A few pictures from a trip to Eastern Oregon and Idaho in June 2011

Left top - Western Grebe.  The real identifying mark is the black goes below the eye.  Left bottom - Clark's Grebe.  Note the black above the eye.  Malheur NWR - The Narrows, 6-19.

Right - Yellow-headed Black Bird.  One of my favorite birds.   It is so striking and photogenic.  Burns, OR area - off highway 200, 6-19.

Left - Three different resting Common Nighthawks.  In the seven years that I have been really into bird watching I have never seen a Common Nighthawk perched.  I have seen them in flight.  They are easy to recognize in flight.  A very distinct white strip under each wing.  On this trip four resting nighthawks were easily found.  The far left was the first.  I notice this one on the road to Malhuer Visitor's Center.  The lower left was at Malhuer Visitor's Center and the right photo was taken at Diamond, OR sitting on the fence in the back of the Diamond Hotel.  Common Nighthawks rest on a horizontal "branch" and just kind of blend in with the surroundings.  They just become a bump on the branch.


Above left - California Quail (male) up high on a rock watching for predators while his mate feeds.  Center - Cedar Waxwings.  Right - As we were leaving the Visitor's Center a Great Horned Owl flew right in front of the car.  It landed in some rocks a 75 yards away.  I think this was a juvenile but I would not put money on it!  I am not thrilled with the photo.  It was just far away and the even with the camera on a tripod I still think the image is not very sharp.      6-19

The birding in Malheur was slow.  There was LOTS of water in the place.  A suprise was seeing Bobolinks.  This is the very western edge of their range.  They were in beautiful breeding plumage.  Last time I saw these birds was in North Dakota in 2010.  Bobolink above right, Western Wood Pewee above left.      6-19

Left - All photos of White-faced Ibis at Diamond, OR.

The top photo was taken late afternoon on 6-19.  I really like this picture.  I dropped the exposure a half f-stop to complete darken the birds.  The cropped picture had too much sky so I took the big bottom cloud from the uncropped photo and added it to the picture.  I think I will get this printed and mounted.

The other four pictures were taken in the early morning on 6-20.  There were White-faced Ibis all over the place and they were flushing as I walked down the road.  I decided to take pictures of them flying off.  I think these pictures came out real nice and it really shows off the colors of the bird. 

I was flushing all sorts of birds walking down the road to Diamond.  Left is a Shoveler in the lead followed by a Cinnamon Teal (both males).  Below is a Gadwall.

There were lots of Wilson's Phalaropes around Diamond, OR.  Top right and the next two counter-clockwise photos are of two different birds.  I just really like the reflection of the bird in the water.

The bottom right picture was taken near Diamond, OR.

Some great birding took place at Ponderosa State Park in McCall.   The best finds were two Piliated Woodpeckers.  First a female as spotted and later a male.  The male came in real close and I got some great pictures with the 500mm lens.  Just a stunning bird and definitely one of my top 10 birds to see.

On 6-21 a drive was made out to the Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area.  Not very birdie but got to see Horned Lark (right) and many Burrowing Owls (below right).

Later in the day we visited the World Center for Birds of Prey (otherwise known as the Peregrine Fund).  Not quite what I expected.  I certainly thought more birds would be on display.  Not the case.  There was a nice Eurasian Eagle Owl and Harpy Eagle on display (both behind plexiglas and bars).  The Harpy Eagle is very impressive.  Lastly, a Chuker was see on the property.

The fourth day of the trip and the last day of great birdwatching.  We made our way from Cascade to Orofino.  Good birdwatching was found along the west side of Cascade lake.  6-22

The main purpose of this trip was to bird Idaho from Boise area to the Lake Pend Oreille area (in the Panhandle).  The first stop was Malheur NWR in Eastern Oregon then into Idaho.   The last five days were in the Lake Pend Oreille area which, in my humble opinion, was some of the worst birding in Idaho for that time of the year.  Maybe it was just because there was water everywhere (due to the great snowpack of 2011) or maybe it was just the time of the year.  The entire trip is presented on this page.

Other birds around Diamond...Above left - Bullock's Oriole (male), Bobolink (male), Bank Swallows (male and female), Yellow-headed Blackbird (male) and last is a immature male Yellow-headed Blackbird.

Just to make life a little more adventurous we took the "road less traveled" to get to the highway to Boise.  And was it the road less traveled.  50 miles of dirt and gravel.  But, at one point was passed a ranch with a hay shed by the road.  I noticed something on top of some hay bales.  Great Horned Owl chicks.  Wow...this made it worth the journey.    6-20

American White Pelicans - far left at southern end of Cascade lake.  The rest of the pictures were taken in campground roads leading to the lake.  Left are a pair of Pelicans.  Nice reflection!

Far left - Western Meadowlark
Left - Osprey - Note the bands.  It was pretty unusual to see an Osprey perched just 5 ft off the ground.  It was on top of a fence post.


Above left - Mountain Bluebird

Above center - Wilson's Snipe

Above right - Bank Swallow

Left - Savannah Sparrow 

I got a picture of this bird in Ponderosa State Park and could not figure out what it was.  Eventually I figured out this is a juvenile female Cowbird.  Yuck.  It sure looks different than the adult.  Nice photo none-the-less!

In the Grangeville area we headed to Tolo Lake.  It was really clouding up at this point.  A few birds here and there.  A Wilson's Snipe was flying overhead.  I just snapped a picture for giggles.  The picture is not great but does show how the bird extends out its tail feathers so it can make the "winnowing" sound.

Just a picture of some nice wildflowers.

At the Rapid River Fish Hatchery in Riggens this nice looking female Belted Kingfisher was hanging around taking easy meals.

The rest of the pictures are from the remainder of the trip.  Pretty small number I have to say.

At Coyote Grade (about 10 miles east of Lewiston some pics were taken of Lark Sparrow and California Quail.  This was a nice area to bird.  We saw quite a few Luzuli Bunting, lots of Cedar Waxwings and a few other birds that kept our interest.

At the Nez Perce National Historic Park (Spalding Picnic Area) there were lots of birds in the brush.  The only decent photos I got were of this female Black-headed Grosbeak.

As poor as the above photo is it is my only documentaion of a Red-necked Grebe sighting.  This was the only new bird for the trip (a lifer).  It was at Mica Bay just south of Coeur d'Alene.  It quite windy and the birds were quite a distance so the photo is very poor.  We sure looked hard to find some of these again but came up empty.

Left - Spotted Sandpiper, Denton Slough (south of Hope) 6-25

Right - Cedar Waxwing, Sandpoint City Beach, Sandpoint

Above - a baby Douglas Squirrel peeking out of a hole in a tree (very cute).
Above right - Swainson's Thrush.

Left - A great moment birding near Sandpoint was visiting a site where Black Terns were nesting.  We got fantastic views of terns fishing in a small pond.  Westmont Lake, (south of Sandpoint).  6-26

Above - A barely decent picture of a Lazuli Bunting.  Cold Springs NWR, Hermiston, OR

This was fun...While sitting outside a local restaurant in Hope there was quite a bit of "Sun Dog" activity.  Sun Dogs are caused by light refracting off ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.  Yes, there was a nice ring around the sun too but I was not about to point my camera right at the sun. 6-25

Right - Eastern Kingbird,
Johnson Creek Rd (near Clark Fork)