Malheur NWR (part two).

Alright, back to Malheur!  After drooling over the Burrowing Owl I headed to the refuge headquarters to see what was around.  A couple of men were watching the hummingbird feeder and pointed out a female Calliope and female Black-chinned Hummingbirds...

Calliope Hummingbird

 Black-chinned Hummingbirds


The other feeders hosted gobs of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and a couple of California Quail picked up the pieces below...

California Quail

From headquarters I headed south along the Center Patrol Road and quickly found a Short-eared Owl hunting in the distance...


And then I got stuck in the weirdest of traffic situations...


This pronghorn was strolling up the road and refused to let me pass...  There were no turn-offs along the road for me to take, but surely she (?) could have jumped into the grass anywhere.  Instead I got stuck behind her for about two miles, until another car came and chased her down the road.  I was behind them for at least another mile and a half before stopping to look at something...


What I stopped to look at was a nice surprise for me- a pair of Eastern Kingbirds!



The morning's birding and lack of coffee made me pretty sleepy so I stopped back at the campground for a nice mid-day nap with the dogs.  We got up refreshed and ready for more birds... We went over to P Ranch for a walk along the river trail. 

Common Mergansers, the cutest ducklings ever...

A drive north along the Center Patrol Road led to my favorite sighting of the trip- not one, not two, but three Bobolinks!!



Such a rad bird!!  I had hoped for these guys on my last three visits to Malheur so I was pretty surprised to actually find them this time.   One more:


 Awesome.  Along the water that parallels the road were willows and bushes filled with Yellow Warblers, swallows, blackbirds, Willow Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Bullock's Orioles, and...


A Great Horned Owl?  It seemed like a totally random spot and definitely the closest I have ever been to one with its eyes open!  Up the road was a White-faced Ibis trying to hide in the grass...


I stopped by Benson Pond to walk along the little trail and was psyched to find a couple of Common Nighthawks perched in the trees- my first ones not in flight!



In the mud around the pond were Spotted Sandpipers, avocets, stilts, Wilson's Phalaropes, and Killdeer while the nearby trees hosted Western Kingbirds, swallows, and blackbirds.  It was getting dark so the dogs and I headed back to the campground for more veggie dogs and owl hoots. 

The next morning we got up and took a drive up Steens Mountain for about 11 miles.  Of course, we saw more great stuff! 

Long-billed Curlew

 Horned Lark

 Lark Sparrow

 Cow, bird

Western Meadowlark

 Pollination party.

There were a lot of sparrows around that made my brain hurt..  I want to call this fella a Vesper with those reddish spots on the wings...


And lastly, I made a panorama with my AutoStitch app at the point where I turned around on Steens Mountain...


It came out pretty cool-looking.  I left the area by mid-morning and made it home in the afternoon.  It was such an awesome trip with five lifers, about 90 species seen, and a whole lotta rad eye candy.   Good times!!!