My first night at Malheur was almost nightmarish. I was woken up at about 2 AM when the main flap on my tent had blown open. I could never figure out how the wind could’ve possibly blown two zippers wide open. I had a hard time getting back to sleep because the car kept shuddering in the high winds. As I lay there wide-awake, I was grateful I wasn’t a bird out in those conditions. By morning the high winds had subsided, but there were low clouds and a steady drizzle. Not the weather I had expected.
Out birding early the next morning, I didn’t recognize what this bird was when I first saw it.
Despite its “blast-beruffled plume,” it greeted the morn with its beautiful Meadowlark song. Hopefully any potential mates judged it by its vocal ability, not its looks that bleak morning.
This young buck also looked a lot like I felt when I had to crawl out of my car at 2 AM in the morning to zip up my tent.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have a warm sleeping bag to crawl back into and had to wait for the morning sun to dry out.
The dark clouds made it difficult to get good shots of anything that wasn’t quite close, but I liked this undeniable silhouette of a White-Faced Ibis flying in the distance.
The scarcity of birds had me looking hard for subjects, or I doubt I would have noticed what I think is a little Willow Flycatcher hopping around on the ground under the Willows.
I had to remind myself that my worst day at Malheur is better than my best day gazing into my computer. Luckily, the trip steadily improved after its disastrous start, starting later that morning even before the sun finally began to break through the clouds.