Wednesday, May 15, 2019


May 13, 2019 at Malheur HQ

May 14, 2019 around 7:30am - 8:00am, Malheur HQ

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Malheur NWR, April 2019

Ross's Geese, 8000 or more in fields outside of Burns, Oregon

Sage Thrasher

Sandhill Crane, in the rain

White-faced Ibis

Steens Mountain

Red-naped Sapsucker at HQ

White-throated Sparrow at HQ

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

California Thrasher

A rare bird reported near Medford two days earlier, I saw it 4/10/19. Photo shows two key field marks: large decurved bill, and buffy underparts that are darker on the chest.

This is the 6th Oregon Record, but apparently the homeowner reports that it is the 5th year that it has appeared in their yard, at 855 Holton Rd., in Talent, OR. I arrived at 4:30pm and it was singing from on top of the tallest tree, nearest the homeowner's mailbox.

Oregon lifer #411.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Chestnut-collared Longspur

Small gray bill, overall pale straw color, dark rear auriculars, light circle around eye, blurry streaks on chest and sides.

Differences from Smith's Longspur: it looked smaller than nearby Lapland Longspur (length of Chestnut-collared is 6", length of Lapland is 6.25", length of Smith's is 6.25" according to Sibley); streaks on breast were blurry, not fine; tail was mostly white with black triangle - black did not extend up the center part of the tail (see photo below).

Differences from McCown's Longspur: face was more contrasty with dark rear auriculars; bill was small gray, not large pinkish; tail was mostly white with black triangle, not a black T (see photo below).

Continuing bird, first reported on OBOL March 13 by Roy Gerig. Oregon lifer #410. About 8 other birders were there when I arrived a little before 9am, and a steady stream of birders arrived over the next hour. It was along a gravel road called Blueberry Road, in Linn County, in the countryside.
29196–29488 Blueberry Rd, Halsey US-OR (44.4264,-123.1858), Linn County, Oregon

Other interesting birds hanging out with the Chestnut-collared Longspur: a Snow Bunting and a Lapland Longspur, plus several Horned Larks.

Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting (left), Lapland Longspur (right)

Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow in Linn County

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Malheur in May

I visited Malheur NWR this past week with my husband Alan to see what birds had arrived in mid-May. We saw a very different cast of characters than on our trip one month ago in mid-April. The Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, most of the Sandhill Cranes, and the large numbers of ducks that we saw in April had all left. Yellow Warblers, Bullock's Orioles, and Western Tanagers (below) were abundant.
Tap or click on any photo to see sharper version.

Yellow-breasted Chats were singing at the entrance to Page Springs Campground, and all along the trail at the south end of the campground.

Western Kingbirds were everywhere, plus we saw several Eastern Kingbirds.

Bobolinks arrived around May 15, and a good place to see them is along Diamond Lane near the Diamond School. I watched several in the distance, disappearing into the dandelions in the field, then one appeared right on the fence post next to me along the road.

Two Lewis's Woodpeckers had been hanging around HQ for a few days.

The Ferruginous Hawk nest along Hwy 205 is being used again this year (it appeared to be empty last year), in the lone tree on the west side of the road, between MP 16 and 17. There were at least 2 baby hawks in the nest with an adult on Tuesday.

Diamond Craters is always a treat to visit, especially in the early morning. A Chukar ran across the road in front of our car on the way in. One Black-throated Sparrow was singing in the distance on top of a sage bush. A Vesper Sparrow was singing at crater #8. An adult Great Horned Owl and two young were perched along the rocky edge inside crater #6. Also at crater #6 were a Canyon Wren, a Rock Wren, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher (below).

Malheur HQ has a new gift shop, run by the Friends of Malheur NWR, located in the house-like building nearest to the photo blind, and next to the lilac hedge. The gift shop has been separated from the visitor center that is still in its same location.

On the way home we stopped at Idlewild Campground, just 17 miles north of Burns, and saw 2 Black-backed Woodpeckers.

The highlight of the trip for me was finding a Broad-winged Hawk that flew over HQ on May 20, and being able to capture a photo that shows its field marks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk at Malheur NWR HQ, 5/20/18.

I saw this bird flying overhead with stiff, fast wing beats. It's tail seemed too short to be an accipiter. It has a light supercillium and dark malar marks. The trailing edges of the wing are dark, as are the wing tips, and the primaries seem to form 4 fingers. It has coarse streaking on the full length of the underbody, especially the sides (and no patagial marks). The tail has narrow bands.