Saturday, May 23, 2015


As the appropriately lone member of the Lone Birders team for this year's Birdathon, I decided to hit up Ridgefield NWR to see how many species I could find. 

The first thing I found were Barn Swallows doing the deed in the middle of the road.  Photos are terrible but I know you want to see anyway...

I walked the Kiwa Trail for the first time this year which helped the morning's list quite a bit. 

 Cedar Waxwing

Wilson's Snipe

Yellow Warbler

 And back on the auto tour...

Tree Swallow

 American Bittern

 Awkward (young?) Rufous

 Trying to woo a sleeping teal

 Lazuli Bunting

 Purple Martin gathering nest material

Things weren't too wild, just a solid morning at Ridgefield with 53 species to show for it.  Good times!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Malheur HQ.

Malheur headquarters is one of those magical migrant traps where you can stare into a shrub for thirty minutes until you're cross-eyed and maybe drooling a little, while orioles and grosbeaks and warblers hop around like it ain't no thing.  The feeders are packed with birds and the ground is packed with ground squirrels.  Everything is okay at headquarters.  Even the gigantic toilet seats.

Marshall Pond

On our recent Malheur adventure, my friend and I spent many hours wandering this place collecting about 65 species here alone.  No rarities but lots of top notch birds.  A Black-headed Grosbeak pooped on my head.  It was rad.

Let's begin with the nesting Swainson's Hawks...

And everything else...

 Belding's ground squirrels

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

 Bright Cassin's Vireo?   Blue-headed Vireo!!!!!

 Rufous Hummingbird

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Western Tanager

 Evening Grosbeaks

The only Calliope I saw, and the only shot I got of it. 

 Red-naped Sapsucker

Great Horned nesting in the top of the tower, begging for coffee

 Black-chinned Hummingbirds

 Window strike survivor.  Almost stepped on her which would have really bummed some people out. 

 Blurry Bullock's Oriole

 Blurry empid.... Hammond's I'm pretty sure.  

So much awesomeness there, can't wait to go back someday.  Good times!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Malheur NWR.

Thunderstorms were brewing on Monday afternoon when my friend and I drove into Malheur.  We stopped by a pond on 205 for Black Terns and Wilson's Phalaropes, continued south for the Burrowing Owl, and stopped at the very dry Narrows.

Bad panorama of the Narrows.  Definitely no night-herons here. 

At Malheur headquarters the thunder really started rumbling so we drove up to the Center Patrol Road to watch the storm roll through.

Once things calmed down we drove back down Sodhouse Lane, past a flighty flock of White-faced Ibises.

We continued on south to Page Springs Campground and settled in for a pleasantly dry evening spent listening to what I think was a Common Poorwill calling.  Let me know if I'm wrong:

In the morning a magpie was strolling around the grass near our tent, plucking juicy worms from the ground.

After making coffee and packing up we checked out P Ranch and Frenchglen before heading back to HQ.

 House Wren, P Ranch

Forster's Tern, Frenchglen

Malheur HQ is going to get its own well-deserved post, so skipping ahead on Tuesday we went looking for the Golden Eagle nest on Harney Lake Lane.  A Loggerhead Shrike kicked off the shrike party of the century.

What could be better than one distant shrike?  A closer shrike?

No wait.  Two shrikes?  Eating a dead bird?

Wait.  There's something better.  I just know it.  Oh right...

Is that what I think it is?  BABY SHRIKES?!!

It does not get any better than this.  Just quit reading my blog now, this is the pinnacle.  Everything else is just blah blah blah killdeer.

Anyway.  After another stop at HQ the rain started to pick up, despite the wacky weather lady's 10% chance prediction.  We drove down to Benson Pond for a very wet walk to the little weird outbuilding filled with rats.


A Great Horned Owl and owlet made the walk worthwhile.

We drove around the P Ranch area a bit finding zero Bobolinks but plenty of deer.

The rain refused to let up and we retreated back towards Burns for the evening, stopping to pour one out for this saddest dead bird:

RIP, Roughie

Wednesday we were up early and back in the ice-covered car for more birds.  Ruh-Red Road gave us Sage Thrashers, including an adorable fledgeling.

 The Burrowing Owl was in its usual spot, just out of reach of a decent photo...

Another trip to HQ was followed by a coffee-making break along the Center Patrol Road.

The only Franklin's Gulls of the trip cruised over here, along with pelicans and assorted blackbirds. 

 Vesper Sparrow

I finally managed a single shot of a jackrabbit as it tore across the road.

After another stop at HQ we began the drive back to Portland.  Stay tuned for all the HQ birds.   Good times!!