2017-08-31 Abert Lake And The Road To Klamath Falls

Mirating Birds

After my adventures at the Malheur NWR, I left Burns Oregon, heading east on US-20 and continued my zigzagging journey across southern Oregon. Reaching Riley Oregon, I turned south on US-395, a highway I’m rather fond of, though this section of the highway is new to me.

A little further south at Lake Abert I was greeted with another spectacle. Thousands of birds mostly gulls with geese, avocets, stilts, dabbling ducks and I’m sure other birds were stretched out along the mud flats at the north end of the lake. The spectacle demanded a stop, but I struggled to find a place to pull off so I could take pictures. I don’t feel the images correctly portray the scale of the scene I witnessed. I started with a wide-angle view, but the birds don’t show well enough to convey the numbers I saw. I followed with some long lens shots, and while the birds show well enough, the vastness of the scene is mostly lost <sigh>.

This large salty lake seems to have most of the migrating water birds gathered at the north end. Driving south, there was very little observed in the way of migrating birds. Only Red-Wing Blackbirds were seen, save a few waterfowl gathered at the southern extreme shore near agricultural development.

A short distance south of the lake I came upon a small herd of well fed Pronghorn loafing in an alfalfa field. I had to U-turn to take photographs and expected the usually shy animals to drift away beyond my view. I was happily surprised when they held their ground, most not even rising from their prone positions. I continued south through what had turned into a smoky haze. A haze that would only worsen as I progressed down the road.

My destination was Klamath Falls, where I’ve enjoyed good bird photography in the past, especially at Veteran’s Memorial Park where the “link river” dumps into Lake Ewauna. I arrived late in the day and was disappointed with the birds there. I spent the night and returned the next morning but found no more birds than my afternoon visit. I drove to the southern end of Upper Klamath Lake in hopes I’d find more birds there. Nothing compelled me to get out my camera gear. Past visits were in 2016-05-05 (Common Mergansers, Bufflehead, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Western and Clark’s Grebes, and Northern Rough-Winged Swallows), 2015-06-05 (American White Pelican, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Common Merganser, Double-Crested Cormorant, Franklin’s Gull, Great Egret, Ring-Billed Gull, Tree Swallow, Western Grebe and Yellow Warbler), 2015-06-05 (American White Pelican, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Caspian Tern, Cedar Waxwing, Common Merganser, Double-Crested Cormorant, Franklin’s Gull, Great Egret, Ring-Billed Gull, Tree Swallow, Western Grebe and Yellow Warbler), but perhaps my most rewarding visit was on 2016-04-24 when I captured some of my best Bonaparte’s Gull images (plus others).

Birds seen in this area were:
Ring-Billed Gulls, Brewer’s Blackbirds, American Coots, Clark’s Grebes, American White Pelicans, Double-Crested Cormorants, House Sparrows, Caspian Terns, Red-Winged Blackbirds, European or feral pigeons, Barn Swallows, hybrid and feral Mallards, Canada Geese, Osprey, Great Egrets, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Western Grebes, American Robins, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Western Scrub-Jay, Northern Flicker, Turkey Vulture, Belted Kingfisher and Red-Breasted Nuthatches.

Rather than take photographs of birds I knew I’d previously captured very well, I opted to find a shady spot and prepare images already captured at Malheur.

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