Date: June 4, 2007, 3:05 am
From: tjanzen at (Tim Janzen)
Subject: [obol] A new Big Day record for Oregon
	On June 2, 2007 Dave Irons, Noah Strycker, John Sullivan, and I ran
a Big Day between Eugene and Summer Lake and found 219 species, which breaks
by 3 species the Oregon Big Day record of 216 species set May 11, 2002 by
Tom Love, David Mandell, Craig Roberts, and me on a route from Portland to
Summer Lake.  The 219 species total also breaks by 17 species the ABA North
American Big Day record for June, which was previously 202 species.  This
record was set in Manitoba.  Of interest is the fact that on our Big Day in
2002, Tom Love, David Mandell, Craig Roberts, and me found 28 species that
Dave Irons, Noah Stryker, John Sullivan, and I didn't find on June 2.
Eleven of these 28 species were shorebirds and seven were waterfowl.
	We met at Dave Irons' mother's house in Eugene on the evening of
June 1 where Dave called in a Western Screech-Owl on cue at precisely
midnight.  We then added Barred Owl, Barn Owl, Yellow-breasted Chat, Sora,
and Virginia Rail in the Eugene area before heading to an area west of
Monroe where we picked up a Northern Saw-whet Owl.
	We then headed to the coast where we began birding in the hills near
Yachats at about 5 AM.  We picked up the normal breeding birds in the area
including a Mountain Quail, a Red-breasted Sapsucker, and a Pileated
Woodpecker.  At 6:45 AM we began a seawatch in Yachats that was quite
productive and within about 25 minutes we were able to pick up all of the
expected pelagic species as well as 2 ANCIENT MURRELETS, which only Dave
Irons and John Sullivan were able to see.  Two Sooty Shearwaters, one Tufted
Puffin, about three Cassin's Auklets, one Red-necked Phalarope, and one
Heermann's Gull were also welcome additions to our day list that we saw
there.  We found several large flocks of Whimbrel on the beaches south of
Yachats, but otherwise migrant shorebirds were absent from the coast.  We
also found two Harlequin Ducks at Toketee-Klootchum Wayside.  We were able
to leave Florence with a respectable total of 107 species at about 8:45 AM.
	Near Veneta we picked up quite a few passerine species that we had
not found at the coast.  We also found our first Green Heron of three that
we eventually saw in the Eugene area.  Several female Hooded Mergansers with
broods of young were at the Veneta Sewage Ponds.  However, our searches for
Red-shouldered Hawk and Black Phoebe were fruitless.  We birded the area
around Fern Ridge Lake from the end of Royal Avenue and were able to find
many of the species of waterfowl that we needed to find including
Blue-winged Teal, but we missed Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal
	We then drove through Oakridge and up into the Cascades.  We stopped
several times for selected species such as Black Swift and Lincoln's
Sparrow, but we missed Blue Grouse.  We found a Black-backed Woodpecker near
Odell Butte and then made a decision on the spur of the minute not to go to
Davis Lake, which saved us quite a bit of time and didn't result in any loss
of species in the long run.  Thundershowers were occurring near Gilchrist as
we reached there which helped cool the temperatures in the area and helped
increase bird activity.  We found a large flock of Clark's Nutcrackers near
Gilchrist as well as several Northern Waterthrush and a Red-naped Sapsucker.
We then headed to Cabin Lake were picked up many of the pine forest
specialty birds such as White-headed Woodpecker, Lewis's Woodpecker, and
Cassin's Finch.  
	We made brief stops in the Fort Rock and Paulina Marsh areas before
heading to Summer Lake.  We heard several Pinyon Jays near Picture Rock Pass
and on Winter Ridge we found several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.  As we
approached Summer Lake the wind picked up significantly, making it more
difficult to bird.  We searched for the two Eurasian Collared-Doves that
have been hanging around the Summer Lake Refuge Headquarters in recent
weeks, but they were nowhere to be found.  We ran to Dutchy Lake were we
picked out quite a few Eared Grebes and several Canvasbacks among the many
waterfowl there, but didn't find anything else of note.  At this point light
was fading fast.  We stopped briefly at an overlook south of the Summer Lake
Refuge Headquarters in hopes of spotting a Great Egret or a White-faced
Ibis, but none were to be seen.  We quickly took the Summer Lake Tour Loop
and found a Northern Shoveler and a Snowy Plover in the Link Unit area.  Our
last bird before darkness fell were several Green-winged Teal that Dave
spotted at Schoolhouse Lake.  
	We had expected to find Great Horned Owls at the old barn near
Schoolhouse Lake where there has been a family group residing in recent
weeks, but when we arrived there we were quite surprised to find the barn
full of people having a dance or some other event.  Needless the say, the
Great Horned Owls were no where to be found in the area and since we felt
quite out of place, we left there as quickly as possible.
	After darkness had fallen John Sullivan announced that our species
tally stood at 214.  At this point we still had five species that we could
reasonably hope to get.  We drove up near Winter Ridge and were able to hear
a Common Poorwill calling in the distance.  Near Christmas Valley we spotted
a large bird on a telephone pole that we thought for sure was going to be a
Great Horned Owl, but on closer inspection the bird turned out to be a
Red-tailed Hawk, much to our disappointment.  Fortunately, shortly after
that we saw a second large bird on a telephone pole, which turned out to be
a Great Horned Owl!  We then drove to a location near Christmas Valley where
we saw a Burrowing Owl.  After that we went owling in the Fremont National
Forest south of Silver Lake where we readily found a Flammulated Owl.
Shortly thereafter, we drove to the Klamath Forest National Wildlife Refuge
where we arrived at 11:32 PM and quickly heard a number of Yellow Rails
calling, bringing us to 219 species for the day.  At this point we drove
back to Silver Lake hoping we would spot a Great Gray Owl or some other
species we had yet to find before the end of the day, but it was not to be.
	On June 3 we found three COMMON GOLDENEYES on Schoolhouse Lake which
we didn't see the previous evening.  This species is frequently seen at that
location in the winter, but is uncommon there in May and rare there in June.
	Weather conditions for our Big Day were somewhat hotter than would
have been optimal.  However, I am not sure that we would have found very
many more species if it had been cooler since we did very well on passerine
species in general.  Our only major miss was Great Egret, a species which I
had seen in reasonably good numbers in the Summer Lake area 4 days
previously and which we also found on June 3 along the Summer Lake Tour Loop
Road.  Among the other species we had at least some chance of finding but
didn't were Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Snowy Egret, Northern Pintail,
Blue Grouse, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk,
Eurasian Collared-Dove, Anna's Hummingbird, Black Phoebe, Gray Jay, Canyon
Wren, Townsend's Warbler, and many shorebird species, including Western
Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper.
	Dave Irons and I spent quite a bit of time scouting our Big Day
route over the last ten days.  John Sullivan had also done a Big Day in the
Summer Lake area by bike a week ago.  I believe that our combined scouting
efforts and our collective knowledge of this route were key ingredients for
our successful Big Day.  Many of the birds we found while scouting were on
territory and thus they were more readily able to be relocated during our
Big Day than might otherwise have been the case.
	This was the first Oregon Big Day I have ever done in June.  Our 219
species total suggests that June may be the optimal month to run Big Days in
Oregon rather than around mid-May, which is when I have done almost all of
my Big Days in previous years.  Having run a number of Big Day routes in
Oregon previously I have come to the conclusion that the Yachats to Summer
Lake route is the best Big Day route in Oregon and I think that a Big Day
total of over 220 species on this route is definitely possible at some point
in the future.

Tim Janzen

Below is a complete list of the 219 species that we found:

Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Sooty Shearwater
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Barrow's Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
California Quail
Mountain Quail
Yellow Rail
Virginia Rail
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Snowy Plover
Black Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Dowitcher
Common Snipe
Wilson's Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Bonaparte's Gull
Heermann's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Caspian Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Tern 
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Marbled Murrelet
Ancient Murrelet
Cassin's Auklet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Tufted Puffin
Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Flammulated Owl
Western Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Northern Pygmy-Owl
Burrowing Owl
Northern Spotted Owl
Barred Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Common Nighthawk
Common Poorwill
Black Swift
Vaux's Swift
White-throated Swift
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis's Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Williamson's Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
White-headed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Say's Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Cassin's Vireo
Hutton's Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub-Jay
Pinyon Jay
Clark's Nutcracker
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Rock Wren
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
American Dipper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Townsend's Solitaire
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Sage Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Hermit Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
MacGillivray's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Western Tanager
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
Purple Finch
Cassin's Finch
House Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Evening Grosbeak
House Sparrow