Western Kingbirds were all over the area, but the best views were along the county roads just before the refuge.
There was pretty much no one else at the refuge, except a few fishermen near the boat launch. All the other areas were deserted. Both days I started at the easternmost parking area where I followed the Sagebrush Trail (I'm making all these trail names up) to the Oriole Trail, over to the Big Pond Trail.
I kind of love sage. When walking through lots of it I often rip off little pieces, chop it up into lines and snort it. Ok, not really, but I do rip off pieces and sniff it and put it in my pocket so I can keep smelling it. Everyone does this, right?
Along the Oriole Trail, Bullock's Orioles were busy building nests and looking sharp.
The Oriole Trail winds around one side of a pond, a pond filled with reeds as well as trees.
And in one of these trees (not in the above photo, unfortunately), quite conspicuous, is a Red-tailed Hawk nest.
The Big Pond Trail was a winner as well. It's essentially a road that winds around the pond, meandering between cattails and sagebrush, leading to the far side of the pond where all the action was located.
Avocets! Stilts! Phalaropes! Sandpipers! The dogs and I stood there for quite awhile as the birds moved around, showing off how rad they are.
Back along the other side of the Big Pond was this bird I called a Western Wood-Pewee, but surely someone can tell me I am wrong...
After exploring this end of the refuge I decided to go over to the westernmost parking area and check that area out. We parked at the Road Closed sign and hoofed it the rest of the way to the reservoir, where the dogs were happy to take a break in the shade.
We walked down another dusty trail over a bridge to another trail along the west side of the reservoir. A couple of overhead hawks kept me entertained, like this Swainson's Hawk:
And this...Cooper's Hawk?
Black-billed Magpies are all over the place out there. Unfortunately they hate hate hate having their photo taken. This was the best I could do...
And a couple more shots from this part of the refuge...
I definitely enjoyed my time at this refuge but there are a few things you should know if you decide to go:
1. There is nowhere to camp anywhere nearby. My plan to camp failed miserably. The only option was a state park that wanted $25 for me to sleep in my own damn tent. Hell no.
2. There are dog ticks everywhere. Between me and the dogs we acquired 7 (and counting...)
3. Grass seeds are also everywhere, which is not a big deal if you are dog-free, but they can do horrible things to dogs. Like work their way into their toes, get infected, and require surgical removal.