Posted by: atowhee | June 15, 2020


There are many fine reasons for Oregon birders to relish time here at Malheur.  For me June means nighthawks, quenching a thirst that grews between each June visit.  For many the two predictable “eastern” nesters provide annual reinforcement for the widely held belief that Malheur is a treasure, a unique piece of the Great Basin and one of western Birdom’s finest experiences–Bobolink and Eastern Kingbird.  Our Malheur Field Station field trip was three-for-three today:

ekb14CONIAIR1Here’s our nighthawk neighbor on a porch railing at the Field Station:cn-porch2And this is the season of the young…here are two common ones.  Young cootlet bearing his orange nestling fringe, young Cliff Swallow still showing his pale, gaudy gape:


Rain off and on in morning, light drizzle in afternoon between bouts of sun, rain after dark. The day was a mix of great birding and disappointment. The latter was a couple hours up US 395 north from Burns under drizzly skies and cold at 5300 foot elevation.  But elsewhere it was bright even when there was no sun to be seen.

The day began with two of us watching a newly fledged kestrel eat a vole in a bare tree right next to our dorm.  The meal was apparently catered by one of the adult birds who didn’t stick around to watch.

Snipe-on-post two places—Hwy 205 about MP5, at Diamond.  Good views of Bobolink at Diamond complete with songs and a fly around by a bold male who settled down to pick at something on the roadside. Along Central Patrol Road (CPR) good sightings of male and female Bullock’s Orioles, a pair of Eastern Kingbirds skimming the Blitzen River.  Other birds picking insects off the river included Song Sparrow, Yellow Warbler and Willow Flycatchers.  In unnamed marshes along CPR were bright Cinnamon Teal and Shoveler, singing yellowthroat and Marsh Wrens.  Overhead were nighthawks, harrier and ibis.  The ibis also often surprised us by lifting out of roadside grasses where they had been unseen, thus to lift off, long beak drooping fore and legs hanging aft like some ancient pre-drone flying toy.


  1. I wondered about a tawny/brownish swallow we saw either at the field station or HQ, glad to know it was a baby and I did not imagine the color. We did not see any bobolink but now I know what to look for. We did video shoveler courtship, first male lost out and she flew off with the second, great view right next to Center Patrol Rd though slightly obscured by tall grass. I hope your group got to see the owlet at the round barn–miniature abominable snowman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: