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Southeastern Oregon and Northern California
September 2006 

    Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Burns OR
    Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, OR
    Crater Lake National Park, OR
    Redwoods National and State Parks, CA
    Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Bandon, OR


    At the end of September, we took a week off to explore Southeastern Oregon and Northern California. We knew we wanted to revisit Malheur, but we also wanted to visit some places we haven’t been before.  We came up with a list of places and had to shave it down so we could actually have time to enjoy each place.  We played it by ear slightly, but were happy with the outcome.  At each location, we could witness fall migration - large flocks of Townsends Solitaire, Greater White-fronted Geese flying over head, small groups of migrating songbirds gleaning the trees, and even California Tortoiseshells fluttering overhead.

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Burns, OR

    We drove straight down to Malheur NWR, over an eight-hour drive.  Just before dusk, we had our tent set up at the Page Springs Campground.  We stayed for two nights and both nights were very cold, but the sky was clear and the stars shone brightly in the dark sky.  At night, we rested well only to be woken by the occasional calling and tooting of Great Horned and Northern Saw-whet Owls.
    We hiked up the East Canal Trail, on the southern end of Malheur – the trailhead is directly across from the campground entrance.  We had a pleasant hike, though the views weren’t amazing, the wildlife was abundant and diverse.  We saw many Mule Deer, Coyotes and many snakes that were basking in the morning sun.  We even saw a Bobcat and a small herd of Pronghorn (one male with 4 females and 2 young).  There were quite a few predators, which isn’t too surprising when it seemed every blade of grass was being rustled by a mouse or vole.
    On the refuge we also took the auto-tour.  I have to admit it wasn’t as exciting as the hike.  There’s only so much you can pick up on when traveling at 20 mph.  We still did see a lot of Mule Deer and ducks (especially coots) on the ponds.  Still we saw some interesting birds – a White-faced Ibis, flock of American Pipits, and the Black-crowned Night Heron roost.

 Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, OR

    Our next stop was the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.  Though it is close to Malheur, the drive seemed long and desolate.  We bumped along a dirt road though nothing but sage and the occasional cattle.  We entered the refuge through the less used northern entrance.  However, we weren’t disappointed when we saw a sage grouse standing on the side of the road.  It was fairly tame as we slowed down for a good look at the grouse – it was slightly alarmed, but only walked off to hide in the sage.
    On the refuge, we stayed two nights at Hot Springs Campground.  A small creek ran along the campground, most of the sites were well spaced and offered a lot of privacy.  There’s also a natural hot springs that was turned into a pool, which a lot of people come to the campground for.
    We spent one day hiking down hot springs creek.  We spotted the occasional pronghorn (not an antelope, as the refuge is incorrectly named).  And in almost ever stand of aspens along the creek, there were a pair of Great Horned Owls.  We also drove around the refuge.  The jeep-roads as marked on the map are true jeep roads – bumpy and rocky at some points.  Along the drive we saw a large herd of pronghorn with at least 20 individuals.  We also flushed two Sage Grouse while driving along.

 Crater Lake National Park, OR

            We decided to spend one night at Crater Lake, to see its geological novelty.  We were impressed by its beauty and splendor, though it was a little tough seeing the “drive-by naturing” (people who drive by look out and drive away).  We arrived at the park in the evening, so we didn’t have a lot of time to walk around.  We walked on the rim trail a bit before tucking in at the tent campground (Lost Creek).

