Posted by: atowhee | August 1, 2009

Temp over 100, bird count over 80–Part Two

After we recoverd our breath from the Goshawk viewing, we headed still further uphill to Howard Prairie and its inviting blue resevoir.  For the nonce, the birding gods were heartless.  At the intersection with Howard Prairie Road: no Vesper Sparrow to be seen, no Mountain Bluebird, no Snipe, no Sandhill Crane.  We had seen a pair of Kestrel hunting over the meadow.  Remarkable sadly because the birds have become so scarce here.

We had lunch at the Howard Prairie Resort Cafe.  Near the boat docks there we picked up Pine Siskins acting like shorebirds, Junco, Tanager, Red-breasted Nuthatch tooting his horn somehwre overhead, Osprey, heard another Wood-Pewee, Ring-billed Gulls.  A Cassin’s Vireo that called and then showed himself.  And nesting Cliff Swallows on the restroom building.CLSW-yng-7-30-09  Here are newly young swallows on the porch, waiting for lunch:





During our sit-down lunch we were joined by one of the locals, a cheeky little guy who eschewed salad but has a hankering for corn chips:GRN SQRL WITH CHIP

 From the lake we headed back out to Dead Indian Mem. Road [DIMR].  On the right two Vesper Sparrows perched on fence posts…on our side of the road.  Right at the intersection a pair of Mountain Bluebirds were hunting.  The male nicely posed on the Howard Prairie sign where they annually occupy the nesting box.  Thanks.  The birding gods had apparently returned from their lunch break.IMG_9003


The male Mountain Bluebird wears no red as do his cousins in the Eastern and Western species.  Along the lakeshore a city of Canada Geese.  Several White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorant, Mallards, Ring-bills.  No shorebirds to be seen.

130PM.  Not much at Lily Glen as we headed east.  Juncos, a Yellow-rumped Warbler.  As we pulled back onto DIMR:  a Red-sholdered Hawk being chased into the forest.  Two Ravens above calling play-by-play as Corvids love to do.  Our next stop was Eagle Ridge, on the western shore of Klamath Lake.

Overlooking the marsh from the road above: grebes, grebes and more grebes.  And elongated slashes of white on the far side of the cove: lines of Great Egrets along the shore, clusters in the waterside junipers.  That alone is a marvel: junipers, a dessert prone plant, growing next to a fresh water lake.IMG_9005

Here are Curtis and Tate Snyder gaxing on Klamath Lake for the first time, looking down on the marsh at Eagle Ridge.

Along the shore the Yellow-pheaded Blackbirds were as visible as they are earlier in the season.  No Black Terns to be seen.  But there were grebes, grebes, grebes.  Western, Clark’s.  Pied-billed.  Zebra-faced PB youngsters.  Two-toned young of the aechmorphus grebes.  Coots.  Ruddy Ducks and young.  And more Pewees, of course.  Ckose looks at Yellow Warbler.IMG_9011

Along the shore, badly back lit, this pair of White-faced Ibis.  As we drove along the rugged shoreline “road” egrets anbd Great Blue Herons lifted off in small floats, flying either head of us, or cleverly looping back to land behind us. Several herons, dozens of egrets.  Then we saw our first bouyant Forster’s Terns.  More Ring-billed Gulls.  A couple White Pelicans.  Alive.  We also saw remains of two pelican corpses on land.  Found a family of Warbling Vireos feeding in the willows.  The bird we wanted most: Black Tern.  So back out to Hwy 140 and north.  We stopped just a halfmile north of the Eagle Ridge Road where a large canal goes underneath Hwy 140. Water was flowing into the pastures between the highway and the lake to our east.  In a cow pasture there were numerous beef cattle and a visible pair of Sandhill Cranes.

At the nexus of road and canal the action was intense.  Wood Ducks scuttered on down the canal and around the bend, our of view.  Our first American Goldfinch of the day came and went in the canalside willows.  Cliff Swallows swooped out from their nest under the bridge.  A Pair of Western Bluebirds to match our earlier Mountains.  Then a male Lazuli patriotically modelled his nifty red, white and blue outfit for us. 

