It’s out in the dry pine forests of central Oregon, on the eastern side of the Cascade Range. You approach the area via dirt roads, some of them rough, all the time wondering either “What could possibly be out here?” or “Where IS it?” But Cabin Lake is famous among birding circles in the Northwest; it’s at a meeting place of the eastern Cascade pine forests and high desert eco-systems.
Of facilities, there’s just a primitive campground, and a historic Forest Service guard station. But it’s here that Deschutes National Forest built 2 permanent bird blinds (2 landscapes here) and to attract birds each blind has a small concrete basin called a “guzzler” that fills with water from a nearby storage tank. So you enter a blind, sit… and wait. You usually don’t have to wait too long before a bird perches on the sticks and rocks lining the sides, or takes a sip or even bathes — and all this is taking place about 10 to 15 feet in front of you.
Here are some of the birds I saw when I was there in August — and these are the more common birds there. I also saw Cassin’s Finch, Northern Flicker and Clark’s Nutcracker — again, all “up close and personal”. Cabin Lake, with its blinds and water guzzlers, is remote so it’s a day’s destination — but it’s well worth the time and effort to get there. (All photographs © Steve Wolfe)