Posted by: atowhee | May 27, 2019


May 26 Malheur 2019

This was our final day of the Malheur Field Station May birding trip.  We finally picked up some of the species we had been missing daily: Black Tern, Common Nighthawk, Wilson’s Snipe (seen and not just heard), Brewer’s Sparrow, Western Grebe and a surprising Peregrine on a fence post.pere postd (2)

Here’s the bird you look for on fence posts.  BTW, he did have a second leg, but was holding it in reserve.WSPOST-GUD (2)

We birded Hotchkiss and Green House Lanes, Sage Hen Rest Area with its several Mountain Bluebird nests and Chickahominy. Among the nesting birds we observed this week: stilt, avocet, curlew, Yellow Warbler, red-tail, Ferruginous Hawk (Hwy 206 south of MP 16), Bald Eagle (at P Ranch) and Trumpeter Swan (at Benson Pond), Great Horned Owl (206 MP 42).

Bird of the day for most of us was the Flammulated Owl at refuge headquarters, head away from all camera angles. When was the last time you saw a Flam in a cottonwood?FLAM (2)

I can’t say enough about nighthawks.  There were two fighting a wind wall coming from a rain squall moving north across the basin.  One would fly into the wind, rising sharply as it did so.  Then it would hover several hundred feet up and be pushed ever nporthward by the air.  Dropping sharply it would then fly into the wind, flapping strongly, rise again…repeat.  The whole time it was mouth open, gobbling up those poor aerial insects that must have no control over their own flight or direction.

I can’t say enough about nighthawks.  I tried to get started though…in one essay on these Malheurian nighthawks in the new book on Malheur, Edge of Awe.  Just published by Oregon State Press.  Edited by Alan Contreras.  Art by the late Ursula LeGuin.  Go buy your copy, if you haven’t already.

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