Returning west from Malheur earlier this week, we stopped for lunch overlooking Buck Creek, west of metro Silver Lake. I have seen Clark’s Nutcrackers before in that area of arid ponderosa/juniper forest. This time one flew out of the creekside aspen into a dead snag, in bright sunlight. His scream alerted us to his presence. Besides his big voice, unique accent, snazzy exterior and large beak this bird is altogether striking. Yet he is high on the list of species that ornithologists expect to suffer from climate change. The nutcracker–sweet to view–will sour on forests that don’t retain a lot of his favorite pines and other conifers and he is mostly found in areas already arid. Those places could easily tip over into non-forested desert. This is not a bird we could expect to survive in sagebrush or saguaro.
Also at Buck Creek: Away from the creek, in the dry brush: many White-crowned Sparrows.
Buck Creek Wildlife Area, Lake, Oregon, US
Sep 20, 2016 12:15 PM – 12:50 PM. 6 species
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) X
Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) 2
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 1
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 40, Yellow-rumped Warbler
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) X