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.
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.
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:
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.
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!!