I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was a little disappointed by birding at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge the last few days, particularly since I managed to get up at 5:30 and get out birding before 7:00. Unfortunately, the sun was so low on the horizon that the early-morning shots weren’t as crisp as I’d like and were unusually warm. That’s the bad news, the good news is that this is still the best shot I’ve ever gotten of a Western Meadowlark.
Apparently, I caught the end of the Yellow-Rumped Warbler migration because they were everywhere, particularly at the Creek Trail by Longbarn and the light was great by the time I got there in early afternoon.
I actually cut my trip shorter than planned because of the low temperatures. It dropped to 15 degrees in Burns my last night there, and I found I wasn’t quite prepared to handle those low temperatures while sleeping in the car. It’s going to take better preparation on my part next time.
Another sure sign winter is approaching was the large number of raptors, which seemed to be everywhere. The most common were Northern Harriers, but my best bird shots were these two shots of the common Red-Tailed Hawk,
taken two days apart.
Common or not, I’m always impressed by the speed and power of these predators every time I see them up close like this.