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Tag Archives: great horned owl

Remember the Great Horned Owls from this post? I continued to visit them, not too frequently, but often enough to follow the progress of the nest. I was up there on May 11 and 23 and June 6. Three days later all of the owls were gone – mom, dad and the youngster. I don’t think the little one had any flight feathers so I don’t think it survived. On the 6th, there was someone camped in front of the nest and also the adjacent vacation cabin had a LOT of guests. Maybe it was disturbance? Maybe the owlet died of natural causes and the parents left? Maybe they could not feed it enough although I think it looked healthy. Maybe mouse poison or pesticide use? I’ll never know. Hopefully they will return next year and try again.

These two Great Horned Owls kept us awake earlier in the spring with their hooting back and forth in the wee hours of the morning. Now that they’ve settled down to raise a family, they are much quieter. I imagine they are busy hunting, probably just one at a time these days. I think the eggs have hatched and the mom stays on or near the nest all the time while the dad stands guard in a nearby tree during the day. It will be fun to watch the little ones grow up!




Our evening skies have been especially lovely recently due to wildfire smoke coming down from Canada. It’s pretty ironic that we’d get so much beauty from such destructive forces. We are lucky to live in a place that doesn’t have too much light pollution.

Yesterday morning Ken saw a Great-horned Owl roosting on our porch when he went out to the kitchen. It did not stick around. This morning I awoke to the sound of angry robins and wrens and I thought that the owl must be back.

Thinking this might be a good photo opportunity, I stayed in bed waited for the sun to come up but it never really got bright this morning. This is because of wildfires burning in British Columbia and other parts of Washington.

Finally, I quietly walked out to the kitchen not even talking to the dogs and sure enough, that owl was perched on the snowshoes hanging above the deck. Robins were constantly hollering at it and occasionally dive bombing it. The dogs went out the front door and back via the porch and the owl just watched them from above.

I got a few images and came up here to process them. A few minutes later I went down for my tea and the owl was gone but the robins were still pitching fits about it. I looked around and found it on the bird bath and got a few more shots while it evaded the robins and then returned to the snow shoes. It hardly seems to be sleeping with all the robin ruckus around here. I wonder how long it will stay?

Page Springs is a BLM campground located just south of Malheur NWR on the Donner and Blitzen River. Just ten days before we arrived high water had forced some campers to higher ground so we picked a campsite on a hill to avoid that possibility. A small stream came off of Steens Mountain and rushed by our camper. During the day as snowmelt and rain contributed water to it, the level rose dramatically. At night, with cold temperatures, it dropped. The Donner and Blitzen was so high and loud, it was like being next to ocean waves with a constant roar that covered up most other sounds and lulled us to sleep every night. Despite cold temperatures and wind and rain we stayed warm in the little pop-up trailer and slept well. The last two nights of our stay were a little warmer and we were treated to a bird song that repeated itself over and over through the darkness. Based on what others say I have decided it must have been a Yellow-breasted Chat although it did not sound like any ‘typical’, as if there is a ‘typical’, chat call that I am familiar with.


This is the creek that rose and fell each day. I expect many years it sees little water and is dry in the summer.


The junipers are really magnificent.



The mosses and lichens are pretty amazing too, especially in this year of much water.



Long-eared Owls nest in the junipers and we were fortunate that some folks showed us the exact spot. I had gone there and searched that same area however they are so cryptic I did not find them on my own.


Sagebrush violet growing through an old deer skull.


Bitteroot was blooming on the plateau above the campground.



Yup, that’s snow on the truck.


Great-horned Owl branchlings. The nest tree was growing in the middle of a pond, a very secure place for a nest assuming the young birds don’t fall out of the tree.


Reflections on a side channel of the Donner and Blitzen River.


Teasel, an invasive, growing next to the river.


Lush greenery in the riparian areas. We were lucky it was cold. Otherwise the mosquitoes would have eaten us alive.


Lupine, sagebrush and a lomatium.


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