My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby Time at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Nesting has started to heat up and some babies are already growing.  Some Canada geese have almost grown children. The red-tailed hawks and golden eagles are almost grown. Avocets, black-necked stilts, and killdeer are sitting on their nests as are mallards, cinnamon teal and some of the other species.Sandhill crane pairs are appearing with their single orange colts.

This pair was about 400 yards away on a misty day, hence the softness
 Yesterday, as I was driving down to Double-O to pick up my bee traps and harvest the bees, I saw a Pronghorn Antelope running towards me, between the road and a fence, with a tiny baby, probably only a day or so old. She tried to get away from me by getting in the field behind the fence but they can't jump fences like deer, and it was a four-strand fence and she must not have thought she could get under it.

Suddenly, she veered across the road while her baby just disappeared.  It seemed to dive into the earth and be swallowed up.  I stopped the car and got out to look.  Even though I thought I knew where it had disappeared, I had to look for a minute to find it.  It was laying flattened to the ground in grass about eight inches high. I took a picture and quickly left so mom could circle around and collect it. The pronghorns go off and have their babies alone and stay alone until the baby is able to run with the herd.

The new-born pronghorn - I didn't take time to change my zoom but I was not near it. 

Last Friday I was driving three ladies on a tour. As we were driving slowly along the road, we flushed a black-necked stilt off her nest in the ditch, only about four feet away from our tires. I grabbed a shot of the eggs.

Black-necked stilt eggs

While I was collecting bees at Double-O, the intern who lives there came back and visited with me.  He said that that there were several avocet nests right along the road, past the turn to the house. So, I went back and found three avocet nests and one killdeer nest.  The killdeer nest was at the very edge of the road, using the gravel from the road.  The avocets were on the grassy verge and in a slightly safer place.

The killdeer was off her eggs and then came back and sat on them will the car was almost next to them.  Two of the avocets remained on there nests while I drove by twice. (I went past them and turned around and came back for the light and to have them on the driver's side.)  I found one nest unnoccupied - the avocets were feeding in the pond behind the nests and got pictures of their eggs. All these pictures were taken from the car to avoid stressing the birds.

One of many avocets nesting on Double - O Ranch

Avocet Eggs

Killdeer on nest
Killdeer eggs
Great Horned Owl on May 6.  It fledged sometime last week.

Golden eagle chick on May 11 - it is still in the nest