Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge (Birding Oregon p. 74) is a great place to for some high-elevation birding in the Cascades. A good paved road leads right up to the treeline, and you can access the Pacific Crest Trail just uphill from the lodge. The parking lot is often full of tourists and skiers, even in late summer. But if you are willing to walk for a while, you can enjoy solitude and stunning scenery.

Cassin’s Finch

Brewer’s Blackbirds are common residents of parking lots in the Portland area, but it is nice to see them in a more natural setting here.

This female Brewer’s Blackbird is one of the small percentage of the population with pale eyes.

Mountain Bluebird, male

Mountain Bluebird, female

This pair of Mountain Bluebirds had built a nest in a gap under the eave of a small building above the lodge.

Lots of these little butterflies were feeding on the scattered wildflowers. My best guess is Acmon Blue.

The highlight of my long oxygen-deprived hike uphill from Timberline Lodge was this Yellow-bellied Marmot. He looks very regal in this pose.

Parking Lots

They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.  – Joni MItchell

One of the more common abominations of our society is the parking lot, that large expanse of asphalt or gravel that raises local temperatures, eliminates vegetation, and changes the local hydrology. It is a symptom of our car culture, and will probably be with us for the foreseeable future.

But if you are one of those folks who are “always birding,” then you will occasionally find interesting birds even in the asphalt prairies of your local shopping centers. Not that I recommend parking lots as birding destinations, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, there are birds to be found in the skies, on the asphalt, and in the isolated shrubbery of the parking lot.

A gorgeous species with subtle purple and green irredescense, Brewer’s Blackbirds are frequently encountered in parking lots.

Parking lots are often the best spots to study gulls. The birds here are used to people and can often be closely approached. This is a first-cycle Herring Gull.

Adult California Gull

Not all parking lot birds are blackbirds and gulls. I have seen Peregrine Falcons, Black Swifts, Anna’s Hummingbirds, White-crowned Sparrows, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, Snow Geese, and Cooper’s Hawks, to name a few. Keep alert, and the occasional avian treasure will appear even in the desolation of the parking lot.