Posted by: atowhee | October 15, 2009

Malheur Day Two, the long day

From the Field Station where I started the day, I first went to the Park Headquarters.  En route I saw a Cooper’s Hawk along Bluitzen River.  Here  at HQ was this guy pretending to be a Wallcreeper:winter wren 10-9-09

That stub-tailed brown blob is a Winter Wren clinging to the cement block wall.  He must have been passing through.  So was the Varied Thrush in the cottonwoods, the many Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting about.  It gets below zero here in mid-winter.

NUTTALL'S COTTONTAIL IN SUNHere too were Nuttall’s Cottontails on the lawn.  From HQ it was south to Buena Vista Ponds.




MODERN COWBOYAlong the way I passed this modern cowboy, herding his cattle with the help of two dogs and an ATV.



At Buena Vista one lone goose dropped out of the sky and stayed briefly among the lesser creatures.

GOOSE DOWITCHERSA Greater White-fronted Goose among the Long-billed Dowitchers.




I did not see any Marsh Wrens at Buena Vista, but my next stop was Benson Pond along the Central Patrol Road.  There near midpday the sun got the Marsh Wrens to singing.  One even showed me a bit of tail.  Also at Benson a Cooper’s Hawk and hundreds of Yellow-rumps.BENSON POND1








At Benson I found my only Pintails of the day, plus the usual dabblers and dozens of Coots.  And I ran into the only other birder I saw all day.  She’d seen a Prairie Falcon just down the road, a bird that eluded me this day.  Here I also heard Sandhill Cranes somewhere in the dense reeds on the far side of the pond.  Harriers worked the damp meadows in this part of the Blitzen River basin.IMG_0245

One of the many Yellow-rumps feeding in willows along Benson Pond.




And this Red-tailed Hawk posed in such a way as to show off many of the field marks suggested in field guides. Especially fine belly band, Senior Buteo.



Because nights are alfrready well below freezing in Malheur (o0ver 4000 feet in most places), there weren’t many insects.  One marsh had biting mosquitoes, and there were some grasshoppers hopping, and a few of these in flight:MOURNING CLOAK, MALHEUR










Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa


  1. I would like to go on your field trip this spring. Please put me on a list (?) This is a part of OR I haven’t seen so am very interested.

  2. Add Maki and me to the list of springtime birdathoners to Malheur. It’s gorgeous then.

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