Friday, July 1, 2016

My Summer at Malheur - Weeks Two and Three: Grasshopper Occupation / JUNE 23 - 30, 2016

My internship at Malheur NWR continued after returning from a 5 day trip to Crater Lake National Park, where Emma and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. Upon my arrival back at the field station, I discovered that the refuge had been occupied. This time not by anti-government militants, but by hoards of grasshoppers. The burst of biomass provided a feast for many species of animals throughout the north end of the refuge. We continued impoundment bird and Monarch/Milkweed surveys, as well as deployed bat monitoring equipment on the refuge during these weeks.

Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

Clear-winged Grasshopper (Camnula pellucida)

hopper carpet
a large group of Franklin's, Ring-billed, and California Gulls feeding on the plethora of grasshoppers

Harney Lake seen from dunes
Double O Ranch

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus)

Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
Owl feather
a Great Horned fledgling
White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)

Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)

Doublehorn Calicoflower (Downingia bicornuta)
Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)

Mr. Cool-guy at Stinking Lake

Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor)
Ibis feather
Wilson's Phalaropes

Wandering Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans vagrans)
continuing hopper feast

I stepped away from the refuge over the weekend of June 25th and 26th to participate in the Oregon 2020 Jefferson County Blitz. My good friend and survey partner for the day, Azita Roshani, is seen here watching Canyon Wrens, Prairie Falcons, and Bald Eagles from the rim rock above Lake Billy Chinook. 
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Oregon 2020 Jefferson County Blitz crew tailgate at Calliope Crossing
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

Willet (Tringa semipalmata)

coyote pups (Canus latrans)

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorusI)
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

Red-tailed Hawk fledgling
Sodhouse Ranch longbarn

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
rookery in Sodhouse Ranch cottonwoods
Thomas settings up a high-frequency microphone and recorder for bat monitoring on the refuge.

Thomas replacing an impoundment depth gauge

Lava Pit Crater at Diamond Craters Outstanding Natural Area

Owl pellet

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus)
Becker's White (Pontia beckerii)

Mimulus spp.
the Malheur Maar

Western White (Pontia occidentalis) among others
5th instar Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippuson milkweed 

Cabbage White (Pontia rapae)

American Badger (Taxidea taxus)
Look at those ears!

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

The binomial name of this species is derived from the Latin for "four eyes". The antennal base of this beetle bisects the eyes.

adult Monarch Butterfly on milkweed

Long-billed Curlew continuing the ongoing hopper feast
White-faced Ibis getting in on the action
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)
Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya)


  1. Love the bat monitoring. I also envy the sightings like the red beetle and the badger. I would love to see a badger! And snake and reptile sightings. Keep it up, enjoying the account and the pictures.