From Prineville, take Hwy 380 SE for 30 miles to Pine Creek Road (Road 17). Take Pine Creek south for 11.5 miles and turn left on Forest Road 1700-600. Then go 0.5 mile to Antelope Reservoir (following the signs). Return to Road 17 and backtrack to the junction of Roads 17 and 16. Take Road 16 (Drake Creek Road) east as it winds along the top of the Maurys. Stop frequently at clearings, aspen groves and ponds to sample the local avifauna. Road 16 eventually curves north and will return you to Hwy 380 (Paulina Hwy). Before getting to the highway, don’t miss the scattered campgrounds that can be very productive.
Habitat and Birds
The Maury Mountains are a truncated part of the Ochoco Mountains. They have been separated from the rest of the Ochocos by the Crooked River. These “island mountains” offer some diversity of habitat not found in the rest of the Ochocos. The north facing slopes are wetter and are dominated by a mixture of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. The south facing slope is very dry and is dominated by ponderosa pine and western juniper. Conifer forest birds can be found at every stop. Northern Pygmy-Owls and Northern Goshawks are here as well as all three nuthatches and lots of woodpeckers. Wild Turkeys are more common here than just about anywhere else in the Ochocos. Pockets of aspen groves provide habitat for Red-naped Sapsucker, Western Wood Pewee and Warbling Vireo. Townsend’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers are most common but this location has produced at least one of the few records of Hermit Warbler for the county. Antelope Reservoir can be productive for waterfowl and shorebirds in the spring and fall.