Think Green

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is much greener this year than it has been for years due to an unusually wet Winter. Still, I wasn’t ready for what we saw on the two days we were there. Page Springs Campground was almost tropical. Red-wing Blackbirds

staked their claim to the ponds at the entrance to the campground.

This fawn nearly disappeared in the tall grass lining the creek at the south end of the refuge,

though I suspect it might have been harder to spot if the grass was its usual brown color.

I’m not sure I would have ever been able to spot this Nighthawk if it hadn’t been for the tall green grass lining the main road.

The creeks that lined the road were emerald-green, reflecting the vivid green reeds and grasses that lined them. This Cinnamon Teal seemed even more striking than usual by contrast.

It wasn’t as green on the northern end of the refuge, though this is the first time in several years there’s been any water there. Like the fawn, this Meadowlark stood out against the green background.

It appeared that the refuge managers haven’t flooded parts of the refuge that are usually flooded, making it harder to predict where to find birds you’ve seen in the past. I wondered if managers were intentionally draining some ponds to help eradicate the carp that damage the habitat. Whatever the reason, wildlife seemed more dispersed than in the previous two or three years because there is more water available, a good thing for the wildlife even if not quite so good for photographers and bird watchers.