Posted by: atowhee | August 6, 2011

MALHEUR’S WET SUMMER

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was inundated with more water than it’s had in over a decade. That means the lake itself and its surrounding marshlands were greatly expanded.  That was good news for birds, but not so good news for their future.  The invasive carp foolishly introduced by meddling humans decades ago have also flourished beyond control.  Here’s the whole article from the “Oregonian.”

The Wilson’s Phalarope prospered this summer thanks to endless wetlands for breeding and feeding.  So, too, the White-faced Ibis who nested in Malheur in numbers far greater than usual.

For most of the summer the lake’s been about three times its seasonal average in surface area, and somewhat deeper though the area is quite flat.

How wet?  Here’s a Frsanklin’s Gull feeding along the edge of a country road that most years runs through dryland pasture.  This year the slightly elevated roadway was a levee onto which the prairie winds blew goodies that had floated to the surface of the rarely flooded pastureland.  Gull cafeteria instanteous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly the big White Pelican nesting colony we saw on our June Rogue Valley Audubon trip was trashed by cattle.  But I leave with this inspring image, of Ibis in line of flight:


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