Tag Archives: Ring necked pheasant

April 21-25, 2017 Malhuer NWR, Oregon

Grey Ghost

Grey Ghost

I arrived at The Narrows RV Park and set up camp. Very nice, well maintained campground where I have stayed a few times before. About 20 miles south of Burns and only a couple of miles from the refuge headquarters, this is a convenient spot to stay.

My first day out I encountered nine different male Northern Harriers, the grey ghosts, and Malhuer is one of the few places I have ever found that these guys can be found in numbers. But for some strange reason, I never again encountered more than one or two of them again during the rest of my stay.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Meadowlarks were out singing for mates all throughout the refuge.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

I almost always get some good chances at capturing the brilliantly colored male Ring-necked Pheasants here, but never quite like this sequence.

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

He was escorting two hens and not 30 feet from me started this “rooster crowing” display.

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Can’t say it really sounded anything like a “cookie-doodle-dooo”, but it must do something for the gals.

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

Ringneck Pheasant

American Bittern

American Bittern

Another pleasant surprise was getting a chance at a couple of bitterns, this guy assuming his classic camouflage position, apparently not realizing he was surrounded with short green grass, not his usual hiding spot within the taller straw colored grasses.

Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew

Curlews and white-faced ibis were plentiful throughout the refuge this spring…

Willet

Willet

… as were willets, this one perched high up on the smokestack of an incinerator, kind of an unusual spot to see one.

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April 17, 2015 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

Yesterday I left Winnemucca about 10 AM after visiting WalMart looking for RV antifreeze ( I want to be prepared next time ), of course, this particular store didn’t have any, and then filling both gas and propane tanks at the Flying J across the road. Drove about 180 miles of very straight, flat, boring high desert terrain north on Route 95, then north on Route 78 to the Malheur NWR. Turning off Route 78 onto Lava Bed Road, I travelled a few miles and came to a sudden fork in the road with a tiny sign pointing right to the refuge that I didn’t see until too late, so ended up driving an extra 20 miles as I looped south on what turned out to be the Diamond Loop, and that eventually got me to Route 205, where I turned north and pulled into the Narrows RV Park around 4 PM.

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

Narrows RV Park

Narrows RV Park

The Narrows RV Park is directly on Route 205 and has about 40 spaces, both pull through and backin and really worked out to be a convenient place to stay. Full hookups with 30 or 50 amp electric with flat , pea stone sites, as usual much too close together.

Narrows RV Park

Narrows RV Park

During my stay there were only 5 or 6 other folks here so the closeness wasn’t a problem. I paid their $157 weekly rate so that came to $ 22.50/night, a good deal for a well kept park with friendly, helpful owners.

Malhuer NWR

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Malheur is a very large refuge with a wide variety of reasons to come here and shoot wildlife. I may as well start off with my first wonderful discovery here, this appears to be the home of all of North Americas male Northern Harriers. 🙂  This has been one of the most elusive birds on my must photograph list.

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

 

 

 

 

 

 

I swear that I have seen a hundred female Harriers for every one male Harrier pretty much everywhere I have been. Never have understood how that works. But here at Malhuer I am seeing many more males than females, and finally am having opportunities to capture a decent image of the ” Gray Ghost “.

Male Northern Harrier

Male Northern Harrier

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

And then there is another of my favorite subjects here in abundance, the brilliantly colored Ring-necked Pheasant.

Ring-necked Pheasant Pair

Ring-necked Pheasant Pair

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

Today I drove the length of the center refuge road all the way south to Frenchglen and these guys were all over the open meadows along this washboardy gravel road.

Malhuer NWR Sandhill Cranes

Malhuer NWR Sandhill Cranes

There were a few pairs of Sandhill Cranes present feeding …

Sandhill Cranes preflight routine

Sandhill Cranes preflight routine

.. and then going through their weird pre-flight routine of leaning into the wind for several steps before running and powering off.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis

A huge flock of White-faced Ibis was feeding along the shore of one of the many small ponds along the road.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis

This bird usually appears as a dull dark brown creature, until the light hits him just so and all the iridescent colors come shining forth.

Red Wing Blackbird

Red Wing Blackbird

Swallows

Swallows

There is quite an assortment of small birds along the road,

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

as well as ducks, including these Mallards I managed to catch as they took off.

Mallard in Flight

Mallard in Flight

Mulie Hop

Mulie Hop

Mule deer and pronghorns were also encountered on this first drive through the refuge. The mule deer’s strange pogo stick hop when fleeing always amuses me. Jack rabbits as well as cottontails are present in large numbers.

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

Canada Goose Takeoff

And then there are Canadian Geese, lots of Canadian Geese. I generally forego photographing these large, some think, far too numerous birds, but I did like this takeoff sequence, so here it is.

My first impression of Malhuer NWR is… WOW ! Think I will be spending a little more time here than I originally planned. Stay tuned !

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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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October 13, 2014 Willard Bay State Park, Utah

American avocets

American avocets

Another Trip into the Bear River Migratory Bird Management Area

By sunrise this morning I had already made it to the road leading into the refuge

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

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

As I drove the 12 mile road, I spotted a northern harrier perched on a post where I had noticed her on another trip in here. The sun had barely made it over the mountains to the east and there wasn’t a lot of light, but I turned around, checked my camera settings, and circled back to her location. As I slowed down, I could see she was ready to take off, but I got off one quick shot. Foiled once again I assumed. But when processing images, I kind of liked the shot, even though her head is turned the wrong way, liked the early morning feel of the image as well as the background.

ring necked pheasant

Yet another ring necked pheasant tease

And, of course, the ring necked pheasants once again had to tease me, getting a little closer, but still not close enough.

Though there weren’t all that many hunters around today, the ducks were still hiding out somewhere other than here.

American avocet

American avocet

American avocet

American avocet

American avocet

American avocet

 

 

 

 

 

American avocet

American avocet

American avocet

American avocet

Though I didn’t get a single shot on the entire loop road within the refuge, on the way back out there were a couple American Avocets feeding in one of the shallow ponds along the entry road, and these guys were very cooperative this morning.

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