Tim Boyer Photography

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Black-necked Stilt

Celebrate our National Wildlife Refuges -- Malheur NWR

Bird PhotographyTim Boyer2 Comments

It's National Wildlife Refuge Week, let's celebrate! My all time favorite National Wildlife Refuge is Malheur NWR.  I first went there around 2000 armed with a 300 mm lens and a 2x Extender with a Canon film camera.  I had heard there were Sandhill Cranes there, so I went there for a week in mid September looking for newly arrived cranes.  I think I heard a few, but I discovered so much more.  The abundance of birds, the wide open landscape, the room to breathe, just the freedom of the West, so prevalent in the High Desert of Eastern Oregon.  Here are just a few of the birds that can be found at Malheur, and a few landscape iamges as well.

A Sandhill Crane pauses during feeding to checkout the surroundings.

A Sandhill Crane pauses during feeding to checkout the surroundings.

From near the Refuge Headquarters a full moon rises over the landscape.

From near the Refuge Headquarters a full moon rises over the landscape.

Lake Malheur from The Narrows at sunset.

Lake Malheur from The Narrows at sunset.

When there's water at Malheur the birding and the bird photography is fantastic.  Didn't Roger Tory Peterson himself describe this a a birding place not to be missed!

A Black-necked Stilt chick foraging by the side of the road in a "wet" year.

A Black-necked Stilt chick foraging by the side of the road in a "wet" year.

An American Bittern by the side of the road in one of the years where tehre wre birds everywhere.

An American Bittern by the side of the road in one of the years where tehre wre birds everywhere.

One of my all time favoirte birds becasue of the way they sit side-ways and the sound they make when they dive through the eveing air.

One of my all time favoirte birds becasue of the way they sit side-ways and the sound they make when they dive through the eveing air.

Sunset on the high desert near Malheur Lake.

Sunset on the high desert near Malheur Lake.

White-faced Ibis flyinig near sunset.

White-faced Ibis flyinig near sunset.

In the spring, a huge variety of songbirds migrate thorugh the refuge, and migrate traps like the Malheur NWR Headquarters site arrtact them.

In the spring, a huge variety of songbirds migrate thorugh the refuge, and migrate traps like the Malheur NWR Headquarters site arrtact them.

I love the way Western Meadow Larks sining along the side of the road as I approach the refuge make me smile.

I love the way Western Meadow Larks sining along the side of the road as I approach the refuge make me smile.

Our National Wildlife Refuge system protects and preserves land and animals.  It's one of the things that makes America a great place.  I encourage everyone to visit a National Wildlife Refuge and for a few minutes just stop and listen.  You'll hear the natural world, birds, insects, and lots of  other animals.  Then plan to go out and experience a sunrise or a sunset at a Refuge, when the sun breaks the horizon it's usually magical.

If you'd like to join me on one of my photography workshops to Malheur Natioanl Wildlife Refuge, more information can be found here.

Many thanks to Sue from A Sense of Wonder for giving me the idea that I need to post about Wildlife Refuges this week.

Enjoy!        Thanks As Always          Tim

Wenas Canyon & Eastern Washington Workshop Report

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Just a quick update on the Wenas Canyon Eastern Washington Photography Workshop.  Here are a few images from the last two days!  

First shot of the two-day workshop. Beautiful light on this Mourning Dove.

First shot of the two-day workshop. Beautiful light on this Mourning Dove.

Day one was all about Western & Mountain Bluebirds. This Mountain Bluebird was very attentive to the chicks in the nest box. He made about 3 times the trips with food than the female.

Day one was all about Western & Mountain Bluebirds. This Mountain Bluebird was very attentive to the chicks in the nest box. He made about 3 times the trips with food than the female.

This Black-headed Grosbeak was pretty far away, so I had to crop this image quite a bit.

This Black-headed Grosbeak was pretty far away, so I had to crop this image quite a bit.

Day two started out with Burrowing Owls and I love the attitude this one is giving us.

Day two started out with Burrowing Owls and I love the attitude this one is giving us.

Our second stop was the County Line Ponds near Othello. This Black-necked Stilt is in the process of landing.

Our second stop was the County Line Ponds near Othello. This Black-necked Stilt is in the process of landing.

Wilson's Phalarope at County Line Ponds. For some reason, there are no American Avocets at the ponds but there were more Wilson's Phalaropes then I've seen there before.

Wilson's Phalarope at County Line Ponds. For some reason, there are no American Avocets at the ponds but there were more Wilson's Phalaropes then I've seen there before.

Lark Sparrow at the Ginko State Park in Vantage. We saw several and some had food they were carrying to chicks.

Lark Sparrow at the Ginko State Park in Vantage. We saw several and some had food they were carrying to chicks.

Rock Wren not on rocks but at the base of one of the large trees in the park.

Rock Wren not on rocks but at the base of one of the large trees in the park.

It was a fun two-day bird photography workshop.  We had some birds we didn't expect (like Lark Sparrow) and missed some we thought we'd get (like American Avocet).  There were seven chicks at the Burrowing Owl nest site, with two adults for  nine total an all time high, so that was good to see since their overall population in the Columbia Basin is declining.

Enjoy!     Thanks    Tim

Bird Quest 2014 #14

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Mating Avocets, Wilson's Phalaropes and Black-necked Stilts all in an 18 hour, 554 mile run through Eastern Washington.  

American Avocets on the County Line Ponds west of Othello, WA.

American Avocets on the County Line Ponds west of Othello, WA.

Saturday morning started out with a bitter cold wind, which kept the birds down and the light horrible for photography.  So we kept driving, trying to find a place we could photograph some Eastern Washington birds.  Finally towards the end of the day in the Othello area we hit Para Ponds and then the County Line Ponds. The weather changed to a warm pre-summer breeze, as if it was a different day all together.

Black-necked Stilt just after landing.

Black-necked Stilt just after landing.

The Avocets and the Stilts in the County Line Ponds are starting to mate, and we spent a couple of hours just sitting in one location, watching and photographing.  It was finally warm with a little bit of evening light, and we didn't leave until after 7 PM.

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope

There were fewer Black-necked Stilts at the ponds then in past years, but there were a lot more Wilson's Phalaropes.  The female Phalaropes were very bright and the smaller, less brightly colored males kept pretty close to them.

Say's Phoebe at Soap Lake State Park.

Say's Phoebe at Soap Lake State Park.

We stopped at Soap Lake in the morning when the windy was still up, but did manage to find a Say's Phoebe in a wind protected gully.  A long but rewarding day as we got to watch the Avocets, Stilts and Phalaropes for a couple of hours.  This brings the year total to 66 birds photographed.

Enjoy!

Thanks

Tim