[birding] Grouse and quail season in the Western Cascades & Calliope non-results

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Thu Jul 16 18:31:32 PDT 2015

Hi all,

No, not a warning about hunting season since that is still some months
off. Just a reminder that now is one of the best times to see SOOTY
GROUSE, RUFFED GROUSE, and MOUNTAIN QUAIL since hens are out with
half-grown chicks, often feeding right alongside of logging roads. 

The best strategy is to be focused on something else (for example,
driving to a firewood-cutting, berry-picking, fishing or camping site)
but just go slowly and keep your eyes open for anything moving on the
edges of the road ahead of you, so you can stop and then just watch
through the windshield.

Becky, Martha (16) and I drove up to the Quartzville Creek/Yellowstone
area in Linn County today for what turned out to be a disappointing
berry-picking expedition, compared with recent years. Well, we weren't
surprised considering the dry conditions. Salmonberries, thimbleberries,
woodland trailing blackberries and several species of huckleberry are
all ripe now, but not plentiful. There could be some hungry bears in the
Cascades this fall.

We did run across two different SOOTY GROUSE hens with half-grown
chicks, one or two RUFFED GROUSE hens also with half-grown chicks (seen
in both directions along our route, not very far apart so possibly the
same birds seen twice), and one large brood of about 15 still-tiny
MOUNTAIN QUAIL chicks with stripy tan & brown heads and tiny little

Martha and I managed to get some photos of the grouse chicks which I'll
post to the Mid-valley Nature list later on, along with some non-bird
photos & notes. The Mountain Quail chicks scampered off the road too
fast for us to get a photo.

We didn't take time to go by the Yellowstone area campground that
produced a second-hand report of CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRDS coming to a
feeder in late June. I kept my eyes open for hummingbirds during the day
but there are remarkably few wildflowers still blooming even at 3500 ft
elevation (rhododendrons are just about done, just a few lupines,
penstemons etc. here & there). I had one small hummingbird fly by but it
could well have been a Rufous Hummingbird.

We looked for but did not see any HARLEQUIN DUCKS. There were quite a
few campers along the free-flowing stretch of Quartzville Creek above
Green Peter Reservoir, many of them out fishing plus one 12- or
13-yr-old kid just hitting the water with a long stick (something that
12/13-yr-old kids seem to enjoy doing), so maybe a little too much human
activity in the area for Harlequins to be hanging out.

We did see a family group of AMERICAN DIPPERS foraging on Quartzville
Creek at the Dogwood Day-Use Area. The youngsters were foraging
independently but were still recognizable by their gray plumage and
slightly less graceful foraging techniques.

Happy birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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