Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Malheur - Mother's Day 2017

Burrowing Owls, a few mi. S of Wrights Point

Krumbo Pond

Mountain Bluebird, 1 mi. south of Frenchglen

Black-throated Gray Warbler, 1 mi. south of Frenchglen

Prairie Falcon, on Diamond Lane near CPR

A Golden Eagle landed right next to our car between Burns and Crane

Buena Vista ponds

Along the CPR

We spent 4 days birding at Malheur NWR over Mother's Day weekend. We were so happy to be able to go into the HQ grounds, and to see the visitor center open again! One change is that the south side road to the disabled parking spots is controlled by a locked gate, and you must call the phone numbers posted on the gate for access. One positive change is that they have added 3 benches in that SE corner, a prime spot for watching the trees early in the morning to see what flies in from the sage-covered hills. Another change is that they no longer allow access to the boat ramp area north of HQ.

There was a lot more water than last year at this time: at the Narrows; in many of the fields between Burns and HQ; and all over the refuge. We were also glad to see that Krumbo Pond (on the way to Krumbo reservoir) has water again, unlike the past 2 years. Krumbo Pond had a great variety of ducks: Redhead, Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, American Wigeon, Mallard; plus Wilson’s Phalaropes, Eared Grebes, Black-crowned Night Herons, and Canyon Wrens calling from along the edges.

HQ was full of Western Tanagers, Lazuli Buntings, Warbling Vireos, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Yellow Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers and various flycatchers during 2 days of bad weather last week (rain and snow). Also present at HQ were a Cassin’s Vireo, nesting Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, and Bullocks Orioles. We saw Bobolinks and flocks of White-faced Ibis near Diamond School; Burrowing Owls along Hwy 205 north of Ruh Red Road; and Yellow-breasted Chats singing away at the entrance to Page Spring CG.

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