Posted by: atowhee | May 9, 2022


UPDATE: BLUE GFROSBEAK juvie, not Indigo Bunting. Pics below.

This was the third day of our Malheur Field Trip organized bird expedition.
Can I be suffering from meteorological PTSD?  If I close my eyes this morning I see white ice pellets pelting down across a black scrim.  Yet outside the meadowlark is sereading the return of sunshine even though the dawn temp is only 27. 

Before 630AM at the MFS bird blind I see the first year male Blue Grosbeak with bits of blue molting onto his neck a nd chest.  A walk around the field station campus before breakfast reveals the Great Horned Owls’ nest by the gym, meadowlarks in tune, a Chipping Sparrow, robin, raven, starling using hole in Owl Dorm.  We see two  Nuttall’s cottontail.  Thus begins Day #3 of the Field Station Bird Trip for May.

At HQ we find both genders of Bullock’s Oriole and Western Tanager, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, siskin, American Goldfinches, Bald Eagle fly-over, numerous cowbirds.

At nearly dry pond where Hwy 205 meets end of Island Ranch Road: one Least and one Western Sandpiper, three Semipalmated Plovers and a small group of Lark Sparrows. G-w and Cinnamon Teal.

Along Greehouse Lane, some cranes in wet fields, Raven eating, or caching, a goose egg, curlew attacking raven too near its nest.  Great Horned Owl nest in lone, roadside willow, east of Potter’s Swamp Road (PSR).  On PSR we saw our first of three Gray Flycatchers for the day.  At the west end of Greenhouse Lane we find a lone Greater White-fronted Goose.  Later at Burns Sewer Ponds we find eight laggard Snow Geese.  Also there: Black and Caspian Terns, many Eared  Grebe, two pair of Spotted Sandpiper, hundreds of gulls.

At the fishing ponds east of Burns on Hwy 78: a Caspain Tern screaming and attacking an Osprey going for the tern’s own personal fish supply…apparently.  Osprey got his fish, and withdrew from combat. There we saw our fist flock of Northern Rough-winged Swallows.  Also, more Black Terns.

To close the day we get to play peek-a-boo with the  Burrowing Owl east of Hwy 205 near MP 18.

Local speculation is that Belding’s ground squirrel and jackrabbit populations have been hard hit by drought…and that has lowered the coyote count. We have seen only 3 jackrabbits in as many days, zero coyote though we heard some. Deer seem less common, cottontails and Beldinbgs abundant.

Low tonight to be 23!

Top pic shows the hiding owl…then first Gray of Day, flycatcher that is….then two shots of BLUE GRoSBEAK at bird feeder station at field station. His range extends only as far north as lower Sacramento Valley.


  1. Blue Grosbeak!

  2. […] A day without snow…well, until we got back down off the Steens to Frenchglen at 445PM. It was waxwing Tuesday. It was also the day I realuized that the unsual bird at tghe field station feeders wasn’t a buntinbg…it be a BLUE GROSBEAK, not even on the checklist for Malheur NWR! Click here for my pics. […]

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