Sunrise at the Field Station, just as the coyotes begin to celebrate the dawning sun.Right now White-crowned Sparrows from further north are sweeping southward through Oregon. Some will stay, many will move on. In Harney County there must be millions of these small sparrows passing each fall. Every where we went in the valley last week there were clouds of small birds in the bush, most often they turned out to be White-crowns. Here an adult White-crown and his rabbitbrush meal. The whole week we heard not a single sparrow song. Photos from right outside our dorm at Malheur Field Station. In photo below you can see the slender filaments from seeds protruding from the beak which is itself half an inch long. The rabbitbrush is known to botanists by the mouthful Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus. It is beloved of rabbits as well as sparrows as neither can healthfully eat the ubiquitous sagebrush in the steppe habitat of Malheur’s dry parts. Rabbitbrush is in full seed mode right now, in time for the passage of sparrows. Each tiny seed is a dot on a filament, as light as air, prone to move about with any breeze or sneeze.
You have to rest to digest.Great Horned Owl in Russian olive at Field Station.Two owls along Central Patrol Road–Great Horned, then Long-eared. Both were between Krumbo Road and Benson Not-a-Pond.Buena Vista in this very dry season.Red-naped Sapsucker in woods east of Benson Not-a-Pond.View toward Steens Mountain from Malheur Basin.Sage Thrashers,TV in tree.