Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 93 of 95

Birding Oregon's Big Country 92 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2017 headquarters—offers less expensive, no- frills dormitory accommodations near the north end of the refuge and can serve meals for larger groups. Camping options are limited to Page Springs Campground (Bureau of Land Management), Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort (private) near the south end of the refuge, and The Narrows RV Park and Store (private) at the north end. Page Springs is primitive; the pri - vate sites have showers, flush toilets, and RV hookups. A few small trees provide only modest shade at The Narrows, but accommodations include a restaurant and bar, other amenities, and gas. Speaking of gas… DON'T leave Burns/ Hines without tanking up. Away from Burns/Hines, gas stations are few and prices are high. Gas availability has been traditionally spotty at Frenchglen but more reliable of late. Fields (120 miles south of Burns) has gas, but the price is typically at least 40–50 cents higher per gallon than in Burns, and the store closes at 6 p.m. As with any travel, some preparation makes it more fun. This is particularly true in the remote high-desert country of southeast Oregon, where elevations range from 4,000 ft. (1,220 m) up to 9,700 ft/ (2,960 m) at the summit of Steens Mountain. Daytime temperatures fluctuate from 60°F to 95°F between May and September but generally plummet after sundown and may drop to around 40°F (or colder) overnight. Sagebrush and cattails don't provide much shade, so bring sunscreen and a wide-brim hat. The humidity is next to zero most of the time. It's easy to get dehydrated even on cooler days, so pack plenty of water. Local tap water is quite hard. As for food, stock up on snacks and meal supplies at the grocery stores in Burns/Hines. Convenience stores are scarce, and any convenience you find comes with inflated prices. Bug spray is a must in May–July, when mosquitoes are thick on the ref - uge. At other times of the year, there are no bug problems. Anyone who has vis- ited Malheur NWR, Steens Mountain, the Alvord Basin, and Harney County, Oregon, will tell you these are special places that will inhabitant your memories, captivate your imagination, and make you long to return again and again. Come see for yourself. Continued from page 90 Left: n American Avocet. Photo © Barbara Wheeler Right: n Hammond's Flycatcher. Photo © Dave Irons Bottom: n Burrowing Owl. Photo © Jon Nelson

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