Malheur NWR (Part one).

Didn't I just say I wasn't planning to visit Malheur any time soon?  Oops.  Friday was the end of a very long week and I decided the best thing I could do was head out with the dogs and my tent in search of some birds.  So I spent the weekend camping at Page Springs just south of Malheur.  And it was awesome.

I left Saturday morning and picked up a couple of roadside lifers before I even made it to the refuge.  The first lifers were a total surprise- a pair of Chukars playing chicken (playing Chukar?) with traffic on Highway 26 near Warm Springs...

The second lifers were a couple of Ferruginous Hawks perched on utility poles along Highway 20...

Pretty cool.  My first real stop was at the Sage Hen rest stop outside of Burns.  A Mountain Bluebird was working the fence line...

There was also a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers around, pardon the bad windshield shot...

I made it to Malheur in the early afternoon and the main highway just hopping with birds...

Yellow-headed Blackbird

 Black Tern

 Western Kingbird

 Brewer's Blackbirds

Franklin's Gull

 Forster's Tern

 Forster's Tern

 American Avocet

 American White Pelicans

 Clark's Grebe, the grebe of choice at Malheur

There were so many great birds around- some others were Long-billed Curlews, Sandhill Cranes, Willets, Black-necked Stilts, Horned Larks...  Eventually I made my way south to Page Springs Camground and set up my tent.  A walk with the dogs around the area produced even more birds like Lazuli Buntings, Western Wood-Pewees, Cedar Waxwings, Cinnamon Teals, and chatty Black-billed Magpies...

There were lots of little critters and creatures around too. 

Wait, what's that?  A giant snake?  The dogs and I almost stepped on that fella, which I have narrowed down to either a pacific or a great basin gopher snake.  He was fairly hefty and crawling into various holes, I assume looking for rodent snacks... 

Very cool to see...  Later on after some veggie dogs over the fire I left the dogs tied to the picnic table while I went to fill up my water bottle.  I returned to find them staring intently at a small deer about 15 feet away, staring back at them.  When I approached the deer ran off and I was so grateful I had tied the dogs up...  That night we slept well while a Great Horned Owl hooted somewhere nearby.

In the morning I went in search of the Burrowing Owl that lives along the highway.  I drove up Ruh-Red Road for a mile or so before remembering the owl location, but along the way I found some good stuff...


 Sage Thrasher

A Loggerhead Shrike was hunting in a field near the road...

And lastly, I found the Burrowing Owl...

Yay!!  And another shot of the owl the next morning...

Soooooo awesome!!  As you can see, this was an amazing weekend... I will have another post chock-full of goodies for you soon!  Good times!


  1. Dang Jen! Great location, great photos. Any trip where you can combine Black Terns and Sage Thrashers and Burrowing Owls with Clark's Grebes is a pretty awesome trip indeed!

    Looking forward to the rest--glad that Burrowing Owl didn't eat you--he looked hungry.

  2. Greetings from Oman!!!! I was just passing by and had to stop and say that I really enjoyed your blog.Have a great day!


  3. Wow, another great outing, Jen! I loved all the birds and congrats on your lifers. I just added a few more birds to my wish list. The Black Tern and the Burrowing Owl are just two of many more birds I would like to see. For now, I am enjoying your photos. Happy Birding.

    1. Thanks, Eileen- the Burrowing Owl had been up there on my wish list for some time also...

  4. Marvelous, Jen! Fantastic collection of bird, most of them life birds for me. I love that Yellow-headed Blackbird, and of course the Burrowing Owl!

  5. Amazing assortment of birds in your weekend! Some great and interesting birds.

  6. Wow! Such a wonderful set of so many birds! Would love to see a Burrowing Owl myself! Maybe those pelicans are headed to Ridgefield! Good stuff, Jen!

  7. I WANT TO GO!!! WOW such great success with the birds and the owl OMG its awesome!! Also love the shot of the Grebe!! IM headed to the NEW button~:0)


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