Redwoods National and State Parks, CA

    We decided last minute to spend two nights at the Redwoods.  We didn’t really know what to expect, but we heard great things about the place and were wonderfully delighted when we arrived.  We stopped at the Crescent City ranger station to get information and settle on a place to camp.  Golden Bluff Beach looked interesting to us – with beach access and hiking access to the redwood forests.  The fog was thick near the coast – as I learned it was prefect climate for the redwoods – so much for scanning out into the ocean for seabirds. 
    We hiked through Fern Canyon – appropriately named.  There were maidenhair ferns covering every inch of the walls of the canyon.  It was a beautiful and enchanting place.  We continued our hike up through the forest as it turned from massive Douglas fir and Sitka spruce to predominately redwoods.   The sizes of the trees are impressive and taking a picture just does not seem to capture the enormity and grandeur.  We did a loop through the redwoods.  One section of the forest went through appeared to have been clear-cut a while ago and did not recover from it.  The trees were small and closely packed together.  There was virtually no undergrowth.  It gave me the creeps and I was glad to leave that section.
    Having only seen a small portion of the Redwoods, I think it would be a great place to further explore as it offers many more trails than the ones we traveled on.  Around the time we went on this trip, a couple of researchers recently found and confirmed the world’s largest tree at the park.

Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Bandon, OR

    On our way back home, we drove along hwy-101 up the Oregon coast.  We made several brief stops along the way, but I was most impressed by Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.  The refuge protects the mudflats, estuary, and saltwater marsh where the Coquille River meets the ocean.  Shortly after arriving at the platform off of Riverside Drive and just peering into my scope at the shorebirds on the mudflats, all the shorebirds took to the air.  I heard something call above me, as I looked up I saw a Merlin with a full crop fly away from a White-tailed Kite that continued on to glide over the mudflats.  Within two minutes, I was already impressed by the birdlife.  Unfortunately the shorebirds landed farther away, but slowly they settled on a closer mudflat where I could better observe them, only to be flushed again by a peregrine falcon.  After a while, I did finally get some good views at the mix of shorebirds.  This was an impressive place, especially if someone had more time to spend there than I did.



Golden-mantled Squirrel at Malheur NWR
Gopher Snake at Malheur NWR
Mule deer buck at Malheur NWR
Malheur NWR
Turkey Vultures and lookout tower at Malheur NWR
Benson Pond at Malheur NWR
Buena vista lookout at Malheur NWR
Great Horned Owl at the Malheur NWR headquarters
The sign at the less used entrance of Hart Mt.
Sage Grouse, Hart Mountain
Mule Deer, Hart Mt
Quaking aspen groove, Hart Mt
Warner Peak, Hart Mt
The small stand of Ponderosa Pine at Hart Mt
Pronghorn, Hart Mt
Red Crossbill female, Crater Lake
California Tortoiseshell, Crater Lake
Crater Lake
Heerman's Gull, Golden Bluff Beach, Redwoods Nat & St Park
There were many dead seabirds along the 2 miles of beach we walked in Redwood Nat & St Parks - I counted at least 20, most were murres, but there were also cormorants.
There was a big seabird die off in the summer - said to be caused by the lack of food for young seabirds.
This common murre was the freshest bird we saw.
Fern Canyon, Redwood Nat & St Parks
Young trout (rainbow?), Fern Canyon, Redwood Nat & St Parks
big fungus
more Redwoods
more fungus
Bandon Marsh NWR, OR

