CENTRAL Zone Viewing
This summer, visitors and residents in Deschutes County have an opportunity to view some of the state’s most sought after woodpeckers. Look in recent burn areas for Lewis’s woodpecker, namesake of explorer Meriwether Lewis—a dark-winged bird with pink belly and red face. Shevlin Park near Bend also provides a good opportunity to view the species.
White-headed woodpeckers along with olive-sided flycatchers and several species of warblers are regularly seen at Cold Springs Campground, four miles west of Sisters on OR 242.
See photos and hear calls:
Lewis’s woodpecker, http://www.birds.cornell.edu/bfl/speciesaccts/lewwoo.html
White-headed woodpecker, http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/185/_/White-headed_Woodpecker.aspx
Watch Raptors Hunt
Young raptors are on the wing in Central Oregon. Look for red-tailed, Swainson’s and ferruginous hawks in agricultural areas—especially newly-cut alpha fields—and watch these fascinating birds hunt. Go to Fort Rock State Natural Area and Christmas Valley, about 70 and 90 miles southeast of Bend, respectively, to see the action. Agency Plains, north of Madras, is also a good viewing site
See Young Deer and Elk
Visitors to the White River Wildlife Area, about 35 miles south of The Dalles, may be able to see young deer and elk this time of year. Elk calves and blacktail deer fawns are now getting large enough that they are traveling with their mothers. Remember that if you do encounter any young wildlife, view them from a distance and do not get between a mother and her young. For directions, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlifearea/whiteriver.htm
Here are some other great places to visit.
Visit Pilot Butte Park in Bend to see large flocks of pinyon jays. The park is an old cinder cone that provides several hiking trails through stands of juniper and sage. Best viewing is in the juniper rangeland. The view from the top of the butte is worth the trip—a panorama of the high desert. More information about the park, http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_42.php
Hear the call of a pinyon jay and see a photo, http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/80/_/Pinyon_Jay.aspx
Note to visitors to the Prineville and Bend areas: Fire danger is increasing. Contact the Bureau of Land Management in Prineville (541) 416-6700, Ochoco National Forest (541) 416-6500 or Deschutes National Forest (541) 383-4000 for latest fire restrictions that could effect camping and access around Bend and Prineville.
The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Management area offers opportunities to see a wide variety of waterfowl, some shorebirds and raptors including bald and golden eagles and osprey.
Prineville Wildlife Biologist Brian Ferry suggests visitors to Central Oregon visit Rimrock Springs Wildlife Management Area, a wildlife oasis. Located along highway 26 between Prineville and Madras, the area has been developed to provide habitat for waterfowl, upland game birds, songbirds and raptors—look for golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and great horned owls. The rich insect life attracts bats, swallows and nighthawks.
There is a has a interpretive trail (with an ADA-approved portion) and two blinds where the public can view a variety of waterfowl, upland game birds, raptors, shorebirds and large and small mammals—often including mule deer, pronghorn (antelope), beaver, muskrat, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, round squirrels and chipmunks.
Attention campers, anglers, boaters: recent fires on the lower six miles of the Deschutes River have limited camping opportunities for the rest of the summer.
Viewing opportunities abound in and around The Dalles and the Gorge through late spring and summer. Outdoor enthusiasts can find a wide variety of species and habitats. Popular destinations include hiking through the Columbia River Gorge, where visitors can find a wide variety of song birds, mammals and raptors. To gain more diversity, plan your outings to incorporate more than one habitat type.
California bighorn sheep can be viewed almost year round on the lower 34 miles of the Deschutes River between Beavertail and Harris Canyon.
A lone male Rocky Mountain goat that took up residence along I-84 east of The Dalles is still in the area. It can generally be spotted south of the freeway between mile posts 90 and 93. “It’s probably just on a walk-about,” said the local biologist.
Rocky Mountain goats are native only to the rugged mountains of western North America. The presence of mountain goats in Oregon prior to European settlement is supported by archeological evidence in Hells Canyon. Rocky Mountain goats were apparently extirpated from Oregon prior to European settlement. Since that time ODFW staff has reintroduced the species into the Wallowa and Elkhorn Mountains where herds have been successfully established. It is estimated there are about 700 Rocky Mountain goats in Oregon―200 in the Elkhorn Mountains and 500 in Wallowa County, primarily in the Wallowa Mountains.