The Malheur Field Station was my next stop after a great trip on the Deschutes last week. I was not the greatest advocate of bird watching prior to visiting the Malheur Field Station. Frankly, it was a bunch of buildings off to my left, in the middle of the Northern Great Basin on the way to Steen Mountain. I had the opportunity to go out on a serious bird watching event with some friends from the Willamette Valley. I figured with guiding and being outdoors more than most, it might be nice to increase an understanding of these feathered things.
The Malheur Field Station is a nonprofit education and research center dedicated to lifelong learning in and about the northern Great Basin region. This post is a bit of a stretch about angling but there will be a connection!
Clear skies greeted us each day and some serious Eastern Oregon sunsets made the days even more spectacular.
Our host for one day was Duncan Evered. Duncan has been at the Field Station for over 16 years. He is a very distinguished ornithologist. We took the opportunity to hire Duncan for a half day excursion around the Malheur Refuge. With Duncan, I learned a great deal about migratory birds and how the Malheur Refuge is a key stop during the migratory season. During our stay at the Station the group logged over 60 different species of birds.
Another key individual at the Field Station is Lyla Messick (check out the link for a great video) a well known artist for her paintings of the Steens and the surrounding area. Both Lyla and Duncan are key contributors in making the Field Station operational.
From an angling perspective, the Field Station offers lodging! The Rates are very reasonable and it’s an easy 45 minute drive to the Blitzen River and even shorter to Krumbo Reservoir. The lodging provided clean rooms, fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning, and living room. I figure it’s a better deal than fighting the mosquitoes at the campgrounds.
For those who may be interested, my favorite bird was the fellow below, the Blacked Capped Night Heron. This dude has an evil eye, and for us fly tyers, yep, those two long head feathers made me pause, but, just for a moment?
Like most outdoor excursions, it’s the people who make the memories. This trip was great, not only in the learning about the birds, Malheur Field Station, but the people I met, traveled with, and watched something we take for granted everywhere…..the birds!