Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Summer at Malheur - Weeks Five and Six: Marvelous Country / JULY 9 - 23, 2016

This is a truly marvelous country. The second half of my internship at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge began with the continuation of bird surveys of the water impoundments within the refuge. Aside from our duties counting avian silhouettes and feeding the mosquitos, we conducted an emergent vegetation survey of Buena Vista Pond via canoe and by trudging through towering bulrush, cattail, and reed-canary grass. I spent the weekends exploring Steens Mountain and the rugged country to the east. 

Oh, what marvels there are to see and to hear when one simply takes the time to look and listen with an open heart and an inquisitive mind.

daybreak at Boca Lake
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

Backlit birds are fun!

lots of birds on Boca
Boca Lake
Benson Pond
young buck Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus)

They come!

Thomas and the skeeters... who's eating who?
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
owl alley... or "the owlleyway"
we detected 7 barn owls within a 1/4 mile stretch

a Barn Owl (Tyto alba) tangled in the willows


White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)

California Quail (Callipepla californica)

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)

Its a dirty job...
an unfortunate Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) which appeared to have flown into power lines

overnight... the desert does its work quickly
The field station is a dangerous place.
a deceased Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata), most likely dropped by a raptor

Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayiI)

conducting emergent vegetation surveys by canoe on Buena Vista Pond

a Mallard feather
Broadfruit Bur-reed (Sparganium eurycarpum)

a Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla), no bigger than my thumb nail

Common Cattail (Typha latifolia)
Equisetum spp.

Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) nest in Hard Stemmed Bulrush (Scirpus acutus)

Franklin's Gulls (Leucophaeus pipixcan) and White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) at Marshall Pond

carp on the bank!

Krumbo Reservoir
Sheepshead Mountains looking toward West Peak WSA

Willow Creek hotsprings

Eight-spotted Skimmer (Libellula forensis)
Striped Meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes)

a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) at Fields Oasis with what might be avian conjunctivitis 

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii)
Borax Lake

first summer Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

a very loud cicada (Okanagana sp.)

Alvord dust devils

Mann Lake
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and a Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

Willet (Tringa semipalmata)

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
bee fly (Systoechus sp.)
Ruddy Copper (Lycaena heteronea)

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Western White (Pontia occidentalis)
Melissa Blue (Euphilotes spaldingi) (left) and Western White (Pontia occidentalis) (right)

Systoechus sp. (top left), Western White (Pontia occidentalis) (top right), and unidentified bee fly? (bottom left)
Ruddy Copper (Lycaena heteronea) (foreground) and Melissa Blue (Euphilotes spaldingi) (background)

unidentified owlet moth, Family Noctuidae

 A Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) forages on insects as it moves through the refuge during post-breeding dispersal.

Azita at Kiger Gorge

Kiger Gorge

unidentified aster at Kiger Gorge overlookworking on ID, perhaps Pyrrocoma sp.
Steens Mountain Thistle (Cirsium peckii)

Bombus sp.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)


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