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Stop 8 - Southeast Oregon : MALHEUR NWR

The following page is devoted to my roadtrip photos of birds at Malheur NWR in southeast Oregon. Clearly, I did not photograph every kind of bird that can be found at Malheur NWR, but I have provided a selection of some of my favorite photos of the birds I did happen to see as I passed through.


Three years later, in June 2011, I returned to Malheur with my dad. In 24 hours, we saw 76 different species of birds,  which is pretty impressive diversity for one area. We had so much fun that we returned the following May 2012; this time we saw 91 different species of birds in a few days! Combining the lists from my 2008, 2011, and 2012 trips, I've seen 105 different species at Malheur. I included some of my photos from the 2011 and 2012 trips in an additional section at the bottom of this page.


Birds I saw at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

June 4-6, 2008

From North Dakota, I drove west through Yellowstone, where I had planned to stop for a few days. However, it was snowing (in June!) and the lighting was abysmal for photography, so I continued onward to my next birding stop at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon. I had always pictured southeastern Oregon as endless miles of dry desert. However, Malheur boasts the largest freshwater marsh in the western United States, surrounded by 187,000 acres of meadows, ponds, alkali flats, shrub uplands, and rimrocks. The Refuge is located on the Pacific Flyway, and is an important spring refueling point for migrant birds heading north to their nesting grounds. As a result, the Refuge is a regional center for species diversity and abundance of local and migrant birds. It also serves as an excellent vagrant trap.

Since Malheur is so large, I focused my efforts at certain locations, and drove slowly on the dirt roads in-between. Refuge Headquarters, Benson Pond, and P-Ranch were great for songbirds, and the marshes between were teeming with ducks, grebes, teals, herons, and more. I saw more species in my first day at Malheur than I had seen at any other single place on my travels. I enjoyed the constant serenade of swallows (at one point I saw four different kinds on one branch!), flycatchers (there were at least seven different kinds), blackbirds (three different kinds), and ducks (I stopped counting when I reached ten different kinds). I woke up before sunrise one morning in hopes of spotting a Virginia Rail, but although I heard their distinct metallic frog-like squeaking chirp, they remained hidden in the reeds.

I saw so many different birds on my trip, but I found a few at Malheur that I did not see anywhere else on my travels, such as the Canvasback, Horned Grebe, California Quail, and Western Tanager.

After a few days at Malheur, I retraced my path and returned to Yellowstone, in hopes of an improved weather since I had passed through a few days previous….

AVOCET:
    American
BLACKBIRD:
    Brewer's
    Red-winged
    Yellow-headed
BOBOLINK
CANVASBACK
CHAT:
    Yellow-breasted
COOT:
    American
COWBIRD:
    Brown-headed
CROW:
    American
CURLEW:
    Long-billed
DOVE:
    Mourning
DUCK:
    Ruddy
EGRET:
    Great
FLICKER:
    Northern
FLYCATCHER:
    Olive-sided
    Willow
    Unidentified
GADWALL
GOLDFINCH:
    American

GOOSE:
    Canada
GREBE:
    Eared
    Horned
    Pied-billed
    Western
GROSBEAK:
    Black-headed
GULL:
    Franklin's
    Ring-billed
HARRIER:
    Northern
HAWK:
    Red-tailed
HERON:
    Great Blue
IBIS:
    White-faced
KILLDEER
KINGBIRD:
    Eastern
    Western
MAGPIE:
    Black-billed
MALLARD
MEADOWLARK:
    Western
NIGHTHAWK:
    Common
ORIOLE:
    Bullock's

OWL:
    Great Horned
PELICAN:
    American White
PHALAROPE:
    Wilson's
PHOEBE:
    Say's
QUAIL:
    California
RAVEN:
    Common
REDHEAD
ROBIN:
    American
SCAUP:
    Lesser
SHOVELER:
    Northern
SISKIN:
    Pine
SNIPE:
    Common
SPARROW:
    House
    Song
STARLING:
    European
STILT:
    Black-necked

SWALLOW:
    Barn
    Cliff
    Northern Rough-winged
    Tree
    Violet-green
TANAGER:
    Western
TEAL:
    Cinnamon
TERN:
    Black
    Forster's
VIREO:
    Warbling
VULTURE:
    Turkey
WARBLER:
    Townsend's
    Wilson's
    Yellow
WAXWING:
    Cedar
WILLET
WOOD-PEWEE:
    Western
WREN:
    House
    Marsh
YELLOWTHROAT:
    Common

(My favorite photos are highlighted.)


American Avocet.

Brewer's Blackbird (male).

Brewer's Blackbird (female).

Red-winged Blackbird.

Yellow-headed Blackbird.

Boblink.

Canvasback.

Yellow-breasted Chat.

American Coot.

Brown-headed Cowbird.

American Crow flying against morning clouds.

Long-billed Curlew.

Mourning Dove.

Ruddy Duck.

Great Egret.

Northern Flicker.

Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Willow (?) Flycatcher.

Unidentified Flycatcher.

Gadwall.

American Goldfinch.

Canada Goose.

Eared Grebe.

Horned Grebe.

Pied-billed Grebe.

Western Grebe.

Black-headed Grosbeak (male).

Black-headed Grosbeak (female).

Franklin's Gull.

Ring-billed Gull.

Northern Harrier (female).

Red-tailed Hawk.

Great Blue Heron and Oregon volcanic mountain behind.

White-faced Ibis.

Killdeer.

Eastern Kingbird.

Western Kingbird.

Black-billed Magpie (juvenile).

Mallard.

Western Meadowlark.

Common Nighthawk.

Bullock's Oriole (male).

Bullock's Oriole (1st year male).

Bullock's Oriole (female).

Great Horned Owl juveniles.

American White Pelican.

Wilson's Phalarope.

Say's Phoebe.

California Quail.

Common Raven.

Redhead.

American Robin.

Pair of Lesser Scaup.

Northern Shoveler.

Pine Siskin.

Common Snipe.

House Sparrow on fence.

Song Sparrow.

European Starling.

Black-necked Stilt.

Barn Swallow.

Cliff Swallow.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

Tree Swallow.

Violet-green Swallow.

Western Tanager.

Cinnamon Teal.

Black Tern.

Forster's Tern.

Warbling Vireo.

Turkey Vulture.

Townsend's Warbler (female).

Wilson's Warbler.

Yellow Warbler.

Cedar Waxwings napping on branches.

Willet.

Western Wood-Pewee (?).

House Wren.

Marsh Wren.

Common Yellowthroat.


Birds I saw at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

June 1-3, 2011   &   May 18-21, 2012

Three years later, in June 2011, I returned to Malheur with my dad. In 24 hours, we saw 76 different species of birds,  which is pretty impressive diversity for one area. We had so much fun that we returned the following May 2012; this time we saw 91 different species of birds in a few days! Combining the lists from my 2008, 2011, and 2012 trips, I've seen 105 different species at Malheur. These 105 species and the trip(s) they were spotted are listed in the following table.

Following the table is a selection of my favorite photographs from the 2011 and 2012 trips.
 

