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NVBIRDS  August 2002

NVBIRDS August 2002

Subject:

Birding the YP and Owyhee Deserts 08/05and06/02

From:

Jack Walters <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jack Walters <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 9 Aug 2002 13:52:12 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (186 lines)

Hi birders  more on the trip to the Owyhee and YP deserts in Northern
Neveda.?

    Time: 11:30 am   Twin Springs on the Little Owyhee River
1. Cliff Swallows   4      There are mud nest on the cliff face above the
old corral.
2. Sage Thrasher   8
3. Lark Sparrow     5
The habitat is Coyote Willow and Yellow Willow along the river upon the
table nothing but
sagebrush and rabbitbrush. Remember the Little Owyhee comes out of the Santa
Rosa Range.
Time: 12:30 am     At the "T" where the road comes from Paradise Valley and
goes to
McDermitt. I head for McDermitt to top off the tank I like to keep the tank
full when out in the
wilds. It takes three hours to get to McDermitt through Devils Gap on the
river, no stops through
the gap, just took in the beautiful caprock canyon sides above the river.
Time: 4:45 pm on the way back to the desert through Devils Gap along the
East Fork of the
Quinn River. Lots of willows in the canyon and a few aspen above the river
in the canyons
coming down.
Birds:
1. Bullocks Oriole 2
2. Mourning Dove 25+
3. Sage Thrasher 22
4. Brewer's Sparrow 12
5. Lesser Goldfinch 4
6. American Goldfinch 2
7. Lazuli Bunting 4
8. Cliff Swallow 30+
9. Prairie Falcon   1
10. Cooper's Hawk 2
11. Red-tail Hawk 2
12. Bushtit    16
13. Vesper Sparrow 18
14. California Quail 50+
15. Gray Flycatcher 2
Time :   5:00 pm      On the road to the Idaho Border and stops along the
way.
1. Sage Thrasher 16
2. Vesper Sparrow 8      These guys are darker than the ones down at scraper
springs
3. Sage Sparrow 6
4. Lark Sparrow 2
5. Loggerhead shrike   12
6. Horned Lark   2
7. Brewer's Sparrow    2    Most of this species have already left the
table.
The habitat is mostly rabbitbrush and Wyoming Sagebrush and some stands of
Shadscale are
starting to show up.
Time: 6:30 pm    It looks like that there is no place to cross the Owyhee
River at this point so I
head south to Cathart which is three to four miles south out in the desert.
the road is round lava
rock in alkali dirt much moon dust. Most of the roads here in the desert are
two to five miles an
hour, bouncy, bouncy, shake, shake type and the dust is choking at all
stops.
Time: 7:30 pm
birds at Cathart.
1. Common Nighthawks 2
2. Loggerhead Shrike 3
3. Sage Thrasher 4
  There is an old lava stone building on Willow Creek where Calico meets it
a few hundred yards
west. The creek is dry with Coyote and Yellow Willows growing on its banks.
The building has
been abandoned and it looks to be quite old. It has two doors a window, a
used to be fireplace
and it is built ratangular shape( 20' X40') with two foot thick lava stone
walls that come to a
peak without the roof  The ghost of maybe eighty years ago probably will be
here in about an
hour for the sun is sitting in the west. Not a place for me to spend the
night. As I was leaving
three Antelope race ahead of me and cross the road then head west. I stop to
watch them and
check to see if birds are in the sagebrush. I had been seeing many Sage
Sparrows as I drove
along at five miles an hour, so I stopped right at sundown to observe them
closer. These Sage
Sparrows are much darker than the ones in Carson City and they are larger.
They seem to be the
dominate sparrow species here on the table now, because most of the Brewer's
have left on their
trip south. The Sage Sparrow stays the year round in our deserts, but some
do travel south for the
winter.
   I hit the pipeline road and head northeast to Devils Corral on the lip of
the table above the S.F.
of the Owyhee River. I have stated before that the lip was spooky so I
stayed the night back a
ways in the desert. I am not afraid of man or beast, but I have a fear of
dark places.

I am close to the limit on lines so tomorrow's part of the trip will be on
another message.

Time: 5:30 am Devils Corral on the lip of the table above the river.
Comments: it was an awesome sight as the sun showed red through the
quilt-patch clouds in the
east. I look down to see the blue running river that is cut into more lava,
but there is a bench on
the sides with a road so I head down the steep switch backs just east of the
pipe line road that
dead-ends at the lip. I see where they buried the line in the sides of the
steep cliff and under the
river. On the other side of the river the pipeline heads east across the
bottom pan(bench) above
the river to the YP Desert rim, which is about two miles in the distance. I
navigate the steep
switchbacks with ease and drive out on the bench above the river rapids. I
run into 50 to 60
Chukar on the bench and a band of wild horses are leaving a cloud of dust as
the climb up
through the steep cliffs at an accessible place in the cap about a half a
mile west of me. The
horses are in good shape and among the eighteen horse there are duns,
sorrels, blues, roans,
blazes,' bays, whites and a big black stallion.
Birds:
1. Sage Thrasher 8
2. Rock Wren 12
3. Chukar 60
4. Loggerhead Shrike 8
5. Mallard down on the water
Time: 7:30 am    Back up on the rim, I cook breakfast and leave for Desert
Creek Ranch. I pass
the remnants of Devils Corral which is a hundred yards south of the pipeline
road on the way to
Desert Creek Ranch. I stop at random places along the way. I see Star Valley
Cabin in the
distance in the scope but it looks abandoned like everyplace up here in the
desert. And I stop and
talk to the  USFWS guys and tell them about how to best get to McDermitt
Birds:
1. Horned larks 60
2. Sage Sparrow   35
3. Sage Thrasher 20
4. Lark Sparrow 15
5. Western Meadowlark 60
6. Brewer's Sparrow 6
Time: 10:00 am    Desert Creek ranch on Four-mile Creek, which dumps into
the S.F. Owyhee
River. Nobody lives here but there was some hay cutting in the fields
recently. There are a
number of old, old buildings but no windows in most.
Birds:
1. Western Meadowlark   200+
2. Loggerhead Shrike   30 +
3. Chukar 70+
4. Western Kingbird 4
the reservoir:
5. American Kestrel
6. Canada Goose 20+
7. Gadwall   7
8. Great Blue Heron 2
Time: 11:05 am   Fourmile Butte on Fourmile Creek
1. Vesper Sparrow 23
2. Horned lark 20+
3. Killdeer 1
4. Wilson's Phalarope 1
5. Gadwall 4
6. Green-winged Teal 1
7. Loggerhead shrike 8
 I hit the east-west road on the south end of the table and headed east. I
crossed the river at the IL
Ranch, a working cattle operation and they are loading wild horses on to big
semitruck rigs. All
this land is private on the river at this point so I head to the road on the
west flank of the Bull
Run Mountains. All of the land along Bull Run Creek is privately owned by
the giant Petan
Ranch, even the roads along the creek are privately owned. I passed up
Wilson Creek Reservoir
because I have been there a number of times and knew that I couldn't cross
the Creek at that
point.
 I have reached the point where I will have to put the rest of the trip on
another message.
Jack Walters

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