Spring birds: Bird Weekly Photo Challenge

The challenge this week is to show photos of birds seen over the past two weeks. As spring progresses, more and more birds, and tourists, are showing up.

Here’s a California scrub-jay perched on an interpretive sign in Bend, acting like a tourist. They change the flags displayed on this bridge throughout the year. On this day, they happened to match the jay.

Spring birds California scrub-jay

I’ve been seeing this lone swan near the flag bridge for several weeks. It was hard to figure out if it was a tundra swan or the less common trumpeter swan. It finally got within a few feet of me last week. It’s a tundra swan. See the bit of yellow near the eye? They don’t always have the yellow patch, but it’s the best clue.

Tundra swan in Bend, Oregon

For comparison, here’s a trumpeter swan we saw this week at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The skin between the eye and bill is thicker and all black.

Trumpeter swan at Malheur NWR

More Malheur spring birds

We saw lots of birds at Malheur as we traveled along the Center Patrol Road.

There were several hawks hunting over the meadows. Here’s a rough-legged hawk taking off from a willow tree.

Marsh hawk in flight

We saw a few pairs of ring-necked pheasants foraging near the road. They’re not native to Oregon, but they fit right into the basin and range habitat.

Ring-necked pheasant at Malheur NWR

We saw several sandhill cranes, but not as many as I expected to see. These two were showing me their best side and only putting their heads up one at a time.

  • Sandhill cranes at Malheur NWR
  • Sandhill cranes at Malheur NWR

This flooded field, north of Malheur, had several kinds of waterfowl. The pintails in the background decided to show me the feature that gives them their name. There’s also a few mallards in this picture.

Spring birds Pintails & mallards at Malheur NWR

A nearby pond had more species of birds. A graceful great egret took off right when we stopped. There was also a great blue heron foraging nearby.

Great egret Malheur NWR

I was excited to see white pelicans at the pond. They are one of the birds that I have never been able to photograph well. These three look like they’re in a parade with the double-crested cormarants.

White pelicans & double-crested cormorants

The pelicans made themselves right at home with the other birds. You can see a ring-billed gull, double-crested cormorants, a canvasback (with head tucked), a ruddy duck (with head tucked), and an American coot. A smorgasbord!

Spring birds near Malheur NWR

A harbinger of spring

I’m ending this post with a blue-colored bird, just as I started it. This mountain bluebird was perching high in a juniper tree a couple miles from my home. I’ll start looking for the pair that nests on our property. The spring birds are definitely here!

Spring birds - Mountain bluebird near Bend, Oregon

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Birds seen in last two weeks

14 thoughts on “Spring birds: Bird Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Just what I needed to see this morning as my allergies keep me inside during this beautiful weather. Thank you Siobhan for bringing the outdoors in.

  2. A feast for the eyes! Wonderful photos. Thank you!

    I love the vibrant color of mountain bluebirds – Idaho’s state bird – but they’re elusive. I’ve seen one so far this spring. Where I live I don’t see many water birds, although yesterday, during a walk in our valley, my dogs and I startled two pair of mallard ducks resting on the water flowing down a road ditch. They brought fond memories of living on a lake in western Washington where mallards were a common feature.

    • Yes, the color of bluebirds is so intense, it’s almost not real. The ones on our property are skittish, but in other locations they seem fearless.

      Last year a pair of mallards kept landing in our backyard pond. It’s only 6′ x 12′. The dogs chase them and they come back. It’s like a game – similar to your ravens.

      Lots of ducks on the lakes in western Washington! They like the wet climate.

  3. What a fantastic gallery of birds! Loving all the different species you saw in the past two weeks. Great pointer on the difference between the Tundra Swan and Trumpeter Swan. Both of those birds would be life birds for me. Also to see the Pheasant…wow! Guess I need to travel to Oregon. We were supposed to go to Washington last September but covid took care of that! Hope to plan a new trip next year. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lisa! I was glad the tundra swan finally got close enough to me to see that marking. Lots of birds at Malheur. It’s a little early now so I may go back in a couple weeks. Hope you can travel to the west coast eventually!

  4. Pingback: Elusive birds captured - finally!: LAPC - bend branches

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