Posted by: atowhee | August 24, 2014


dead seaThere is still a so-called lake at E-migrant Lake, but it’s more lakebed than lake these days. The old highways are uncovered again as they were last fall. I added some scraps of the past to my collection of rusted metal and old rubber from last year. I’ve made a sort of pagan shrine on the site of the old Greensprings gas station: bolts, washers, window galls, etc. left over from the auto repair days. The old service station harkens back to the time before we paid attention to air pollution, Saudi Wahhabis, fracking, tetraethyllead, CO2 levels and such like. Just “innocent” motoring. Today the collected relics from the past sit atop a cement chunk from the pre-reservoir days, amidst a parched, fractured lakebed where mud is turning to baked earth…and where Turkey Vultures add just the right touch to a lifeless xeriscape.TV TRIO-A (1280x960)

TV ON GRND-B (1280x960)

tv atop

There was plenty of shorebirds on the shore, that thin fringe of wetness that rims what’s left of the lake. Two Baird’s Sandpipers in one spot is good score for Emigrant Lake, never as shorebird rich as its northern competitor, Agate Lake. Possibly it’s the more intensive human use of Emigrant which you don’t hear and see at Agate. Today Emigrant was visited by a coven of jet-skiers in the mud-brown water. They were having a loud celebration ceremony, dedicated to the might masculine gods of noise and petroleum.

The white oaks provide shade, mistletoe and insects–all attractive to hungry birds. One oak-covered slope had a nice mix of local residents and migrant. Year-rounders: Bewick’s Wren,Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Scrub-Jay. Migrators: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Chipping Sparrow, Yellow and Black-throated Gray Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Warbling Vireo, Wood-Pewee and Pac-slope Flycatcher. I saw what may have been a Willow Flycatcher but couldn’t relocate that bird for a better look. And I may have under-counted the Yellow Warblers by a few, lots of motion and hard to track individuals as the oaks are still covered in dense foliage. Along Emigrant Creek the ash leaves are turning. They’re now freckled with pale yellow spots, old age is harsh on man and leak alike.

Greater YellowlegsGRT-YELLS

gyel alone

BAIDR WADZ Baird’s Sandpiper wades about. His slightly longer legs get him into deeper water than the smaller peeps.

baird in watr (1280x786)

BAIRD-WESTRNBaird’s in front, Western behind.shorbirdz
shorbirdz2 (1280x590)

Semipalmated Plover, single above. Double below.
SEMIP X 2 (1280x441)

Here we see Killdeer (two stripes) and Semip. (one stripe).

bew-good (1280x1104)
Bewick’s Wren eyeing the dogs with evident dislike.


EMPID ON LIM3 (1280x957)
Pacific-Slope Flycatcher among the other small landbirds foraging in the oaks.



It is always my favrite shot when I get the bird taking off–look at this wing action:
EMPID INTO AIR (1280x1054)
MNale Yellow Warbler in oaks, still showing some red streaking below the wings.
YEWA STREKZ (1280x852)






wavi on lim
Warbling Vireo in the oaks with all the other guys.


gbh-standz tall Great Blue Heron stands tall. First year bird.

Young Osprey still lingering around nest when not out fishing.
ospry eyes (1280x787)

In the murky, fetid pools that are almost dry this algae thrives. It forms floating globes from the size of a marble up to jawbreaker size. ALGAE (1280x874)

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Aug 24, 2014 10:45 AM – 12:30 PM
33 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 30
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 4
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 9
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) 2
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 4
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 4
Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) 2
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 30
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) 15
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 2
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) 1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 7
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 50
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 1
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 4
Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) 1
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 60
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) 4
Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens) 1
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) 1
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 20
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) 5


  1. Great selection of birds, and story of the lake’s historical artifacts.

  2. I enjoyed the pictures and post.

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