Bird List

Common Loon - R
Pacific Loon - R
Red-throated Loon - R
Western Grebe - M, R
Clark's Grebe - M
Eared Grebe - M
Horned Grebe - R
Red-necked Grebe - R
Pied-billed Grebe - M
American White Pelican - M
Brown Pelican - R
Double-crested Cormorant - R, B
Pelagic Cormorant - R, B
Great Blue Heron - M, R, B
Black-crowned Night Heron - M
White-faced Ibis - M
Great Egret - M, B
Sandhill Crane - M
Canada Goose - M, B
Greater White-fronted Goose - C, R
Northern Pintail - M
Northern Shoveler - M
Mallard - M, B
Green-winged Teal - M, B
Gadwall - M
Canvasback - M
Ruddy Duck - M
American Wigeon - M, R, B
Lesser Scaup - M
Surf Scoter - R
White-winged Scoter - R
Prairie Falcon - M
Peregrine Falcon - B
Merlin - B
American Kestrel - M, H
Golden Eagle - M, H
Northern Harrier - M, H, B
Red-tailed Hawk - M, H, C
Cooper's Hawk - M, R
Sharp-shinned Hawk - H
White-tailed Kite - B
Osprey - M
Turkey Vulture - M, H
Sage Grouse - H
California Quail - M, H, R
Ring-necked Pheasant - M
American Coot - M
American Avocet - M
Killdeer - M, B
Pacific Golden Plover - B
Black Turnstone - B
Long-billed Dowitcher - B
Greater Yellowlegs - B
Lesser Yellowlegs - M
Willet - R
Wilson's Snipe - M, R
Western Sandpiper - M, B
Dunlin - B
Virginia Rail - M, R
Ring-billed Gull - M, R
California Gull - C
Western Gull - R, B
Mew Gull - B
Heerman's Gull - R
Caspian Tern - R
Common Murre - R
Marbled Murrelet - R
Pigeon Guillemot - R
Morning Dove - M
Great Horned Owl - M, H
Northern Saw-whet Owl - M
Common Nighthawk - M
Belted Kingfisher - M, R
Northern Flicker (red-shafted) - M, C, R, B
Downy Woodpecker - M, H
Hairy Woodpecker - M, H, R
Red-naped Sapsucker - M
Say's Phoebe - M
Empidonax sp. - H
Loggerhead Shrike - M
Cassin's Vireo - H
Common Raven - M, H, C, R
American Crow - M, B
Black-billed Magpie - M, H
Western Scrub-Jay - H
Steller's Jay - H, R, B
Gray Jay - C, R
Clark's Nutcracker - C
Cliff Swallow - M
Barn Swallow - M
Violet-green Swallow - M
Black-capped Chickadee - B
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - R
Mountain Chickadee - H, C
Red-breasted Nuthatch - H, C
Canyon Wren - M
Marsh Wren - M, R
Winter Wren - R
Golden-crowned Kinglet - M, H, C, R
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - M, H, C, R
Townsend's Solitaire - M, H
Mountain Bluebird - roadside near M
American Robin - M, H, C, R
Varied Thrush - M, R
Swainson's Thrush - H
Sage Thrasher - M, H
American Pipit - M
Cedar Waxwing - M, C, R
European Starling - M, H
Common Yellowthroat - M
Wilson's Warbler - M, H
Townsend's Warbler - H
Orange-crowned Warbler - M
Yellow-rumped Warbler - M, C
White-crowned Sparrow - M, H, C, R
Golden-crowned Sparrow - H
Song Sparrow - M, H, R, B
Fox Sparrow - M, C
Dark-eyed Junco - M, C
Spotted Towhee - M, H
Western Meadowlark - M, H, R
Brewer's Blackbird - M
Red-winged Blackbird - M
House Finch - M, H
American Goldfinch - M, H
Red Crossbill - C, R

M = Malheur NWR & Page Springs Campground, OR
H = Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, OR
C = Crater Lake National Park, OR
R = Redwood Nat & St Parks, CA
B = Bandon NWR, OR

Other Critter List

Coyote - M, H
Bobcat - M
Elk - R
Mule Deer - M, H
Pronghorn - M, H
Black-tailed Jackrabbit - H
Mountain Cottontail - M, H
Long-tailed Weasel - M
Short-tailed Weasel - M
Hoary Marmot - R
Muskrat - M
Pika - R
Golden-mantled Squirrel - M
Douglas Squirrel - C, R
Least Chipmunk - M, H
Yellow-pine Chipmunk - H, C
American Shrew-mole (dead) - R
Trowbridge Mole (dead) - R
Mouse sp. - H
Bat sp. - H
Harbor Seal - B, R
Terrestrial Garter Snake - M
Western Fence Lizard - M
Gopher Snake - M
Racer - M
Pacific Tree Frog - M, R
Red-legged Frog - R
Rainbow Trout - M
Bulltrout juvenile (?) - H, R
California Tortoiseshell - C



Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Hart Mountain NWR
Crater Lake National Park, also old website and map 
Redwoods Nat & St Parks, also old website and map (pdf)
Bandon Marsh NWR and map (pdf)


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Email: Birder AT NWBirding.com
page updated: 3/18/08