The clouds of Harney County form dramatic backdrops to the High Desert landscapes of eastern Oregon. I just returned from the four-day Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. Though I was there to see birds, the cloud formations draw your eyes to the skies.
Layers of fluffy clouds hung over the Battleground Buttes. Higher elevations in the county received 200% of their normal snowfall. Days before I arrived, these fields were covered with snow.
Farther south, on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, wispy clouds drifted in the wind. You can see part of Steens Mountain in the background. This 50-mile long mountain dominates the landscape.
To the north, Great Horned Owls huddled in their nest while soft clouds filled the skies. This well-known nest site is on a main road, but the owls return every year to lay eggs and raise their young.
West of the refuge headquarters, thin clouds pointed in multiple directions. Golden eagles nest in the rimrock cliffs lining the basins in this area.
Near the town of Burns, herds of clouds lined up to graze in the skies. The Burns Paiute Tribe proudly live here on part of their ancestral lands.
The clouds of Harney County blanket this land of wide open spaces. They vary in personality, much like the people who call this place home.