Weather is a State of Mind

Although my first morning at Malheur started off rather bleakly, the birding suddenly got interesting when I spotted this Great Horned Owl across the creek being pestered by two Red-Wing Blackbirds.

 Great Horned Owl

It was clear that he was ignoring them and seemed nearly as indifferent to me when he stared right at me.

 Great Horned Owl

Unfortunately, the photos are not nearly as sharp as they should have been at that distance, but, considering the ISO was at 12800, they seem remarkably good shots.

Although the light had improved somewhat by the time I saw a second Great Horned Owl down the road,

Great Horned Owl

the light was still so low that the shots of it in flight weren’t worth keeping. It seems to be one of the unwritten Laws of Wildlife Photography that you get your best sightings on the cloudiest days when it’s nearly impossible to get top-quality shots, no matter how good the equipment you’re using.

That Law was followed all the way to the end of the road. I had the pleasure of seeing two birds I’ve never seen before, but the light was poor enough that I wasn’t sure what this bird was until I had adjusted it with Aperture and Photoshop. It turned out to be what I thought it was, a Yellow-Breasted Chat, a rarely seen bird.

Yellow-Breasted Chat

I also saw my first-ever Bobolink,


which I would have probably missed if two visitors hadn’t told me that they were in this field. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would have dismissed them as Red-Wing Blackbirds without forewarning.

By the end of the morning I’d convinced myself that no matter what the weather was like I would have to stay another day to get better shots of these birds. That, plus the fact I was really enjoying myself no matter how bad the weather or how bad the night before was. For me, weather is as much a state of mind as a meteorological condition.

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