April 24, 2017 Malhuer NWR, Oregon

Abandoned Ranch
Abandoned Ranch

More From Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge

Ruddy Drake
Ruddy Drake

Always get a kick out of the male Ruddy Duck and his sky blue bill during breeding season.

Redhead Pair
Redhead Pair
Redheads Takeoff
Redheads Takeoff

Plenty of ducks encountered this week while driving through the refuge and was able to get a few decent flight shots when there was enough light, lots of overcast mornings.

Ring-neck Drake Takeoff
Ring-neck Drake Takeoff
Mallard Drake in Flight
Mallard Drake in Flight
Gadwall Takeoff
Gadwall Takeoff
Cinnamon Teal Pair
Cinnamon Teal Pair

This pair of Cinnamon Teal have been found on this spot every day this week, so I assume she is sitting on some eggs.

Cinnamon Teal Drake
Cinnamon Teal Drake
Avocets
Avocets

American Avocets hunting along the flooded fields.

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew
Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

This Sandhill was one of several pairs out hunting the flooded cow pastures along the highway.

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

A completely drenched Ferruginous hawk manning his roadside hunting perch during one of this week’s showers.

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

The look says it all, he doesn’t care for this weather any more than I do.

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October 17, 2014 Willard Bay State Park, Utah

American Avocets Siesta
American Avocets Siesta

Finally Got My Pheasant ( plus a surprise find ! )

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

Made a morning and an afternoon trip to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge today and my patience and persistence finally paid off with my nemesis, the ring necked pheasants ! For over a week I have been being teased by these guys,

Ring Necked Pheasant Running Away
Ring Necked Pheasant Running Away

either they are running and too far off,

Ring Necked Pheasant
Ring Necked Pheasant

or, less often, too close with a poor background.

Ring Necked Pheasant
Ring Necked Pheasant

The light is too low or the grass is too high,

Ring Necked Pheasant
Ring Necked Pheasant
Ring Necked Pheasant Hiding
Ring Necked Pheasant Hiding

or they hunker down and hide as soon as I approach.

But today, I finally had one pose just the way I hoped I would eventually find one, not too far away and without deep grass half concealing his brilliant plumage.

Ring necked pheasant
Ring necked pheasant

Only took a week !

But then, later as I drove the loop road in the refuge where I didn’t expect to find any of these guys, I had a male dart across the road in front of me and run into the grasses by the canal. With only 15 feet of land between the road and the water, I figured I could probably flush him out if I got out of the car and walked the edge of the road. So with the monster 600mm lens attached and camera settings ready for a flight shot, I walked to the edge of the road … and he just exploded out of the grass, less than 20 feet in front of me.

Ring Necked Pheasant Flushed
Ring Necked Pheasant Flushed

Now, it’s not perfectly sharp, a 600mm lens is not meant to be handheld, but it’s not bad at all, I love the action and the blurred background, the long trailing tail feathers, and the backlighting has the wing feathers glowing. I’m actually kind of proud of this shot , mainly because of the degree of difficulty, and the fact that I worked for more than a week to get it.

Then, only a little farther along the loop road, I received a totally unexpected treat … a long tailed weasel !

Long Tailed Weasel
Long Tailed Weasel

Can’t say I have ever seen one of these before, and got a big kick out of watching him bounce around amongst the reeds and grasses.

Long Tailed Weasel
Long Tailed Weasel
Long Tailed Weasel
Long Tailed Weasel

He is tiny, so getting him without the grass concealing most of him took a little doing, but I was pleasantly surprised by how fearless he was of my presence, he almost seemed curious about me, and kept coming out and standing up to check on me.

But eventually, he went back to doing what he was here for, hunting for lunch,

Long Tailed Weasel With Lunch
Long Tailed Weasel With Lunch

and he proudly showed me what was on the menu.

Long Tailed Weasel With Lunch
Long Tailed Weasel With Lunch

I couldn’t resist more shots of the American Avocets in a small pond on the way out of the refuge.

American Avocet Reflection
American Avocet Reflection
American Avocets Siesta
American Avocets Siesta

All in all, a successful day at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

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