Here are a few more images from my trip to central Oregon. The main purpose of the trip was to get the dogs away from the fireworks in Portland, but I always enjoy a trip to the dry side of the Cascades. It was indeed dry, and very hot. Bodhi cooled off a little in the Deschutes River.
I found a small flock of Turkey Vultures roosting along the river one morning.
Even in the early morning the sun was pretty intense.
This young Spotted Sandpiper was perched on a rock in the river.
The Mule Deer were usually found along the river, which provided the only green vegetation in the area.
Since birding was pretty slow, I spent a lot of time with Western Fence Lizards. This individual was basking on a big piece of obsidian. Since it was so hot, these lizards usually basked in the shade except during the early morning.
This individual was hanging out under the deck where we were staying. I had to use a flash in this dark environment. I normally don’t like the results of flash photography, but the flash really brought out the pattern on this lizard.
an adorable little dragon
With the ongoing renovations taking place at Fernhill Wetlands, each visit throughout the year is a new experience. Most of the breeding species have done their thing, and the resident waterfowl have molted into ugly duck season. Water levels are still a little too high to provide shorebird habitat, but that should change soon enough.
Afternoon temperatures have been getting quite warm, so the brush rabbits come out early in the morning to enjoy the cool. The backlighting on this guy highlights the blood vessels in his ears.
Purple Martins are a new addition to Fernhill this year. A new nesting box installed beside the main lake has attracted at least one pair. If you build it, they will come.
These Cinnamon Teal were plowing through a thick mat of algae. Note the very large bills on these ducks, which help identify them in their summer plumage.
This hatch-year Hooded Merganser was hanging out in the middle of the lake. The unusual habitat choice and the unfamiliar juvenile plumage caused many birders, myself included, to initially call this a bird a Red-breasted Merganser. While a Red-breasted had been documented at this site in May, closer inspection of this bird reveals the solid head shape and the slightly smaller bill of a Hooded. Another reminder to actually look at every bird and don’t rely on others to identify them for you.
Turkey Vulture, experiencing some wing molt
This Red-winged Blackbird was one of a large flock feeding in the cattails.
Some of the local breeders are working on a second clutch. These young Barn Swallows are waiting for someone to come feed them. Soon the power lines will be crowded with young swallows preparing for their first migration.
Today is International Vulture Awareness Day. Many species of vulture throughout the world are gravely imperiled. We are blessed in this country with healthy populations of both Turkey and Black Vultures.
Birders should really appreciate Turkey Vultures, as they are so accommodating. They roost in plain sight.
They take their time getting up in the morning, so there is no need for us to get up at the crack of dawn to see them. These birds are catching a few rays while they wait for the sun to warm things up and provide updrafts to keep the birds aloft.
When they aren’t airborne, they perch out in the open for all to see. Those pesky warblers are seldom so generous.
Birding has enough challenges. Don’t neglect to appreciate the easy birds, and the important roles they play.