Posted by: atowhee | May 13, 2022


Both birds and birders were hit with freezing wind, high in the 30s, sleet, hail, graupel, snow, rain. Click here for my blog posted that day.

How nasty? When was the last time you had a female quail (that you didn’t feed in your garden) feeding less than ten feet from your car? In driving snow, naturally.

Momma quail at P Ranch.

We discovered a Great Horned Owl nest in the cliff west of Hwy 205, near MP 42. Colored dots next to each adult, sharing niche cavern with nestlings, out of the wind.

Perhaps nothing discloses hunger more clearly than a flock of tyrant flycatchers sharing, not just with one another but with lowly blackbirds and a Yellow Warbler. In the first image there are SEVEN Western Flycacthers within close proximity–you won’t see that in any sunny field in July. The temp was about 40, the wind nasty, the break in the snow brief.

Just before this moment a flocks of several Lewis’s Woodpeckers had been a nearby tree, also hoping to find sustenance. They’re a bird of passage in Malheur Basin, headed to some surrounding forests.

At Malheur NWR headquarters, before flurries:

We saw Malheurian Canada Geese on cliffs, rock pinnacles, boulders. This pair preferred a stand-alone chimney, the lone remnant of a long-gone old ranch house at P Ranch. The female BH Grosbeak was trying to find food in the brush next to Central Patrol Road.

Ordinary goose perch:

Pond at headquarters, now a shallow puddle. Ducks wade and waddle but no swimming:

Early afternoon snow at P Ranch:

My next Field Station sponsored birding trip: June 2-7. There are some seats on the van still open. Best trip for Bobolink and Eastern Kingbird (not here in early May) and Common Nighthawk. Call 541-493-2629 for details.
September trip is 7-12, includes trip to summit of Steens Mountain and a visit to the snow-tortured aspens with horizontal trunks.

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