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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Oregon in Late Summer

Late summer is a fine time to visit Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge in the heart of the Willamette Valley. First of all, there are the wild blackberries in abundance. But then it’s a good time for shorebird migration, here a scarce Semipalmated Sandpiper. The world’s most colorful swallow, the Violet-green Swallow, is also a common breeder of towns and in the country. This tour could see tremendous woodpecker diversity, but only here in the Willamette will we see Acorn Woodpecker. We’ll spend a day in the Coast Range where we’ll look for Pacific Wren… …and the often very elusive Mountain Quail. We’ll then work our way to the famously picturesque Oregon Coast. For those taking part in the pre-tour pelagic trip, we’ll start in the Newport Harbor. We’ll be up to 20 miles from shore, scanning the horizon for any movement. We might be lucky and see an early Buller’s Shearwater.  (bs) Back on the mainland we’ll look for birds on the beaches… …where Western Sandpiper is the commonest migrant sandpiper… Heceta Head is one of Oregon’s most attractive lighthouses. We’ll look at rocky shores for birds that prefer this habitat… …such as Black Oystercatcher. We’ll then work our way eastward over the lush, western slope of the Cascades Mountains. Western Tanager is a common breeder here. Once on the dry side, we’ll look back at the Three Sisters and we’ll plunge deeper into eastern Oregon. We’ll have to find a good stand of tall sagebrush to find Sage Sparrow… …but we’ll likely come across our first Mountain Bluebirds on almost any roadside fence. Our visit to the Great Basin will begin at Summer Lake State Wildlife Management Area. If the water levels are right, the numbers of Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes and other shorebirds can be staggeringly high. We’ll finally arrive at the verdant Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Here, Long-billed Curlew breeds in fields. And Sora can sometimes be seen sneaking along the margins of the cattail marshes. We’ll have opportunities to explore mountain wildflower meadows… …where Lewis’s Monkeyflower might still be blooming… …and spectacular views are everywhere. We’ll bird rich coniferous woodlands where late summer Fireweed should be in bloom. The taller Ponderosa Pines are habitat for White-headed Woodpecker… …while the mountain meadows have breeding Sandhill Cranes. Nearly every day will feature a picnic lunch in a lovely setting… …and we might be distracted by late summer butterflies like the Anise Swallowtail… …or mammals such as Yellow Pine Chipmunk. On our way back to Portland we’ll stop by the Painted Hills sector of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Our farewell dinner will be in sight of Multnomah Waterfalls…. …below which we often find American Dipper. A farewell view of the Columbia River gorge, Washington on the left, Oregon on the right, just a few miles from our final night’s hotel.