Posted by: atowhee | May 30, 2010

Malheur Marvels

The weather and the birding were both ideal today.  Yellow Warblers, Western Tanagers and White-faced Ibis were nearly everywhere.  I saw more Common Nighthawks today than I have in all my previous years of birding combined.  Here are some nighthawk pics.  One sleeping at Malheur Field Station, then another feeding over Page Springs.

The nighthawk flies around with its large gaping gape, that is mouth, open.  At Duncan Evered’s mist-netting demo we learned that nighthawks and their cousins have a specially adapted toe that is a brush with bristles to comb the many splattered insects out of the rictal bristles around that big mouth.

Duncan and Lila Evered manage the Field Station, and they gave us a fine demo of mist-netting and a chance to see many birds, ah, first hand.  Most surprising: the myriad subtle colors of the Mourning Dove.

I will have many more pictures from this day.  I had over 100 images and a fair percentage are worth sharing. So over the next few days I will be posting further Malheur galleries.

I will close with this in-focus shot (a miracle for me) of this co-operative House Wren at Page Springs.

The wren not only watched us but sang for us.  He and his mate were working on a nest inside a nest box.

Once again our group had over 80 species, nine that we hadn’t seen yet on this expedition.  For me the thrill of the day was seeing my first-ever Oregon Bobolinks. More on that later.  It was a great Icterid day, seven species!

Location:     Malheur NWR–From The Narrows south, including Page Springs, a BLM site
Observation date:     5/30/10
Number of species:     71

Canada Goose     16
Trumpeter Swan     2
Gadwall     10
Mallard     65
Cinnamon Teal     25
Northern Shoveler     10
Northern Pintail     3
Lesser Scaup     2
Ruddy Duck     1
California Quail     25
Ring-necked Pheasant     1
Pied-billed Grebe     2
American Bittern     1
Great Blue Heron     1
Great Egret     2
White-faced Ibis     700
Turkey Vulture     12
Northern Harrier     4
American Kestrel     4
American Coot     60
Sandhill Crane     4
Killdeer     4
Willet     6
Long-billed Curlew     2
Franklin’s Gull     30
Ring-billed Gull     4
Black Tern     8
Forster’s Tern     1
Mourning Dove     4
Common Nighthawk     80
Lewis’s Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     2
Western Wood-Pewee     3
Willow Flycatcher     1
Dusky Flycatcher     1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher     2
Say’s Phoebe     2
Western Kingbird     1
Loggerhead Shrike     4
Warbling Vireo     2
Black-billed Magpie     6
American Crow     4
Common Raven     15
Tree Swallow     10
Violet-green Swallow     1
Barn Swallow     40
Cliff Swallow     230
House Wren     4
Marsh Wren     2
American Robin     15
European Starling     8
Cedar Waxwing     6
Yellow Warbler     150
Yellow-rumped Warbler     2
Townsend’s Warbler     1
MacGillivray’s Warbler     4
Common Yellowthroat     6
Wilson’s Warbler     10
Yellow-breasted Chat     2
Vesper Sparrow     2
Song Sparrow     8
Western Tanager     50
Black-headed Grosbeak     1
Bobolink     15
Red-winged Blackbird     160
Western Meadowlark     6
Yellow-headed Blackbird     110
Brewer’s Blackbird     50
Brown-headed Cowbird     12
Bullock’s Oriole     8
American Goldfinch     4
House Sparrow     10

Location:     Harney County, OR–north of The Narrows on Hwy 205
Observation date:     5/30/10
Number of species:     45

Canada Goose     10
Gadwall     4
Mallard     20
Blue-winged Teal     2
Cinnamon Teal     10
Northern Shoveler     4
Canvasback     8
California Quail     2
Clark’s Grebe     1
Great Egret     1
White-faced Ibis     250
Turkey Vulture     2
Swainson’s Hawk     1
Virginia Rail     1
American Coot     45
Killdeer     5
Black-necked Stilt     8
American Avocet     6
Willet     3
Long-billed Curlew     3
Franklin’s Gull     10
Ring-billed Gull     2
Black Tern     2
Rock Pigeon     2
Eurasian Collared-Dove     6
Mourning Dove     2
Common Nighthawk     1
Western Kingbird     1
Loggerhead Shrike     1
Western Scrub-Jay     1
Black-billed Magpie     2
American Crow     6
Common Raven     2
Horned Lark     2
Tree Swallow     8
Barn Swallow     10
Cliff Swallow     25
American Robin     4
European Starling     20
Western Tanager     4
Red-winged Blackbird     60
Western Meadowlark     4
Yellow-headed Blackbird     20
Brewer’s Blackbird     15
House Sparrow     4


  1. Great day. Looking forward to the updates.

  2. […] Nighthawks and Other Malheur Moments I  blogged earlier about Common Nighthawks and their rictal rectitude, the built-in scrubing brush. Before this weekend in Malheur I had never been in a place where nighthawks of any kind were so […]

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