Readers’ wildlife photos

June 24, 2022 • 8:15 am

Today’s photos come from UC Davis ecologist Susan Harrison. They’re birds, with one mammal thrown in for fun. Click the pictures to enlarge them.

BTW, I have enough photos for less than a week, so once again this feature is circling the drain.

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, May 6-11, 2022

Malheur NWR, in the high sagebrush desert of southeastern Oregon, is, alas, recently best known for having its headquarters taken over in 2016 by anti-government extremists.  Much more significantly, it’s a migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway and a rich breeding ground for resident wildlife.  Even in the current severe drought, snowmelt from 9,700-foot Steens Mountain provides water to the Donner und Blitzen River at the head of the refuge.  During our May visit, an unseasonable storm was the biggest challenge for the birds (and the birdwatchers).

Steens Mountain:

Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) in the snow:

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) female in the snow:

Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea), several hundred miles north of the species’ normal breeding range in the California Central Valley.  Maybe it got confused in the storm.

Sagebrush Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) singing on a rainy and snowy morning:

American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) huddling together for warmth… or is it love??

Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) nesting in a cave.  Look closely to see mom, dad, and a fluffy youngster:

Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) on her nest:

Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla):

MacGillivray’s Warbler (Geothlypis tolmiei):

Black Tern (Chlidonias niger):

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus):

Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis):

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia):

American Badger (Taxidea taxus):

6 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful photos. I hope the Blue Grosbeak survives there or can find his way back.
    It looks like a painting.
    Thank you for this array of gorgeous photos. The American Badger is something I would love to see in the wild like that. Wow!

  2. Great finds, Prof. Harrison, especially given the storm during your foray into the wildlife refuge. What a variety of birds! I love them all, and in particular the Great Horned Owls nesting in that cave. I had to look twice to spy the hidden babies and parent.

  3. These are excellent photos and include some fine birds that I have yet to see. If MacGillivray’s Warblers are as uncooperative as our closely related Mourning Warbler of the east, you’ve done really well to get such a good photo (and even if they aren’t!). It is really interesting to see Great Horned Owls nesting in a cave. I felt that this should have been a “Spot the …”. It took me quite a while to see the youngster.

  4. This was a diverse batch of photos, thanks. I especially liked the owls and the badger with its muddy nose. That poor black headed grossbeak looks miserable in that wet weather!

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