Posted by: atowhee | October 14, 2009

Malheur, Day 2

Before dawn the desert temp was 27 degrees.  The Great Horned Owl was hooting on the wires behind Duncan Evered’s house at the Field Station.  He could be easily seen but there was not enough light for a photo.  California Quail were already sounding off in the sagebrush.  As the first sunlight came over the eastern horizon the Coyote Butte coyote clan howled their approval.  Starlings began to awaken and that means a whole gamut of noise and even some music.  Duncan would later tell me that well-known birdsong expert, Donald Kroodsma, had come to Malheur and been thrilled at the Starling sounds there.  He could record them without the usual urban or highway background noise.  Here just an occasional cow mooing in the distance.quail roadblock

I almost immediately ran into a roadblock. The quail were busily seeking out any overnight seedfall from light breeze.  Not used to traffic they seemed uninclined to share the road.

At Duncan’s house the quail were thick, so were mammals there to share in the food and slow drip of water he provides.NUTTALL'S COTTONTAIL

This quart-sized rabbit is named after the same great naturalist for whom Pica nuttalli was named.  And here’s the best picture I’ve ever gotten of a Least Chipmunk, our smallest chipper. m They’re common in the drylands east of the Cascades’ crest.









Location: Malheur NWR Observation date: 10/9/09 Number of species: 55

Greater White-fronted Goose X Canada Goose X Trumpeter Swan X Gadwall X American Wigeon X Mallard X Blue-winged Teal X Cinnamon Teal X Northern Shoveler X Northern Pintail X Green-winged Teal X Canvasback X Lesser Scaup X Ruddy Duck X Ring-necked Pheasant X California Quail X Pied-billed Grebe X Eared Grebe X Western Grebe X Great Blue Heron X Cooper’s Hawk X Red-tailed Hawk X American Kestrel X American Coot X Sandhill Crane X Killdeer     X
Greater Yellowlegs     X
Long-billed Dowitcher     X
Ring-billed Gull     X
Rock Pigeon     X
Belted Kingfisher     X
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     X
Common Raven     X
Horned Lark     X
Barn Swallow     X
Winter Wren     X
Marsh Wren     X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     X
Mountain Bluebird     X
American Robin     X
Varied Thrush     X
Sage Thrasher     X
European Starling     X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)     X
Spotted Towhee     X
Song Sparrow     X
White-crowned Sparrow     X
Golden-crowned Sparrow     X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     X
Red-winged Blackbird     X
Western Meadowlark     X
Brewer’s Blackbird     X
Lesser Goldfinch     X
American Goldfinch     X
House Sparrow     X

COYOTE BUTTESHere are the aptly named Coyote Buttes between which is nestled the Field Station with Duncan’s house, the quail, the GH Owl, the least chipmunk, the elusive Sage Thrasher and Kroodsma’s crooning Starlings.


  1. That chipmunk picture is wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: