The gang and I decided to take a trip over the 9-30-2016 weekend into Oregon with Bend being our goal. We camped at Tumalo State Park, which was very nice and under the conifers. The birding at the campsite was pretty good with the first being a Townsend's Solitaire and over the 2 days we were there I recorded 33 species. More on the birds of Bend later.
One of my target birds was the Gray Jay, now the Canadian National bird. We were going to go to an Art Festival in Bend but it started at 11am on Saturday so we decided to head out early to our next campsite in Lava Beds National Monument instead. We took the western route through Crater Lake National Park and when we got to the entrance the attendant gave us an out stating that the lake was fogged in. I said it was alright because we were looking for a Gray Jay. Sure enough it was foggy, cold, and snowing on the rim. This system would follows us all the way home. There wasn't much activity in the park until we turned into Mazama Campground and even before we stopped we saw 3 Gray Jays. I quickly parked and grabbed my camera. Since it was foggy the light was low but that also meant no harsh shadows to deal with. I did have my 300mm f/2.8 lens on my D7200 so I did have room to get a good exposure. I have my max ISO set to 640 because I have found that is my noise limit for the D7200 and it was approaching that with an ISO500. I was able to push up the shutter speed to 1/1000s, which was higher than the equivalent 1/750mm focal length and finally I wasn't full open using an f/3.5.
Back to Bend, we did 8 hikes over the 2 days were where there. A Townsend's Solitaire was heard or seen on each of the hikes and was the first or second bird to wake us in the mornings.
Bend has hiking all along the Deschutes River running over 19 miles with parks every few miles. At the Farwell Bend Park, we saw Common Mergansers and was treated to flyovers of a pair of Belted Kingfishers.
As we left Crater Lake, the temperature began to rise and it was very pleasant when we arrived at the Lava Beds and the Indian Well Campground. There were many Solitaires as well as Red Crossbills, Robins, and I heard an Oak Titmouse the next morning.
We headed home on October 2nd and as we were leaving it began to cool down and rain lightly. We head southeast towards Alturas to have breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. The food was very good and when we were leaving the restaurant the rain started and the temperature dropped 10F. As we got in front of the storm the temperature rose 10F and after we were home for about an hour the temperature dropped 10F and the rain started. In the morning there was snow in the mountains and a dusting a home. We recorded 76 species on this trip with one life bird: the Gary Jay.
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