Posted by: atowhee | September 2, 2019


There is new information being discovered about the long-lost Franklin Expedition to the Canadian Arctic.  In 1845 the exploration ended tragically for all involved.  Now submersible video and images from inside one of the two sunken ships reveals much we could only guess at previously.

Commander of that ill-fated attempt to sail across the top of North America (he shudda waited until now, right?) was none other than Captain John Franklin of the British Royal Navy.  He had a distinguished career before dying in Canada.  Young officer at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Two previous expeditions in the Canadian north, governor of Tasmania.  His first Canada exploration was led by John Ross, of gull fame. Then nearly seventy years old back to Canada, this third time lacked all charm.

Click here for wiki on that fatal trip north.

In the end Franklin bequeathed us the mystery of his finale demise…and the handsome gull that bears his name.f-gull (2)This Franklin’s Gull seen at Malheur last June.  I will once again be leading three birding trips for the Malheur Field Station in 2020.

May 23(Sat)-May 28(Th), 2020
This trip will give us a chance to see the results of on-going spring migration.  Many nesting species will have just returned.  Males will be singing and there will be territorial displays.  There may be the young of early nesting species like Ferruginous Hawk, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Sora.  There is always a chance of vagrants such as Catbird, eastern warblers, Orchard Oriole.  Some species that nest in the region will be passing through and may include Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Arrive for dinner on the 23rd, depart after breakfast on the 28th.  All meals and accommodations provided by Field Station.

June 13(Sat)-June 18(Th)
This trip will give us a chance to see most of the nesting species of Harney County.  Common Nighthawks and American White Pelicans will be in the air.  Both Eastern and Western Kingbirds will be on territory.  Bobolinks should be seen along with water-related birds such as Trumpeter Swan, Black Tern and Wilson’s Phalarope.

Some birds we expect to see on both spring trips include Mountain Bluebird, Sagebrush Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Horned Lark, Franklin’s Gull, Short-eared and Burrowing Owl, Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, numerous harriers, Marsh, Canyon and Rock Wrens, Loggerhead Shrike, Sage Thrasher, Yellow-headed Blackbird, White-faced Ibis in large numbers, Long-billed Curlew, Willet I breeding plumage, Eared Grebe in breeding plumage.  Nesting ducks could include Blue-winged Teal and Canvasback.

Arrive on June 13th in time for dinner, leave after breakfast on the 18th.  All meals and accommodations provided by Field Station.


Sept. 12(Sat)-Sept. 18(Fri)
This trip will allow us to spend a full day in the Steens where we will go to the peak at just under 10,000 feet elevation.  In the late summer we may get access to areas closed during breeding season.  There may be migrating raptors passing through the valley and mountains.  While many insectivorous birds will be gone there will also be songbirds on migration including huge numbers of White-crowned Sparrows and their cousins from several species.

Arrive for dinner on the 12th, depart after breakfast on the 18th.  All meals and accommodations provided by Field Station.


Mammals possible on all trips include: Belding’s ground squirrel, pronghorn, wild horses, mink, river otter, long-tailed weasel, badger, coyote, mule deer, yellow-bellied marmot, kit fox, Nuttall’s cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, bats, California ground squirrel.

To get more information or sign up for these trips, call the Malheur Field Station at (541) 493-2629.

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