On October 30th (my 30th birthday!) we were greeted as we departed Mitchell by the seemingly resident group of wild turkeys.
Our first stop was at an overlook near Dayville looking at the Picture Gorge basalts:
The peak in the above photo is Sheep Rock, namesake of the third of the John Day Fossil Bed units. This single feature showcases about 10 different geologic formations. Here are the ones I could pick out:
Right across from Sheep Rock is the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, which features a lot of the fossils found in the region. It's really impressive stuff!
Next we were off to hike the Blue Basin, where we didn't get too far along the rim trail before flushing a flock of chukars (195)!
Again, it was pretty quiet bird-wise, but I did manage to find a single mountain chickadee (196), too.
As is the case throughout the region, the landscapes stole the show:
These incredible formations are the result of volcanic ash turned into claystone, and the color is from mineralization over time (so it wasn't this color originally).
And of course, there were more of these guys around:
As our last full day in the John Day Fossil Beds area came to a close, we were preparing to head up to Portland to visit with family for a couple days. The birding wasn't done, though, as along the Crown-Zellerbach Trail in Scappoose I reached my birding year list goal for the year with the following species: sandhill crane (197), cackling goose (198), Lincoln's sparrow (199), and cinnamon teal (200)!
Often November is a pretty quiet time wildlife and photography wise back at home, but not this year! There's plenty of excitement to share in my next few posts.