Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sept 8 (Day 251) - Sapsucker strike out

Well, damn. If you had told me I would find Mountain quail relatively easily and really struggle with Red-breasted sapsucker, I would have said you were crazy. However, this is exactly what happened today. I spent the entire day hitting what are normally relatively solid spots for the sapsucker without a hint of its presence. I spent 4 hours in the morning and an additional 2.5 hours in the late afternoon at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. I did find some nice birds as I hiked all over this very nice preserve (more so than an actual manicured arboretum). I found 4 woodpecker species (Downy, Hairy, Pileated, Flicker), western warblers (Wilson's, Black-throated gray, Townsend's), Scrub jay, Wrentit, Bewick's wren, Lincoln's sparrow, California quail, Bushtit, Western tanager, and so on and so forth. The weather was pristine today with few clouds temperatures in the low 80s.

A mellow 40 miles around Eugene today

Mt Pisgah scenery

Mt Pisgah scenery, take 2

In the middle part of the day I met up with Eugene birder Vjera Thompson for lunch. She dragged Massachusetts native, coworker, and birder Andy Northrup along as well. The three of us had a very nice lunch discussing birding, the disaster that is the 2014 Red Sox, and a myriad of other topics. This was the perfect break from sapsucker hunting. At Vjera's suggestion, after lunch I also rode the Doris Ranch bike path where she has seen sapsuckers previously. While I did not find any sapsuckers, I did fall asleep on a shaded picnic table next to the Willamette river for an hour. It was a much needed nap. Afterwards, I returned to the arboretum for my afternoon round of birding before heading home via Super Burrito. Lots of good food for not much money = perfect!

Me looking creepy, Vjera, Andy

Killing it at Super Burrito for the second night in a row.
Good thing I am spending all my time outside!

Late in the afternoon I received word of a Pacific golden-plover at Fern Ridge Reservoir. It was too late to head out there today, but, as this shorebird hot spot is on my way to the coast tomorrow, I will make a birding stop here on my way west. There was actually a Ruff there today as well. Although I already have this bird for the year, it would be great to see another one if it sticks around until tomorrow. Fingers crossed the plover sticks around as well! It was a juvenile which should help with identification. 

Lastly, here is a leftover shot from Haystack Rock that I forgot I had taken. I love the sinusoid of sea foam.


  1. Hey Dorian! No stress on Red-breasted Sapsucker, you should run into one of these by accident in the next 6 weeks. And if not, you can twitch one in SoCal. By then they'll be on winter territories, more reliably seen. Good birding, Dave

    1. Have to agree with Dave: had one of these unsought, ergo with no difficulty, on a trip to LA last December, when in Hahamongna Watershed Park in Pasadena. You'll know best, also what effort required on bicycle... But e-Bird confirms their wide availability then. Best wishes for your good success to the very end of the year! -- Nick