Oregon Songbirds Photo Tour
Trip Dates: June 22-26, 2017
From: Bend, Oregon
Leaders: Matthew Studebaker
Target Group Size: 4 photographers
In the high desert of Oregon, Ponderosa pine forests give way to sagebrush flats and rocky buttes. A special mix of songbirds inhabit the region including Red Crossbill, Pinyon Jay, Western Tanager, and White-headed Woodpecker. We will spend time on the back forest roads to access a verity of habitats as well as visit water features which attract birds during the dry months of summer.
Travel considerations: Fly to Portland, OR
Equipment: I recommend bringing a digital SLR with matching lens. On this workshop, the longer your lens the easier it will be to make outstanding photos. Although sometimes the birds come close enough for something as short as a 400mm, most of the time they feel more comfortable when photographers use something in the 500-800mm range.
Likely Species on the trip. Species in bold will be the easiest/most common -
- American Avocet
- Black-necked Stilt
- Wilson's Phalarope
- American Kestrel
- Anna's Hummingbird
- White-headed Woodpecker
- Lewis' Woodpecker
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Mountain Chickadee
- Pygmy Nuthatch
- Rock Wren
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Moutain Bluebird
- Western Bluebird
- Townsend's Solitaire
- Pinion Jay
- Clark's Nutcracker
- Western Tanager
- Sage Thrasher
- Green-tailed Towhee
- Brewer's Sparrow
- Sage Sparrow
- Red Crossbill
- Cassin's Finch
What to pack
· Boots: Hiking boots and comfortable socks.
· Jacket: You will want a coat for early mornings. When we are in the desert, temperatures will often soar into the upper 90's in the afternoon, so wear layers and be prepared for a variety of temperatures.
· Bag Blind. No need to bring your own. Blinds will be provided for you.
· Camera Gear. Bring your longest lens, a landscape lens, and if you have room something in the 200 – 400mm range as well. Some owls have allowed a very close approach recently. Also the owls are roosting in a beautiful area with mountains in the background. We may be able to get some wider shots showing the beautiful scenery when possible. Bring a tripod and a remote trigger for your camera if you have one.
Cell Phones and Internet: The hotels all have wifi. We should also have phone reception 90% of the time in the field (at least for Verizon users).
Weather and Schedule:
Most days it will be common to wake up with temperatures in the lower 50's. Some afternoons we could easily see the 90's so dress in layers and be prepared for some temperature swings. We will use as much photograph-able light as we can each day, shooting sunrise through 10am, and 3pm to sunset.
Transportation: There will be a lot of driving during this trip in order to gain access to a variety of habitats. If you are interested, ask about riding along with me in a SUV. Even if you do use my vehicle, you will still need to find a way to and from the airport.
More information to be provided about where to stay upon signing up for the trip. Hotel costs are not included in the photo tour fee.
Meals: This trip does not take place near civilization so we'll have limited restaurant options, and usually have to pack lunches.
Learning / Slideshows:
The desert sun grows harsh around 9-10am and becomes shootable again around 3pm. This will allow us a liberal afternoon break during which time we will both have a few learning opportunities, slideshows, as well as free time.
My job is to know the area, do many hours of research, know and be able to ID the birds instantly both by sight and sound, and understand their habitat and behaviors, drive you to the most productive areas at the right time of day, be prepared to attract the birds or assist the group in stalking them, advise on how to make the most of each photo opp, ensure that everyone has their physical needs met, and ensure that everyone gets the most and highest quality images in the time we have.
Your job is to communicate your needs and have fun. I want to emphasize that each of you please communicate and keep me aware of your needs.
At least half of our shooting locations will be right near the car. The rest will require a 5 minute walk with minimal elevation change.
I want to maintain a balance between seeking out difficult/ high quality species, and simply getting beautiful images of more common desert birds in beautiful settings.