2022-04-26 Burns Again

Ferruginous Hawk - Buteo regalis
Malheur NWR has been one of my favorite Oregon birding destinations since I found my way there in December 2003. A few miles north of the refuge stands a lonely Juniper Tree that has hosted a Ferruginous Hawks nest for many years. I’ve seen nearly grown offspring there in the past. During this visit, the adult appeared to be sitting on eggs.

Having spent Monday night at the Narrows RV Park near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, I was ready to begin closing the gap to see my good friends in Payette Idaho. They served breakfast at the RV park, and I took advantage of their grub before saying goodbye to Malheur.

There is a lonely Juniper tree on the road to Burns from Malheur, a few miles north of the Narrows. It seems to be the only tree for miles around. On it is an enormous nest structure, where in the past, I’ve photographed an adult Ferruginous Hawk delivering food to four healthy young yet nearly grown hawklets. I stopped at the side of the road, while on my way towards Burns, to survey the nesting tree, and I spotted the top of a hawk’s head in the nest. I assume the bird was sitting on eggs. It might have been fun to see its mate bringing in a meal for its mate, but there might be hours before such an event. So, after collecting a few images, I continued my drive north.

When I reached Burns, where I’d spent the weekend, I couldn’t resist the temptation to swing by the agricultural fields north of town one last time before leaving the valley. After about 20 minutes at North Foley Drive, where most of my weekend time had been spent, I wandered off to explore the rural roads a mile to the east and found Ebenray Road, where a flooded field hosted a dense flock of gulls, ibis, geese, and shorebirds.

All the birds here were present at North Foley Drive, but only at a great distance. The birds here were much closer, and therefore more photogenic. I rarely get to visit with Franklin’s Gulls, and I enjoyed their company for a few hours before hitting the road in earnest to see my friends in Idaho.

I’m about a week late in posting this report. I spent more time capturing images in the Malheur-Burns region than I thought I would, but that’s typical of me. Also, I assigned myself some RV projects while I stayed in Payette with my friends. These enhancements took me longer than I’d hoped, and I have done no birding since capturing the images in the set shown here. I’m back on the road again today, and headed to the Jackson-Yellowstone region to meet up with my friend Joe Ford for about a week. Joe takes several trips to the region from his Salt Lake (Utah) home, and I should benefit from his expertise. His megafauna photographs are superlative. It should be fun!

Click map markers to reveal further information