430 PM.  Our final stop of the day.  Just to see…and we did:  several Black Terns worked back and forth in the channel in clear view.  A distant row of posts rising above the water held one gull per post, except where there was a single Double-crested Cormorant.  As we gazed at the terns before us, action beckoned behind.  A House Wren, then a Yellow Warbler in the nearest willow.  Lured onto land we landed a young Hermit Warbler in that same willow.  More Pewees, of course.  Our first viewing of the Olive-sided Flycatcher for the day though we’d heard one twice before.  As usual he was at thepinnacle of a tall evergreen.  This Rocky Point parking lot was clearly a hot spot.  Then an adult male Williamson’s Sapsucker showed himself nicely.  That’s it, enough, we’re heading home.

And we got about thirty feet up the road toward the main resort andentered the small, shaded RV camping area.  The first Rv ohnth eleft had a hummingbird feeder.  Rufuous ruckus, six…eight…twelve birds vying for nectar and aplace at the trough.  Like Congressmen smelling campaign contributions.ruhu buzzing



The RV owner said he lived there all summer, visitng from Texas…and the crowd first mobbed him a few days ago.  Before that, only one or two.  I suspect it is time to build up body mass prior to migration.   Time is passing.  And for hummers it always passes quickly under the laziest of times.   But now, urgency impinges.ruhu quartet






Here you can see the three white tail feather ends on the female Rufuous as she hovers, tail fanned to the max.                                                                                                                                                                             ruhu tail fanned






Here’s first part of the day-long birding trip with Tate and Curtis Snyder.

Location:     Howard Prairie Circuit
Observation date:     7/30/09
Number of species:     30

Canada Goose     250
Mallard     10
American White Pelican     14
Double-crested Cormorant     20
Great Blue Heron     1
Turkey Vulture     3
Osprey     1
Northern Goshawk     1
Red-shouldered Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     2
American Kestrel     2
Sandhill Crane     2
Ring-billed Gull     30
Williamson’s Sapsucker     1
Western Wood-Pewee     1
Western Kingbird     4
Cassin’s Vireo     1
Steller’s Jay     4
Western Scrub-Jay     2
Common Raven     4
Cliff Swallow     6
Barn Swallow     15
Red-breasted Nuthatch     3
American Robin     2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)     1
Western Tanager     4
Vesper Sparrow     2
Brewer’s Blackbird     16,                          Purple Finch     5
Pine Siskin     2   

Location:     Klamath County, OR, US
Observation date:     7/30/09
Number of species:     47

Wood Duck     2
Mallard     18
Ruddy Duck     40
Pied-billed Grebe     14
Western Grebe     250
Clark’s Grebe     18
American White Pelican     6
Double-crested Cormorant     35
Great Blue Heron     15
Great Egret     200
Green Heron     1
White-faced Ibis     2
Turkey Vulture     1
Osprey     2
Bald Eagle     1
Red-tailed Hawk     1
American Kestrel     1
American Coot     120
Sandhill Crane     2
Ring-billed Gull     50
Black Tern     15
Forster’s Tern     20
Rufous Hummingbird     12
Williamson’s Sapsucker     1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     2
Olive-sided Flycatcher     1
Western Wood-Pewee     12
Dusky Flycatcher     1,                       Warbling Vireo     4
Steller’s Jay     3
Common Raven     2
Red-breasted Nuthatch     2
House Wren     1
Western Bluebird     2
American Robin     4
Yellow Warbler     1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)     2
Hermit Warbler     1
Western Tanager     2
Spotted Towhee     1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     4
Black-headed Grosbeak     4
Lazuli Bunting     1
Red-winged Blackbird     6
Yellow-headed Blackbird     4
Brewer’s Blackbird     4
American Goldfinch     2


  1. Wonderful birding!! So enjoy your reports!! Would you believe we just had the hottest July in Austin’s history–over 100 almost every day–we are going to dissolve with another month of this!! Thanks for our virtual tour and happy trails!

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