on the rocks.
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus)
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)
WESTERN FENCE LIZARD (Sceloporus occidentalis)
Totals for the tour: 191 bird taxa and 20 mammal taxa