April 21-22, 2012
One of the first trips we took in our camper was a January 2005 expedition to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex. We had a great time among the largest concentration of bald eagles and other raptors in the lower 48 states. It took another 8 years before we got around to exploring the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 150 miles to our east. Once we did we wondered why we had waited so long.
We were actually here a few weeks past the peak of activity along this section of the Pacific flyway but there were plenty of birds nonetheless. Even for a non-birder like myself, it was impossible not to be impressed by the sheer variety and number of birds that could be found in and around the refuge. In fact, more birds can be found outside the refuge than in it at this time of year.
The only thing more abundant than birds were insects. We saw (and drove through) billowing clouds of them. Fortunately, none of them bit; they were strictly flying food. It is easy to see why insect-loving birds would be attracted to the area. Yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds could be seen everywhere performing aerial manuevers as they plucked insects out of the air. As they paused to rest on a reed or a fencepost they would look up at all the insects and call out as if overwhelmed by the abundance.
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©2012 Timothy Linn. All Rights Reserved.