Friday, May 15, 2015

Malheur NWR.


Thunderstorms were brewing on Monday afternoon when Christian 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. 

Ears.

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 and check out Christian's far better photos if you get a chance.   Good times!!

20 comments:

  1. Baby shrikes? You are a bird whisperer!!

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  2. We're hot on your trail - we're camping at Malheur next weekend for Memorial Day, hungry for Sage Thrashers and the rest. I hope we hit it big in the baby jackpot, but the scenery alone looks like it's worth the trip no matter what else happens. Looking forward to more photos from the HQ!

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    1. Very cool! Will it be your first time? Oh man, I'm so stoked for you.

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    2. First time! We're steadily and inexorably sweeping over Oregon, hotspot by hotspot.

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  3. What a grand place! Love the baby Shrikes--omg never seen before!! I have seen a couple owls in daytime you see them on a reg basis its just the berries!! Im def going to check Christian's photos he has a great eye, AND Your photos always make my day!!

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    1. Thanks Sondra! The shrikes were seriously the best thing ever.

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  4. Baby Shrikes! Yes!
    And that new header is so pretty! Looking forward to the next post...and someday making my own trip there again. Such a sweet place.

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    1. Thanks, I was pretty happy with the header. You definitely need to get back there someday!

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  5. Totes a Poorwill.

    Those are some shaggy fucking deer, and some deceivingly adorable Shrikes.
    I don't know all of what is going on with that rat mouse, but it reminds me of a Paranormal movie.

    What is your list of dead birds at?? It seems like RLHA would be a nice addition.

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    1. Man, why don't I have a list of dead birds? The RLHA was certainly a new one.

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  6. That was a fast trip! You need to get to Fields, Pueblo Mtns and The Steens ...when it is sunny. I am heading over last weekend of May.

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    1. Three days is never enough, but that's all I could do. I need a month down there.

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  7. Hmm. Not sure if that posted. Sorry if this is duplicative...

    Not re: this post in particular, but I'm really enjoying the photos and glad to have found your blog. I'd practically forgotten blogs exist and didn't realize how much I needed a Portland birder to follow. My wife and I will so be plundering your posts for places to go nearby-ish. You're making me want to map Malheur again...although I know it's going to be awhile before we haul ourselves so far out. Our go-to birding is in the SW: The TRNWR, Jackson Bottom, Fernhill etc...

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    1. Awesome, glad you found my blog! I don't get over to the west side nearly enough, despite the great birding spots.

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