Species spotted 2008, 2011, & 2012 trips

1
American AVOCET 2008 2011 2012
2 American BITTERN   2011 2012
3 Brewer's BLACKBIRD 2008 2011 2012
4 Red-winged BLACKBIRD 2008 2011 2012
5 Yellow-headed BLACKBIRD 2008 2011 2012
6   BOBOLINK 2008   2012
7 Lazuli BUNTING   2011 2012
8   CANVASBACK 2008    
9 Yellow-breasted CHAT 2008   2012
10 American COOT 2008 2011 2012
11 Double-crested CORMORANT 2008 2011 2012
12 Brown-headed COWBIRD 2008 2011 2012
13 Sandhill CRANE     2012
14 American CROW 2008 2011 2012
15 Long-billed CURLEW 2008    
16 Eurasian Collared DOVE     2012
17 Mourning DOVE 2008   2012
18 Ruddy DUCK 2008 2011 2012
19 Great EGRET 2008 2011 2012
20 Northern FLICKER 2008 2011 2012
21 Gray FLYCATCHER   2011  
22 Olive-sided FLYCATCHER 2008 2011  
23 Willow FLYCATCHER 2008 2011 2012
24   GADWALL 2008 2011 2012
25 Blue-grey GNATCATCHER     2012
26 American GOLDFINCH 2008 2011 2012
27 Canada GOOSE 2008 2011 2012
28 Eared GREBE 2008   2012
29 Horned GREBE 2008    
30 Pied-billed GREBE 2008 2011 2012
31 Western GREBE 2008 2011 2012
32 Black-headed GROSBEAK 2008 2011 2012
33 Franklin's GULL 2008 2011 2012
34 Ring-billed GULL 2008 2011 2012
35 Northern HARRIER 2008 2011 2012
36 Red-tailed HAWK 2008 2011 2012
37 Black-crowned Night HERON 2008   2012
38 Great Blue HERON 2008 2011 2012
39 Black-chinned HUMMINGBIRD     2012
40 Calliope HUMMINGBIRD   2011  
41 White-faced IBIS 2008 2011 2012
42 Western Scrub JAY   2011  
43 American KESTREL     2012
44   KILLDEER 2008 2011 2012
45 Eastern KINGBIRD 2008   2012
46 Western KINGBIRD 2008 2011 2012
47 Ruby-crowned KINGLET   2011 2012
48 Horned LARK   2011 2012
49 Black-billed MAGPIE 2008 2011 2012
50   MALLARD 2008 2011 2012
51 Western MEADOWLARK 2008 2011 2012
52 Common NIGHTHAWK 2008   2012
53 Bullock's ORIOLE 2008 2011 2012
54 Great Horned OWL 2008 2011 2012
55 Short-eared OWL     2012
56 American White PELICAN 2008 2011 2012
57 Wilson's PHALAROPE 2008 2011 2012
58 Ring-necked PHEASANT   2011 2012
59
Say's PHOEBE 2008    
60 Northern PINTAIL   2011 2012
61 California QUAIL 2008 2011 2012
62 Common RAVEN 2008 2011 2012
63   REDHEAD 2008 2011 2012
64 American ROBIN 2008 2011 2012
65 Greater/Lesser SCAUP 2008   2012
66 Northern SHOVELER 2008 2011 2012
67 Loggerhead SHRIKE   2011 2012
68 Pine SISKIN 2008 2011  
69
Common SNIPE 2008 2011 2012
70   SORA     2012
71 House SPARROW 2008 2011 2012
72 Savannah SPARROW   2011 2012
73 Song SPARROW 2008 2011 2012
74 European STARLING 2008 2011 2012
75 Black-necked STILT 2008 2011 2012
76 Bank SWALLOW     2012
77 Barn SWALLOW 2008 2011 2012
78 Cliff SWALLOW 2008 2011 2012
79
Northern Rough-winged SWALLOW 2008   2012
80 Tree SWALLOW 2008 2011 2012
81 Violet-green SWALLOW 2008 2011  
82 Trumpeter SWAN 2008 2011  
83 Western TANAGER 2008 2011 2012
84 Blue-winged TEAL   2011  
85 Cinnamon TEAL 2008 2011 2012
86 Black TERN 2008 2011 2012
87 Common TERN     2012
88 Forster's TERN 2008 2011 2012
89
Sage THRASHER     2012
90 Spotted TOWHEE     2012
91 Cassin's VIREO     2012
92 Warbling VIREO 2008 2011 2012
93 Turkey VULTURE 2008 2011 2012
94 Townsend's WARBLER 2008    
95 Wilson's WARBLER 2008   2012
96 Yellow WARBLER 2008 2011 2012
97 Cedar WAXWING 2008 2011 2012
98   WILLET 2008 2011 2012
99
Downy WOODPECKER     2012
100 Lewis's WOODPECKER   2011 2012
101 Western WOOD-PEWEE 2008 2011  
102 House WREN 2008   2012
103 Marsh WREN 2008 2011 2012
104 Rock WREN   2011  
105 Common YELLOWTHROAT 2008 2011 2012

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