Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oregon in Spring WINGS Tour: Cold Fronts Blast the Northwest

Brrrr. I guess this is all good preparation for my upcoming trip to Gambell, Alaska, but everyone else was at least hoping for much warmer weather.

The day before yesterday, we greeted dawn at Marys Peak west of Corvallis, when all was still nice. Mount Jefferson can be seen in the distance here.

But showers, followed by cooler air arrived by late morning, and this will likely go down as the coldest Oregon in Spring tour ever.

It's never too cold for Rough-skinned Newt in the Northwest.

We dressed up well for our walk into the restored native prairie at Finley NWR, where we saw Savannah Sparrows (but no Grasshopper) and lots of great wildflowers.

This Lazuli Bunting with a Savannah Sparrow was also nice.

We then worked our way eastward over the Cascade Mountains. We stopped a couple times to look for Harlequin Duck here, but since we had seen them on the coast didn't spend too much time here.

By the time we had arrived at Lost Lake to look for Barrow's Goldeneyes, the snow level had already dropped to the elevation of the passes.

But we dropped out of the higher elevations to look for woodpeckers in some areas west of Sisters, such as the GW Burn.

This is where we found our only Black-backed Woodpecker.

Yesterday, on the way from Bend to Burns, we stopped by the Harmon Road fields just a mile off the highway and were treated to 12 Ferruginous Hawks, 2 Swainson's Hawks, a Golden Eagle, a Bald Eagle, a Prairie Falcon, and some lovely Lark Sparrows in the course of a few minutes.

Last night the really cold air hit, and we were met by near blizzard conditions at times. This is very unusual weather for late May.

A Long-billed Curlew in the Silvies River hay fields probably had no trouble finding food.

But Gray Flycatchers were absolutely everywhere, and I suspect many insectivores, such as these, warblers, and swallows perished in this cold.

We saw many migrants of all kinds throughout Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and it was a treat to see Lewis's Woodpeckers so well.

No comments:

Post a Comment