Hotchkiss Lane

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Location

This four mile east-west road close to Burns passes through prime wetland birding habitat. Hotchkiss Lane makes a convenient start for your trip to Malheur Refuge.

Access Hotchkiss by driving two miles south out of Burns on S Egan Avenue past the county fairgrounds.

Alternately, access the west end of Hotchkiss Lane and Hines Sewage Ponds from Highway 20 here (43.546780, -119.084491). Head toward the tall tower at the south end of Hines.

If desired, one can complete a loop back to Burns as detailed below.

Directions

Habitat and Birds

In spring, there are flooded fields and small pools along this road. Western Meadowlarks sing along the route and Yellow-headed Blackbirds adorn the fence posts. Mixed flocks of ducks, geese, gulls, and waders blanket the flooded fields.

As you leave the residential area of Burns, you will see the fairgrounds on your right (See Burns Sewage Ponds). Check the wet fields across from the south pond. Scan for Willet, American Avocet, Wilson’s Snipe, Wilson’s Phalarope, and White-faced Ibis. Long-billed Curlew and Sandhill Crane are often seen here as well. Continue until Egan intersects with Hotchkiss Lane. There is more good birding in either direction:

1. Explore to the left (east) as the road passes through wetlands associated with the Silvies River. Take this for two miles until Hotchkiss ends where it intersects with Oregon Highway 205. From there you can turn right to proceed on to Malheur NWR, or left to head back to Burns.

2. Explore to the right (west) to explore the western portion of Hotchkiss. Pull over to view a productive pond here (43.556903, -119.061717). Swainson’s Hawks may sometimes be seen along this stretch of road. Near the west end of Hotchkiss there are several large settling ponds (Hines Sewage Ponds) that will have abundant waterfowl and can sometimes be completely full of Snow and Ross’s Geese. Watch for rarities here. This is often the only open water in winter months.

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