hostages at Malheur Wildlife Refuge

We stopped at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge back in September. I didn’t take very many pictures because it looked very dry and there wasn’t much lake to be seen because of the four year drought we’d experienced. This area is essentially high desert and not what I’d classify as very scenic, at least not in its desiccatedΒ condition.

Some distance from the Refuge, perhaps even within its boundaries, we were allowed a few decent shots of this Greater Yellowlegs (Sandpiper).

(click for a better look)
These are probably the sort of hostages this invading ‘Militia’ is likely to take out there at the Wildlife Refuge. In case you’ve missed the Oregon invasion by the Bundy Militia… it’s all over the internet and Twitter.

Over in the neighboring county, I did take some pictures of Lake Abert. You can see the desolate desert terrain here, as well as the dried out condition of the lake back in September. There really isn’t a whole lot out there except for birds and sagebrush. Makes me wonder why these militia types can’t just leave this bit of country to the birds for their migration. Without these rest stops, the birds could be headed for extinction. It almost makes me wish for the same fate for these crazy hotheads.

A bit farther down the road, just before sunset, I did get a chance to experience the Sandhill Cranes doing their dance. Hearing their calls was the thrill of a lifetime. I really do need to learn to shoot some video though! Such a pity some folks can’t seem to appreciate these creatures. I’d be willing to bet they’d rather shoot them.

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.Β 
― John James Audubon


45 thoughts on “hostages at Malheur Wildlife Refuge

  1. How fortunate that you visited Malheur in Sept., before all the ugly confrontation. geez, makes me sad to think of all the wildlife, including our precious sandhill cranes, having to be disrupted in the midst of that angry maelstrom. Thank you for a more peaceful look at this lovely refuge. πŸ™‚


    • I suspect the place is rather frozen at this time. We didn’t find many birds in September either. Possibly because the lake was mostly dried out. The cranes were in some farmers field. My first excited shots of the cranes had the clutter or irrigation pipes in the background. Luckily I had time to settle down and move the pipes out of the background. πŸ˜‰


  2. Hi Gunta, very nice photos – we thrilled to the sound of Sandhill cranes in Arizona about a year ago – just too wonderful. As for the crazies, everyone has said it already – I was led to a good article in High Country News online – which someone mentioned. Glad the Paiute made a statement. Yes, go to the beach. And hope it all dies down.


  3. Funny but I don’t picture Oregon as looking so desert-like. I’m so fed up with crazy stupid people, I just can’t read another article! I’d much rather spend my time looking at all your beautiful images πŸ™‚


    • Our mountain ranges create very different climates and topography. As soon as you go east of the Cascade Range, you’re in high desert My guess is that the desert covers more than half of the state. Keep in mind that Oregon is a huge state when compared to those back East. It’s pretty much why they’re fighting over the miles of open desert country. It takes huge swaths of it to support a single cow. This could send me into a rant. Instead I think I’ll head out to see if there might be a pretty sunset on the beach. πŸ˜‰


  4. Gosh that looks SO dry. Not at all like I picture Oregon. I hope you get some moisture out of the incoming storms. As for the Bundyites, I say cut off the water and power and ignore them. It’s cold out there; they’ll leave soon enough.


    • East of the Cascades is all high desert, much of it like Nevada. I totally agree with cutting them off, but for now waiting it out appears to be turning public opinion about these nuts. They’ve been getting quite a bit of ridicule (as they deserve.)


  5. The news is all over radio, our main source of news here. Even my eastern relatives heard of it back there. High Country News I am sure will run an in depth article on it soon. Our species has come a long way, with a long way to go. The prognosis is poor, as the doctor would say, but recovery is not impossible.

    On a more positive note, beautiful photos, as always! We had what I believe are Wilson’s Snipes come through here the other day. Ihave a pair of binoculars now, so I can get a better look out the window without alarming the birds.


    • Twitter has been mocking the idiots out there at the Refuge. Some of it is insanely funny. It’s a shame that they are causing so much trouble for the folks in that county though. I just now heard that the Piute Indians just put out word that THEY want the yahoos off their land. Apparently, the Indians still owned the land when Teddy Roosevelt decided to declare it a wildlife refuge.

      Isn’t it marvelous to watch the birds and to identify them and get to know them better! Hope you have a good bird book to help with ID. My favorite is Sibley’s (National Audobon).


  6. Gunta,
    These photos are wonderful!

    I’ve been wanting to do a painting of the cranes dancing~may I have your permission to use your photos? I would not be copying the photo, just using them as reference for the birds. If you don’t feel ok with this I totally understand.


  7. A video of the dance would be nice but the photos are superb. Yes, we’ve heard all about this militia and are as bemused as everyone must be about what it’s really all about. Hope you’re fully recovered and enjoying 2016! Do pop over and take our quiz – it’s very easy, all answers in the last few blog posts πŸ˜‰


    • Thanks for the compliment! I had looked at your post with the quiz, but was too short on time to do it and honestly, the memory for details like that isn’t what it ought to be.

      I hear they’re going to cut the power to the refuge, so it should be fun to see how long these nut jobs last out there in below freezing temps. We certainly seem to have more than our share of crazies over here… much of them because Obama. They just can’t seem to get over that. Not just because he’s a Democrat! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Those idiots that took over the refuge are selfish, and greedy, they want to be able to use government land as their own, without buying the land or paying taxes on it.

    With that out of the way, great photos of the yellowlegs and cranes!


    • Those folks out there staging their sit-in at the Refuge are crazy indeed. It’s hard to know how to deal with them. The government got a lot of backlash from a more aggressive approach after Ruby Ridge and Waco, so now they’re being more cautious, but then I think that just encourages more of this sort of craziness. I’m hoping they just cut the electricity and let the idiots freeze out there. It gets well below freezing out there in that high desert.

      Thanks for the compliment on the bird shots. The yellow-leg posed nicely for me, but it was almost sunset for the cranes. I was surprised that the shots came out as well as they did given the bad lighting. I can thank your suggestion for the zoom I’m using for so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gunta, these shots are quite wonderful! You’re quite the nature photographer! I would have loved it if you’d have captured some video of the sandhill cranes. That way we’d get to hear them too. (That’s what I did in Costa Rica, just so I could capture the sound of the multitude of birds. Magical.)


  10. Love these shots ~ there is something about the east side of Oregon I love (besides the obvious one that I grew up there). Great series of photos and as you say, the current scene there does not make us Oregonians too proud πŸ™‚


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