After my encounter with the coyote at the beginning of the Lower Klamath Basin NWR auto tour route, I slowly made my way down the gravel road. I was surveying to see what water birds were using the refuge. In the past, this 50,000 acre refuge was a massive wetland. Since early in the 1900’s the water in the basin has been controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation. At the present time, no water is allocated to this refuge in the fall. The result is that those beautiful 50,000 acres are just about bone dry. Not very conducive to breeding and migrating waterfowl.
I did find some species using the ditches. I must say that if you want to see black-crowned night herons this is the place to look. There is a rookery nearby, and I probably saw over a hundred of these birds.
Because of the drying out, all the herons and egrets are concentrated along the ditches.
On the other hand, Tule Lake NWR harbors two endangered fish species so it gets water allocated to it. That makes for an abundance of waterfowl on the lake. Fall migration has barely begun so everything I’m seeing now has resided on the lake and wet soil units all summer.
Eared Grebe with young
Lots of species are still raising their young and going through their post breeding molt. During this molt they are flightless for a while, so Tule Lake truly is a refuge for them.
Here’s your bird lesson for the week. These two birds look a lot alike, but they are two different species. The one on the left is a Western Grebe, while the one on the right is a Clark’s Grebe. Both species nest on the refuge. If you look really closely, you can see the differences. The western grebe’s red eye is surrounded by black feathers, and the Clark’s grebe’s eye is surrounded by white feathers. The bill of the Clark’s is also a brighter orange/yellow than the western. Remember that now because there just might be a quiz someday.
A group of black-necked stilts was working the shallow water in one of the flooded fields with several white-faced ibis. I got a kick out of how one of the stilts was peeking over the ibis’ back.
I think that’s just about enough bird pictures for tonight. Doing these bird surveys is the highlight of my week here, so be prepared for more pics.
I really liked trying out the 600mm lens for the day even with the loss of a bunch of my photos. It’s a small thing really. Rick and I thought we had recovered them, but it turns out all the recovered photos were a bunch that I had sent to the recycle bin on purpose because I wasn’t happy with them. Who knows where the pics I was happy with disappeared to.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy