Fort Rock (Birding Oregon p. 27) is a wonderful open ring of rock rising out of the flat sage steppe of Lake County. The remnant of a lava eruption, worn down by the waves of an immense lake, the high rock walls are home to White-throated Swifts, Rock and Canyon Wrens, and various raptors. The sage flats inside and surrounding the structure attract Sage Sparrows and Green-tailed Towhees.
The rock is filled with bubbles, the result of lava erupting into a lake.
The moon over the western wall. There is a pair of Prairie Falcons in this photo, the male is on top of the ridge and the female is down and to the left near the whitewash.
Here’s a closer look at the Prairie Falcons.
A view of the west wall from inside the crater.
Rock Wren, blending in well with his surroundings
This Mountain Cottontail was soaking up a little sun on this cold windy morning.
The outside of the eastern wall near the parking area. This area seems to be best for White-throated Swifts and Canyon Wrens.
The vegetation near the parking lot attracts both migrant and resident birds. Brewer’s Blackbirds are common here.
Green-tailed Towhee being buffeted by the wind
Cold temperature and high winds forced this Western Wood-Pewee to hunt from the ground.
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular birding destinations in Oregon, not just for the abundant expected species, but also for the eastern vagrants that turn up there every year. Our Birdathon team from the Audubon Society of Portland visited the area June 7-9.
The trees and shrubs around the refuge headquarters are very attractive to birds.
Western Tanagers were abundant in the trees and in the sagebrush.
The lawn at headquarters hosts a large colony of Merriam’s Ground Squirrels.
The view from Buena Vista, with Steens Mountain in the background
In warmer weather, this part of the state is great for herps, like this Western Fence Lizard.
Northern Flicker, nesting in the town of Frenchglen, near the southern end of the refuge