My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Weekend of Birds

I've driven over 200 miles this weekend, just doing my job as wandering docent. That mostly means, I drive around slowly and take lots of pictures.

New birds are pouring into the refuge, with lots of reports of warblers.  I saw my first Malheur yellow warbler and common yellowthroat yesterday and was able to tell some other visitors how to find them. And today I saw my first California gull and Wilson's phaloropes at this refuge.

I took time to take the burrowing owl's picture.  The good news is that I could walk up to the fence and shoot in the spaces. The bad news is that the gnats were having a great feed on my face while I waited for the owl to stand up fully. He pops into his burrow when he feels threatened and then comes back up in a couple of minutes. However I was too late to get the picture of the great horned owl which is nesting under the bridge at the Narrows. I need to be there about 6:30 P.M. to get light on the nest and it was 7:30 when I finished birding Ruh- Red Road. There I had to tell a man that Fish and Wildlife does not rescue animals. He wanted us to rescue a pelican with a broken wing. But we have around 500 healthy pelicans on the refuge now. 

I "worked" about twenty-two hours this weekend and now have another hour's of work to enter my bird counts into ebird.  If you don't do this when you go birding, I hope you'll consider it.  The more of us that enter our data, the more scientists can figure out what is happening to birds. And it is a great way to confirm the birds you may not be sure of. If you enter a bird that is unusual for the area, you will get an automatic filter questioning you.  Then a real person will review the data and question you.  Sometimes, they will even be able to tell you which bird you actually saw, especially if you send pictures.

Least sandpipers are just starting to move through here

Eared grebes breed here and are paired up

First California gull I've identified here

We are overrun with yellow-headed blackbirds. The females came in today.

Long-billed curlews breed here

As do avocets

White-faced ibis are here by the hundreds and come to Malheur Lake to roost by the hundreds

This is the burrowing owl I send everyone to see.  If they are lucky, they get two owls sharing this burrow
Barn and tree sparrows posed for me yesterday and today

The sound of the bittern is much more common than a view of him.

Tree swallows are fighting over these houses. I get to watch them in my yard and along the auto tour I saw the female go inside this house.