Posted by: atowhee | December 17, 2013


After the cold, fog and frozen ponds of the Medford CBC I had little expectation for water in the even dryer Ashland count area. Turns out Emigrant Lake is low on water but high in “enviable position.” It is too far upslope for the freezing fog so prevalent lately in the lower Bear Creek Valley. So it gets plenty of solar energy each day. It is not as high as HOward Prairie or other mountain lakes so it is not subjected to sub-zero nights. Finally, it actually receives small amounts of running water flowing swiftly into its shallow end which prevents freezing there. Result: open water, no ice, many ducks.

The poor snipe had been frozen out of his preferred marshy grasslands and was foraging in wide open daylight at the muddy, shallow end of Emigrant Lake. Nearest grass tuft was at least q100 yards away!

The Cackling Geese were grazing in a field with many Canadas. The gulls are a nice touch. Medford had zero gulls this CBC and Ashland only had one last year. Ten seems like a plentitude. Less than three weeks to the Ashland Count (Jan 4) so maybe they’ll stick around.

Dec 16, 2013 3:00 PM. 25 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) 3
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 150
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 50
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) 3
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 4
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 30
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 2
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 38
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) 65
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 2
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 3
American Coot (Fulica americana) 40
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) 1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 10
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 5
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 3
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 3
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 2
Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) 1
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) 3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 6
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 120
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 25
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 12

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