May 1, 2015 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Bullock's Oriole
Bullock’s Oriole

My Last Day Here and Still Seeing New Birds

Usually when I arrive in a campground where I intend to stay more than a few days, I will set up a feeding station for the birds to see who may be in the area. I regret that I did not do that here until just my last few days here.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Bullock's Oriole
Bullock’s Oriole

This petite, and argueably the most beautiful of the orioles, the Bullock’s Oriole, appeared on the scene just a few moments after I quartered up an orange I thought was going bad, and stuck it in the tree that was only a couple feet from my dinette window. These two shots were taken from the inside of the motorhome, through two panes of glass with my 18-200mm lens, so forgive the lack of sharpness, but I couldn’t let this guy get away without some kind of shot..

Only a couple days before, I hung out a suet feeder and a small platform feeder with seeds and had several surprises appear out of nowhere, including a brilliant lazuli Bunting and three kinds of warblers. I really didn’t think there would be this kind of birdlife in a largely barren landscape, but the campground did have a lot of young trees planted among the campsites acting as a sort of oasis in the highland desert, and now I really wish I had gotten the bird attractants out sooner !

Old Orange Dumptruck
Another Watercolor Possibility

Located another possible watercolor candidate.

Jackrabbit Standoff
Jackrabbit Standoff

I decided to do one last run through the refuge this morning and came across these two Jackrabbits alternately fighting and then staring each other down.

Jackrabbit
Jackrabbit

I challenged myself to try and get a shot of a Jackrabbit going at high speed … and almost succeeded in doing so. Darn, they move quick. There is no shortage of these guys all throughout this area, along with their Cottontail cousins. Lots of fast food ( pun intended ) for the coyotes and larger raptors.

Gadwall Takeoff
Gadwall Takeoff

One more shot of a Gadwall takeoff.

Mystery Raptor
Help ! ID Please ?

A mystery ( to me ) raptor overhead, but I don’t dare hazard a guess as to who he is. After consulting my Sibleys, I still don’t have a clue. Help ?

Willets and a Curlew
Willets and a Curlew
Courting Willets
Courting Willets

I encountered a pair of Willets, apparently courting, with a Curlew observing.

Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier

And lastly, I had my final chance for my hoped for great  ” Gray Ghost ” shot, when I came upon this male Northern Harrier doing his preening routine within a decent distance of me. He kept pivoting constantly as he did so, first facing me, then turning around, so I waited patiently for ten minutes or more, waiting for him to finish up and take flight. I figured, with no wind, I had a 50/50 chance he would take off facing me and not leave me with yet another bird butt shot.

Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier

I lost ! And so my days at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge end. I didn’t get my hoped for images of this guy or the Short-eared Owl, but I’ll be back. Next time, for sure.

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8 thoughts on “May 1, 2015 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon”

  1. Good point re the bill. Just might have to change my mind and say that it is a juvenile Bald Eagle. The wrists are not as defined as a Rough Legged Hawk also.

  2. I’m no birder. My guess is a Kite. I live in the SF Bay Area. I was always calling a bird that looked similar to this one that you photographed a Hawk. A true birder told me one day that the bird I was watching was really a Kite.

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