Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival Birding - Catch up Tour (Day 4 of 4)

Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival Shirt Artwork
Brewers Sparrow

Editors Note:
This Sisters Oregon Woodpecker Posting is part of a 4-part series on my June 2014 trip
Day 1: Arrival & self guided touring
Day 2: Ochocos Tour 
Day 3: Black Butte Tour 
Day 4: Catch up Tour - Dry Creek Burn  ***]

The last of my three day Woodpecker Festival featured a "Catch up Tour" where festival participants requested various birds they were hoping to get. Most birders wanted to go where we went on Saturday, so we re-united with our guides from the previous day and had some fun exploring different areas. Some target species were mountain grouse, Hermit Warblers, Lewis's Woodpecker, and Pileated Woodpeckers. With those two woodpeckers, my total woodpecker species for this festival would hit the maximum 11 species mark.

Our first stop was an old burn that had now become a brushy field. Brewer's Sparrow and White crowned Sparrows were present. We noted the slight difference in Western White crowned Sparrows (see above), whose eye line is from the eye back. The western species essentially has white lores while the eastern species has a complete black eyeline! [compare]

Steller's Jay
We then continued on into some forest stopping at various spots seeing what was around. We found a Townsend's Warbler with a white belly, hinting that it was an "intergrade" - having traits from Hermit Warbler. Below, you will see a Hermit Warbler, which should have a white belly - having a yellow belly - showing features that Townsends Warbler may have passed on with some interbreeding. Common nighthawks were seen flying overhead as well.

Townsend's Warbler - Should have a yellowish breast
We saw our first Hermit Warbler - I was really happy to see this. This was one of the few lifers I had on my fourth day in Oregon. Very exciting to get all four target warblers!

Hermit Warbler

The Dry Creek Burn area had several Lewis's Flycatchers easily seen. When we were there, they were very active, flycatching and moving from snag to snag. These were not life birds, but still, breathtaking to see. Only nature could have come up with such a colour combination! Lazuli Buntings and Olive sided Flycatchers were singing and easily seen in the area as well. I saw several Stellar's Jays as well, but they were a little camera shy.

One last stop at Suttle Lake made one last try at seeing Pileated Woodpeckers - Mission Accomplished! We also saw more Hermit Warblers! The Hermit Warbler shown below has a yellowish breast - hinting of some genetic traits from Townsend's Warbler.

Hermit Warbler - with yellowish breast of a Townsend's Warbler

Hermit Warbler - My only lifer on day 4!

Red Crossbills (Type 2 – Ponderosa Pine Crossbill ) were seen almost daily on this trip
On Sunday afternoon, I was anxious about getting back to Portland to prepare for returning back to Detroit. I went to the Best Western Hotel in Sisters which sometimes hosts the local flock of Pinyon Jays but came up short. I also attempted to find Barrows Goldeneye, American Dipper and Vaux's Swifts while driving back but no luck!

The last four postings really detailed my Oregon trip and my personal birding highlights. I had a great trip and wanted to document what happened photographically and through my blog so that I would not forget about it and also to share the experience with my blog readers. Its expensive to travel, not just financially but environmentally, time not with family, opportunity costs abound ... so the least I can do is document my trip. I like knowing I can at any time go back and look at this trip, my old Florida trips, or my trip out to BC two years ago and easily re-live the highlights of those trips. This concludes my Oregon Trip to the Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival. If I had to rate this trip I would rate it.... 11 out of 11 Woodpeckers! ;-)

MacGillivray's Warbler at Black Butte Swamp

Rufous Hummingbird at Cold Springs Campground

Good Birding!

Life List Summary based on my 50 target birds (crossed out birds were missed):

1 American Dipper
2 Canyon Wren (#351)
3 Townsend's Solitaire (#352)
4 Sage Thrasher
5 Black-throated Gray Warbler (#353)
6 Townsend's Warbler (#354)
7 Hermit Warbler (#355)
8 MacGillivray's Warbler (#356)
9 Western Tanager (#357)
10 Green-tailed Towhee (#358)
11 Brewer's Sparrow (#359)
12 Sage Sparrow
13 Black-headed Grosbeak (#360)
14 Tricolored Blackbird (#361)
15 Bullocks Oriole(#362)
16 Cassin's Finch(#363)
17 Red Crossbill(#364)
18 Lesser Goldfinch
19 Cassin's Vireo(#365)
20 Pinyon Jay
21 Steller's Jay(#366)
22 Western Scrub-Jay(#367 - Seen while driving through Prineville)
24 Pygmy Nuthatch (#368)
25 Rock Wren(#369)
26 Northern Pygmy-Owl (#370)
27 Common Poorwill

28 Vaux's Swift

29 Anna's Hummingbird
30 Calliope Hummingbird (#371)
31 Gray Jay
32 Williamson's Sapsucker (#372)
33 Red-naped Sapsucker (#373)
34 Red-breasted Sapsucker(#374)
35 White-headed Woodpecker(#375)
36 Hammond's Flycatcher(#376)
37 Gray Flycatcher(#377)
38 Dusky Flycatcher(#378)
40 Ferruginous Hawk

41 Prairie Falcon

42 Snowy Plover

44 Cinnamon Teal (#379)
45 Barrows Goldeneye

46 Sooty Grouse
47 Clark’s Grebe (#380)
48 Ruffed Grouse

49 western screech
50 White throated swift (#381)
51-Barn Owl(#382)
52-Band tailed Pigeon (#383)
53- American Three toed Woodpecker (#383)

Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival Websites:

PS: I photographed and attempted to identify some butterflies while in the Sisters Oregon area. The eight or so species below were photographed in Central Oregon.

Becker's White - Seen at Smith Rock State Park

Nelson's Hairstreak?

California Tortoiseshell

Pale Swallowtail - Common around Sisters Oregon

Hoary Comma
Great Arctic
Two banded Checkered Skipper
Ancilla dotted Blue - Smith Rock State Park


  1. White-headed Woodpecker is a bird I would really like to see. I didn't know that Tricolored Blackbird could be found in Oregon; I thought it was range restricted to California.

  2. Robert, thanks for the comments. I was surprised to hear that tricolored blackbirds were in central Oregon as well. It was a small breeding colony between Redmond and Prineville. The I-bird app range map recognizes some small colonies in Oregon though. See

  3. It was fun joining you on this trip via your blog and gorgeous photos set against the black backdrop. I also just returned from a birding trip, but unlike you have no photos, just checklists and blog posts. You've definitely whetted my appetite for this bird festival!



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