Lesser Sandhill Cranes and a couple of Snow Geese with one being a Blue Morph on Greenhouse Lane close to Burns. Thousands of Snow Geese with a few Ross's Geese have amassed in the fields around Burns. Small groups of cranes, mostly Lessers as these, are also being observed in the fields. Hundreds of Tundra Swans are easily seen in flooded fields on HWY 205 just south of town. TB 03/2/14
Carla Burnside's Malheur NWR Report 3/7/2014
Spring is arriving at a fast pace on the Silvies Floodplain and on the Refuge.Silvies Floodplain viewing includes tundra swans, northern pintails, white fronted geese, Canada geese, white geese (probably a combination of Ross' and snow geese) and lesser and greater sandhill cranes. Bald eagles can still be seen at various locations.
A quick trip down the Center Patrol Road on the Refuge between Benson Pond and Bridge Creek resulted in this tally of bird species:
On Benson Pond – American Coots, American Wigeon, Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneye, Tundra Swans, Trumpeter Swans, and Northern Pintails.On Dredger Pond – Northern Pintails, Buffleheads, Mallards, Gadwall, Tundra Swans, and American Coots.
Along the Center Patrol Road – American Robins, Northern Flickers, California Quail, Ring-Necked Pheasant, and Raccoons.
Refuge Headquarters – Tree swallows, American Tree Sparrows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Starlings, California Quail, Juncos, Black-Billed Magpies, Buffleheads, American Coots, and Belding Ground Squirrels are out.
Great Horned Owl Photo Essay
I have been going through photo's that I took over the last year and thought I would share some of them in a photo essay format. My first subject has always been a favorite bird for many. The Great Horned Owls will begin to nest soon so it seemed fitting to start with our earliest nesters. I hope you enjoy these photos! Click here to see the gallery.
Harney County Christmas Bird Counts 2013
P-Ranch and Burns CBC were conducted on December 27 and 28. Species numbers were very low with Burns CBC recording 41 species, the lowest number since the count was started in 1998 and P-Ranch recorded 45. The California Quail count in Burns was among the lowest on record with just over 2000 birds. Last year there were over 4ooo as compared to over 10,000 on high counts in years past. It is felt that the extreme cold that hit this area earlier in December contributed to low numbers with parts of Harney County recording temperatures to -45 below zero and Burns -30. Any bird that could leave the area did and those that didn't may have perished. There was no open water in the Burns count and just a few spots in the P-Ranch count that were kept open by hot springs. There were no unusual birds seen during the counts this year. Click on the files below to see the list from the counts. My thanks to Rick Vetter for providing these. Though species numbers were low, it was a hoot birding with a great group of people who truly love this area.
A few of the vagrants that visited Harney County in 2013
Thanks to everyone who supplied their sightings and photos this past year. Photo credits and reporters names can be seen in the 2013 Vagrants section.
What is Harney Birder?
Harney County is located in the Southeast part of Oregon. Some would say it's in the middle of nowhere and indeed that's a safe description, but to the bird watching enthusiast it is the hub of Northwest birding. Noted for immense flocks of Ross's and Snow Geese and large numbers of Sandhill Cranes in early spring, the vagrant traps of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and Fields, and a diverse landscape of mountain, wetlands, and desert, it is a perfect combination for avian fauna! Harney Birder is for those that bird or will bird southeastern Oregon. Here you can find up to date reports on sightings or birding conditions in the area, best times to visit for area specialties and events of interest to the birder. Visit often, things will be updated constantly. Especially interesting will be the sightings area of the website. Here you will find birds of interest as they are sighted and where they are being seen. I do hope that you will find this website entertaining and informative.