Malheur NWR.

I got up bright and early (dark and early?) on Sunday morning and made it to the beginning of the Center Patrol Road at Malheur before 6:30.  I was greeted by oodles of Sage Thrashers!  My first!



The swallows along the Blitzen River were fun to watch...


At one point I heard several coyotes howling and yipping but the grass was too high to see them... When I looked in the direction of the sounds all I could see was these antlers:


Not sure if the howling had anything to do with the deer.  On this trip I saw more Black-crowned Night Herons than I've ever seen together before.  On Saturday evening I watched four flying together (two juveniles, two adults) and Sunday morning I startled up at least five together in one spot.



The White-faced Ibis is definitely one of my favorite birds at Malheur.  How could it not be?


This next one is going to the bathroom:


Hell yeah.  I got okay looks at a Sora at one point:


A family of Ring-necked Pheasants crossed the road in front of me but only got bad photos.


Later on I got good looks at a couple:


I never realized there were so many subspecies of pheasants till now.  This guy seems to fit somewhere in the Colchinus subspp but not positive.  There was another with him that looked like a female but with a nice red spot on the eye like a male- is it just a young male?


At one point along the CPR I felt like I wasn't seeing anything too interesting and was getting frustrated.  Then I scared up this fella:


My first Golden Eagle!!  It's a juvenile, and I didn't get a good shot of its head, but still!  Yay!  Near the Krumbo Reservoir I found a hawk with a tasty breakfast:


Mmmmmmmm....


Also near the reservoir I saw this lizard, which I'm guessing is another western fence lizard:


Mixed in with the terns in the ponds were quite a few Franklin's Gulls, looking less sharp in their wintery colors.


There were ravens everywhere, and despite my deep love for them, I only came home with photos of these two:



Malheur is an amazing place...  On the way home the smoke from the fires in central Oregon was impressive.  I stopped to take photos a couple times.  This is the High Cascades Fire that so far has burned over 100,000 acres. 


The photos don't show it well, but the sun behind the smoke looked bright red... It was eerie and awesome.


A fire fighting helicopter flew by while I was watching... I assume that's a bucket of water or something?


And the last bird of the trip... This Western Meadowlark was singing full force while I took pictures of the smoke...


Good times!

Comments

  1. I love the in-flight poo shot! Malheur is one of my favorite places. It was the site of my first real birding trip.

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  2. Wow. You had quite a day. Congratulations on your "first". It is always so exciting when we spot something new. I had to do a double take on the bird poo shot. Before I read your comment, It looked kind of like he had a bra in tow. LOL I was picturing some poor birdwatcher chasing after him to get it back ;)

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  3. Jen, Congrats on the Sage Thrasher. You had a great birding outing again. I love the Ibis and the BC Night Herons. The Sora is one of my favorite, I love that shot. Wonderful birds and photos! Happy biridng!

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  4. Awesome trip and post! The highlight for me is your "Hell yeah" in regards to your Sora, a great shot by the way.

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  5. The sora shot is great. That ibis looks like it can hold enough to put out any wildfire.

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  6. I love your post. Really makes me want to get back to Malheur this year!

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  7. A wonderful post, Jen! Your photos, all of them, are spectacular! I particularly love the Sora, and the Meadow Lark, and the Ibis and the hawk... too many to enumerate.

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  8. Super POST! Wow you've been bird whispering again and it paid off big time!! Such an array of great ones--I LOVE all the photos but the ravens on the pole is just makes me feel right at home!!! Keep it coming--HIGH 5 on the Sora in the OPEN^^^^^

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  9. What a great trip you had! Excellent shot of the juvie Night Heron in flight!

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  10. Great photos. Definitely a place I'd love to visit. Thanks.

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  11. A most wonderful post filled with outstanding images! I love the Sage Thrashers aglow in the morning light. Awesome White-faced Ibis and in-flight Black-crowned Night Heron photographs (yes, even the one with the poop). Gorgeous Sora and Western Meadowlark shots. All the images are terrific! Looks like you had a fantastic visit to Malheur. Always a pleasure to visit your blog!

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  12. Yeah, it's been said, but that Sora shot is awesome! It's like that collected bird just hanging out with a swamp explosion going on all around her.
    That second Ibis picture, well, it's just crappy.

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