I spent a few hours birding above Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. It was cold and very windy when I arrived, but conditions gradually improved.
This is not a site to wrack up a long bird list. After three and a half hours of birding, I ended this trip with 12 species. The top eBirder for this site has only accumulated 33 species (I have 31). But I still try to visit at least once a year. The site is unique in that you can drive to the treeline on a paved road, and find high elevation species that you won’t find anywhere else so close to Portland.
The best bird of the day was this Black-backed Woodpecker, who made a brief appearance on this isolated snag before flying back down slope to the forest.
This Townsend’s Solitaire was near the woodpecker. I got two photos before the bird flew off, one blurry and one with the bird looking away.
With its gravel and fine volcanic ash, Mount Hood above the treeline would look much like the surface of the moon were it not for the abundant wildflowers and the occasional Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel.
still not on the moon
There are usually a couple of Common Ravens hanging out near the parking lot. This one was feeding on an apple core.
While photographers generally try to avoid harsh midday sunlight, the intense light brought out some nice highlights on this Common Raven.
It was another tough day above Timberline Lodge, but there is always something to see.
At least once a year I like to visit the moonscape that is Mount Hood above Timberline Lodge. The birding there is hit or miss, sometimes yielding great spectacles like a flock of 200 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, and sometimes offering little besides a distant Common Raven. This trip was somewhere in between.
Every trip to the mountain results in at least one photo of a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel. Yes, we see them every time, but their cuteness knows no bounds.
Mountain Bluebirds are expected here in the warmer months.
Townsend’s Solitaires are a little harder to come by, but are usually around in small numbers.
The sun at this elevation is pretty intense, making even this Common Raven glisten.
Another bird on a stick; Red-tailed Hawk. I hope to see migrating raptors when I visit Timberline in autumn. There wasn’t much movement on this day, but I did see several Red-tails, a Prairie Falcon, and at least one Sharp-shinned Hawk.
California Tortoiseshells were present in good numbers. I don’t know what they were eating, as all the blossoms had long since dried up.
So ends another visit to Timberline. While the birding varies, it is always fun to explore this part of the mountain.
Here are some photos from a recent scouting trip to Mt. Hood for my upcoming Portland Audubon class.
Timothy Lake, a good spot to look for migrant loons and grebes
Varied Thrush on the shore of Timothy Lake
Clear Lake is very low this time of year, but still attracts waterfowl.
Greater White-fronted Goose on the shore of Clear Lake
Nala, the Birding Dog, after adding Greater White-fronted Goose to her life list. She apologizes for chasing the goose into the lake, but she just couldn’t help it.
A burned section of forest near Cooper Spur on the northeastern part of the mountain. Burned forest is a magnet for woodpeckers.
A really bad photo of an American Three-toed Woodpecker in the burn
The giant gravel pile that is Mount Hood, above Timberline Lodge