Mark Smith Nature Tours
Natural History   •   Birdwatching   •   Flora   •   Wildlife   •   Travel Photography

Oregon Birds, Wildlife, and Landscapes

Led by Mark Smith

May 24 - 31, 2019


Malheur Basin, Oregon - Mark Smith Nature Tours

Malheur Basin / Steens Mountain

The scenic beauty of Oregon is well known, yet the image of towering coniferous forests, rocky coastline and placid mountain lakes provides an incomplete picture of the state's diversity. Less than half of the state is forested. Most of the eastern part is covered by sagebrush, grasslands and scattered junipers. This birdwatching trip bisects Oregon from west to east and explores coast, mountains and desert.

We begin our tour by visiting some of Oregon's extensive estuaries which provide habitat for tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds and waterfowl each spring and fall. We should see some late-migrating shorebirds, and from headlands along the coast, Black Oystercatcher, murres, guillemots, cormorants, Marbled Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, and likely Tufted Puffin. Crossing the Coast Range and Cascade Mountains, we stop in coniferous forests at various altitudes to search for western warblers, flycatchers, vireos and woodpeckers.

Next we visit the Great Basin, in southeastern Oregon a vast high desert covering much of the West's interior. Within the Great Basin are many small mountain ranges with associated shallow lakes. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, encompassing marshy Malheur Lake, is one of the finest waterbird refuges in the United States. Many western birds reach the northwest limit of their range at Malheur. We spend three days at the refuge and around the neighboring Steens Mountain, a majestic tilted fault block. Our final day we return to Portland via 11,200 foot Mt. Hood, where we visit historic Timberline Lodge. See the itinerary for details of regional species highlights.

Approximately 200 bird species may be seen in a wide variety of habitats. See the accompanying bird list for possibilities. Avian behavior and natural history will be discussed as well as identification by sight and songs. In addition to ornithology, Mark Smith is knowledgeable about the regional botany, wildlife and geology. Join us for exciting western birdwatching and an excellent introduction to Oregon. The accompanying bird list from a previous year gives a good idea of the species likely to be seen.

View Itinerary

May 24 - 31, 2019

COST: $1995

LEADERS: Mark Smith and local naturalists


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