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Today (5/10/14) I went out to Wasco County to bird the White Oak-Ponderosa Pine Belt on the far east side of Mt Hood , OR. I decided to go to the School Canyon Trail in the Badger Creek Wilderness. It is Trail 468 on the Mt Hood system. The trail head is 104 mi. from my SW Portland home. I went Hwy 26 to FR (Forest Road) 43 , the left turn is just past Mi 68 on Hwy 26. Then I cut over to FR 48, turned right and went out to Rock Ck Reservoir. From there go on FR 4810 (paved) for 2.1 miles, turn right on FR 4811 (paved) go for 1.2 miles. Go right on FR 2710 (gravel) for 8.8 miles, turn left on FR 27 (paved), go 2.1 miles to trailhead on left. Some sections of FR 2710 would probably be best traversed in a car with good ground clearance. Mt Hood was a winter wonderland with all the snow from the weather system today, but by the time I got to the trail, it was just overcast. The sun soon came out and all the birds, like this Yellow-rumped Warbler, were all out singing.


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Hmm, this looked much better when I took the picture. But I saw 12 Lewis's Woodpeckers along the first part of the trail. The trail starts out in a White Oak area , there are some pine snags mixed in. The woodpeckers were paired up and were making a racket early in the morning. Lewis's Woodpeckers have lost much of their former territory in Oregon. One of their last strongholds is this area of Mt Hood. On the way back down the trail in the late afternoon I found just one pair. Not sure if the rest were there or had moved on.


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Warblers are hard to find in the pines and firs. You need to pish them out or have some luck seeing them. I heard many Hermit Warbler singing in the upper reaches of the trail. I also heard some Black-throated Gray and Townsend's Warblers. At least I think I did, the more I think I know their songs the more I realize I do not. Black-throated Gray are somewhat different, but the others are tough. I tracked this Hermit Warbler down and was able to study its song a bit.


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Here is a view of Pine Hollow Reservoir from a spot on the trail.


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Western Bluebirds were in the area, I expected to see some Mountain Bluebirds, but no. Some of the more numerous birds were Red-breasted Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees. In the mix were Chestnut-backed Chickadees in the higher elevations. I wanted to find a White-headed Woodpecker but failed.


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I enjoy birding in beautiful areas, this trail certainly meets that requirement. There are rattlesnakes in these oak woods. I kept Huck on his leash just to be safe. I let him run once we got up in elevation. I think the day may have been a bit cool for the snakes to be out, but I watched where I stepped!


I hope this helps in learning more about the areas around the east side of Mt Hood. It is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors and to explore for its birdlife.

Bird List

School Canyon Trail

May 10, 2014

Common Name Scientfic Name Count Action
Sooty Grouse Dendragapus fuliginosus 2 ---
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 1 ---
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1 ---
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi 2 ---
Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri 1 ---
Lewis's Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis 12 ---
Williamson's Sapsucker Sphyrapicus thyroideus 2 ---
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus 6 ---
Black-backed Woodpecker Picoides arcticus 1 ---
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 2 ---
Gray Flycatcher Empidonax wrightii 3 ---
Dusky Flycatcher Empidonax oberholseri 1 ---
Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri 3 ---
Common Raven Corvus corax 1 ---
Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli 23 ---
Chestnut-backed Chickadee Poecile rufescens 15 ---
Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis 28 ---
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 3 ---
Brown Creeper Certhia americana 12 ---
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 17 ---
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa 9 ---
Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana 4 ---
Townsend's Solitaire Myadestes townsendi 4 ---
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus 3 ---
American Robin Turdus migratorius 3 ---
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata 35 ---
Black-throated Gray Warbler Setophaga nigrescens 5 ---
Townsend's Warbler Setophaga townsendi 4 ---
Hermit Warbler Setophaga occidentalis 12 ---
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina 17 ---
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis 16 ---
Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus 5 ---
Cassin's Finch Haemorhous cassinii 15 ---
Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra 6 ---

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