Tim Boyer Photography

Small Groups, Cool Birds, Fun Locations

Spring Malheur NWR Workshop Report

Bird PhotographyTim Boyer
Inbetween displaying this Greater Sage-Grouse takes a stretch.
Inbetween displaying this Greater Sage-Grouse takes a stretch.

Spring migration is always fabulous, and at Malheur NWR this year despite the general lack of water there were more then enough birds to make us very happy photographers!  There were five male Greater Sage-Grouse on the lek, but no females.  But this in better then the first year after the fire that swept through when there were only two males on the lek.  While the decline from the days went there were 17 to to 22 grouse on the lek ten years ago is a drastic reduction, at least in the past couple of years there has been some slight improvement.

While photographing the Greater Sage-Grouse I had that funny feeling that I was being watched and when I looked up I was startled to see two Pronghorn in front of the car.  I think they were as startled as I was. But they stayed and I moved very slowly in the car as not to create too much movement and scare them away.  Of course, they were between me and the sun so I got some great morning glare and a little backlighting on them.  So that rule about always having your back to the sun in wildlife photogpraphy -- well, it's really only a suggestion.

What I guess to be the Pronghorn mom, came within 15 feet of me while I sat quitely in my car.
What I guess to be the Pronghorn mom, came within 15 feet of me while I sat quitely in my car.
The pronghorn juvenile stayed a little further away, but watched as the mom approached the Greater Sage-Grouse booming out their displays.
The pronghorn juvenile stayed a little further away, but watched as the mom approached the Greater Sage-Grouse booming out their displays.

There's a big movement of Yellow-rumped and Nashville Warblers going through the wildlife refuge this week.  This was the first time I'd been able to  photograph Nashville Warblers  so it was a real treat!

Spring migration was in full swing with the Nashville Warbler we found on Friday.
Spring migration was in full swing with the Nashville Warbler we found on Friday.
Lincoln's Sparrow at teh REfuge Headquarters was one of many sparrows we photographed.
Lincoln's Sparrow at teh REfuge Headquarters was one of many sparrows we photographed.
There wer Yellow-rumped Warblers all over the place, in the trees, bushes and in the sage brush.
There wer Yellow-rumped Warblers all over the place, in the trees, bushes and in the sage brush.
At Malheur where there's water there's birds? Well, on Ruh Red Road this year there's no water, but there are Kestrels!
At Malheur where there's water there's birds? Well, on Ruh Red Road this year there's no water, but there are Kestrels!
A Wilson's Snipe calling, along the road near the town of Burns, OR.
A Wilson's Snipe calling, along the road near the town of Burns, OR.

I like to shoot low to the ground, or eye level with the subject, but laying on a busy road isn't something I want to do everyday.  A few quick shots and I was up and back in the car!  It's a great feeling when you can watch a calling bird, stop, get a few images, and then when you leave it's still there calling.  Moving slowly and deliberately and being quiet helped me capture this image.

Enjoy!   Thanks, as Always   Tim