A weekend in the Wallowas

Male Spuce Grouse

The generous Khanh Tran took me out on a weekend trip to the Wallowas and back. Thanks to his knowledge and skills we found almost all of our targets. Here are our findings.We started at “o dark 30” on Saturday morning at McCully Ck where we had one skittish young male SPRUCE GROUSE about 0.4mi into the trail. Other singers include Dusky, Hammond’s and Olive-sided Flycatcher, a pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers near the parking lot and Red Crossbill.

Proceeding toward Imnaha, there were 2 Red-eyed Vireos, a Veery and at least one Yellow-breasted Chat in the long riparian corridor along the creek. I didn’t jot down the mile markers, sorry. Up near Hat Point, a probable Northern Goshawk was circling overhead. Both Bluebirds were in the burn near the top.

Late afternoon along Golf Course Rd north of Enterprise we had a pair of agitated Long-billed Curlews, 3 Grasshopper Sparrows (one still singing) and a Brewer’s Sparrow. Khanh also spotted a Badger in this area.

We finished the day near MP39 along CR3 north of Enterprise were a GREAT GREAT OWL flew in to briefly perch on a fence post. We suspect there might be a nest site close by. In the ponds just south, we had several Wilson’s Phalarope, a drake Blue-winged Teal and at least 2 pairs of Eared Grebes.

On Sunday we attempted to refind both the Spruce Grouse and the Great Gray Owl early in the morning but couldn’t. On the way back we drove up to Moss Spring CG, but failed to find Three-toed Woodpecker there. Khanh did dig up a dead Northern Goshawk however.

We arrived at Rhinehart Bridge at around 11am and it was still superbirdy. A gazillion of Gray Catbirds were mewing and flitting around. A few Yellow-breasted Chats, Black-headed Grosbeaks and a Canyon Wren were also around.

From there we headed to Bird Track Springs near Hilgard where we were stalled by a storm passing through. The only birds of note was a White-headed Woodpecker and a Caliope Hummingbird. At Red Bridge we had 2 Veerys’s singing.

Our final stop before heading home was Spring Creek Rd late afternoon. We couldn’t find any Great Gray Owls, but had 2 Black-backed Woodpeckers in the old burn area off NF2155. Red Crossbill, Common Nighthawk and Evening Grosbeak were also present at this site.