My trip to Malheur ended on a high note. As I was about to leave, a Ranger told me that some of the best shorebird viewing this year was at the north end of the refuge because the high water. So, I decided to visit that area on my way home.
As I was driving there, I spotted this Great Egret, closer to the road than any I’d seen so far:
The real surprise, though, came as I slowed down and started to get out of the car to get a better picture. As I checked the road for oncoming cars, I saw this Badger standing on the edge of the road:
I’ve never seen a badger in the wild before, and I thought seriously about trying to get even closer to get a better shot, but a glance at those long front nails convinced me that might not be a great idea, even though this guy seemed awfully mellow.
Birding was great on the north end of the refuge, good enough I thought briefly about staying another night. I managed to get closer to the White Pelicans,
got the best shot of the trip of a White-faced Ibis,
and spotted a personal favorite, a Black-Necked Stilt,
a bird I haven’t seen in over a year.