Posted by: atowhee | April 13, 2010

Ashland to Malheur

Three hundred and fifty miles and over fifty species on the highway run from Ashland to Malheur NWR.  Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt who had the good judgement to turn this amazing Great Basin valley into a wildlife refuge.

As we passed along the west shore of Klamath Lake we found Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Clark’s and Western Grebes pairing up, Ruddy Ducks, Common Mergansers, Tree Swallows, Kingfisher, Double-crested Cormorant, TVs, Bald Eagle, Ravens, and a couple of Caspian Terns fishing.  We saw one dive and come up with a four inch fish.

Other highlights: Dunlin, Willet and American Avocet, all 3 in breeding plumage, at Lake Abert; Swainson’s and Rough-legged Hawks,  along US395 near Ripley in Harney County; a soaring Golden Eagle south of Wagonwheel; Cinnamon Teal in a pond next to the highway in Harney County; Western Meadowlarks singing over the grasslands and BB Magpies loafing around farmyards; Townsend’s Solitaire in the junipers at Sprague River Picnic Grounds, Klamath County; hundreds of Ross’s Geese, Long-billed Curlew flocks, GH Owl nest and other goodies along Hwy 205 north of Malheur; looking at the blue mountains at dusk across the Silvie River plain we saw flurries of geese in flight–not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of Ross’s Geese in swirls and loose Vs flying in front of the dark landscape; we saw Sandhill Cranes in numerous places along the route.  Say’s Phoebe waited for us in the parking lot here at the Malheur Field Station.  California Quail were piping in the sagebrush.

Our first night here at Malheur Field Station I awake around 145 AM.  Right outside a Great Horned Owl is hooting his predatory preferences into the darkness.


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