Posted by: atowhee | May 26, 2011

THE SNOWY ROAD TO MALHEUR

Sure, it’s May 26th in the Northern Hemisphere below the 45th Parallel, but did it snow on us?  You betcha.

Despite rain, cold wind, snow, sleet, and more wind, we had a pretty good day.  We toted over 70 species on our 300-mile trek to Burns.  Here’s my “fav,” seen with his mate in a flooded pasture south of Burns, and captured via digiscoping:

After dozens of Cinnamon Teal we came up with a pair of Blue-winged teal for variety.  Only the third time I’ve seen this species in Oregon.

A frigid lunch at Collier State Park got us Tree and Northern Rough-winged Swallows feeding on the water’s surface, a pair of Common Mergansers, the nesting Osprey, a Warbling Vireo feeding in low shrubs and this little fella:

Then on to Klamath Marsh, buffeted by winds, serenaded by Sora unseen and treated to Black Terns galore.

They were accompanied by their bigger, pale cousins, the Forster’s.  Because, one good tern deserves….

Before we even noticed the Mountain  Bluebird in his nest box, we watched a Swainson’s Hawk hunt over the parking lot at Sage Hen Rest Area west of Burns.  Good views in good light of this large, migratory buteo of the grasslands.

Also present: Brewer’s Sparrows in the sage, Robins and Killdeer on the lawn, a Cassin’s Finch high in a pine.

Other good sightings: a Red-tailed Hawk driven from his low-bush perch by an angry badger.  My word consultant tells me “angry badger” is perhaps redundant.  Later we watched a Wood-Pewee catching bugs along a flooded roadside ditch. He was miles from the nearest real tree.  Then on to see the owls in the owl tree.

Little Big Owl was standing in his nest, one parent was in the nearest utility pole.

When you’ve been glowered at by a Great Horned Owl, you’ve been seriously, most thoroughly glowered.  Some say you will remain thusly glowered for months to come.  Certainly you will rethink your intention of trying to be reincarnated as a small nocturnal rodent in eastern Oregon, right?


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  1. […] (2) Return to Malheur, May 26 […]


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