Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival - Black Butte Tour (Day 3 of 4)

Williamson's Sapsucker

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  ***]

On Saturday Morning we had a small group led by two amazing birders, Tom Crabtree  & Rich Hoyer [link]. We started off at Cold Spring Campground in the Dechutes National Forest. Here we saw White headed Woodpeckers, Cassin's Finch, Cassin's Vireo, Red Crossbills, Hammond's Flycatcher, Red breasted Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker (rare) Northern Flicker and the single most desired bird on my Oregon trip: Williamson's Sapsucker!

Red breasted Sapsucker
Cassin's Vireo
Hammond's Flycatcher - Identified by call
We then visited a Forest Service road near Indian Ford Road which gave looks at Thick-billed Fox Sparrows, Pale Swallowtail butterflies, Northern Pygmy Owls as well as some western warblers!

Thick billed Fox Sparrow - A future lifer?

Northern Pygmy Owl - So small!!!
The Pole Creek area was a recently burnt forest that attracts two specialty woodpeckers that love freshly burned forest: Three Toed and Black Backed Woodpeckers! Mountain Bluebirds, Western Tanager, Clarks Nutcracker, and Cassin's Finch were among other highlights. [ebird list]

American Three toed Woodpecker - Has a little white on its back ... and Three Toes!

Black backed Woodpeckers have black backs. Amazing birds!
The Pole Creek burn was so recent, very few plants had emerged from the scorched sandy soil.

One of the few male Cassin's Finches that were seen on this trip. 

I was surprised to see how common this bird was in Oregon. Seen easily at most locations!
After the days birding on Saturday, there was a social gathering at a local hall in Sisters. Each group leader went up to give a talk about some of the trip highlights. After the social finished, it was 8pm and I tried to go back to Calliope Crossing. One of my group leaders suggested that sometimes the Calliope Hummingbird will perch on the small trees and shrubs at this site. As I crossed the bridge over Indian Ford, I looked East, away from the setting sun  --- To have a reflective magenta blast of colour from a distant shrub. Unmistakable! A perched Calliope Hummingbird showing off his striped gorget in the setting sun! This is the smallest bird in North America if I'm not mistaken. With the exception of Williamson's Sapsucker, this is probably one of my favorite birding moments on this trip! Bob Bowers states of this tiny bird:"The Smallest Bird in North America - It would be hard to picture a better choice for this record holder. With their uniquely streaked iridescent magenta gorget, adult male Calliope Hummingbirds are easily identified and difficult to mistake. The Calliope Hummingbird is a member of a bird family found only in the Western Hemisphere, is unassuming yet beautiful, quiet yet remarkable. This is a bird that keeps to itself, introverted and secretive, but one that stirs emotion when recognized. Those who have yet to see the Calliope are in for a treat."(Bowers)

Calliope Hummingbird at Calliope Crossing. Its striped magenta gorget is diagnostic.

Good Birding!

Bowers Bob, "Caliope Hummingbird -Smallest bird in North America", ND, WEB , June 24, 2014

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