Posted by: atowhee | March 11, 2021

YOURS TULE, ALBERT & HARRY

The red-tail seen above dining seemed to be eating a yellowlegs, based on the feathers we could see.

This was Day #2 of the Albert Ryckman-Harry Fuller bird trip to Klamath Basin. We visited much of Lower Klamath NWR, Tule Lake NWR and Butte Valley south of Dorris, CA. Highlights included Tundra Swans, thousands of geese, tens of thousands of ducks, handfuls of Sandhill Cranes, dozens of Bald Eagles, one nesting Great Horned Owl and our first Ferruginous Hawk of the trip. Most outstanding–in a literal, visual sense–a blue goose among its fellow Snows on Miller Island. Also we had both wintering phoebe species and three coyotes. Shorebirds today were mostly Greater Yellowlegs, a couple stilts, a Killdeer and one Wilson’s Snipe.

More than once now we have seen fishing White Pelicans followed around by eager cormorants expecting some easy piscatory prey. One road at Tule Lake was crowded with magpies. The cottonwoods just south of Stateline Road on the Klamath Auto Tour Route had at least thirty Bald Eagles this morning.

The Klamath Basin is in a drought and it is painfully visible. Areas where I have often seen water or at least marsh are now parched earth, some huge areas without even grass. Along the auto route there is only water in ditches and that is at low level. We found cranes in one field between Stateline and Township roads where a tractor engine had been left running to pump water into that single diked field. Click here for OPB story n Klamath drought.

Here’s a story summarizing how this year is below average for rainfall, snowpack and inflow into Klamath Lake.

I urge all concerneed birders to push out political system to change out-moded water laws so that birds and other dependent creatures are not ranked behind profit-driven potato farmers when it comes to precious water. Drought has become the rule here in Klamath and climate change will only make it worse.

In the Tule Lake Basin the situation is less dire and water there fills the lake which os, in turn, filled with waterfowl–ducks, coots, geese, pelicans, cormorants, grebes, gulls, swans.

We saw only 4 other birders today in over 200 miles. Roads empty and weather near perfect for this time of year. Sunshine, little wind, highs in low 50s. We would have welcomed rain but didn’t get the chance.

Some of Albert’s shots from yesterday: Red-tails, Rough-legs, Bufflehead flock and swans:

These images are mostly from Klamath Marsh. The dark morph is a roughie–note the banded tail.

Klamath Wildlife Area–Miller Island Unit, Klamath, Oregon, US
Mar 11, 2021
15 species

Snow Goose  600–one blue goose among them
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
Mallard  X
Bufflehead  X
American Coot  X
Greater Yellowlegs  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
Northern Harrier  X
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Common Raven  X
American Robin  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Tule Lake NWR (MOD Co.), Modoc, California, US
Mar 11, 2021
39 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Tundra Swan  40
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Canvasback  X
Ring-necked Duck  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Common Merganser  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
Western Grebe  X
Clark’s Grebe  2
Mourning Dove  X
American Coot  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
California Gull  X
Double-crested Cormorant  X
American White Pelican  25
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  25
Red-tailed Hawk  X
American Kestrel  2
Prairie Falcon  1
Black Phoebe  1     in pool across the road from visitors center
Say’s Phoebe  2
Black-billed Magpie  X
Common Raven  50
House Finch  X
Song Sparrow  X
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Lower Klamath NWR (OR side), Klamath, Oregon, US
Mar 11, 2021
23 species

Tundra Swan  40
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
American Coot  X
Sandhill Crane  17
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Greater Yellowlegs  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  18
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Rough-legged Hawk  X
Common Raven  X
House Finch  X
Song Sparrow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Lower Klamath NWR (CA side), Siskiyou, California, US
Mar 11, 2021
34 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Tundra Swan  X
Cinnamon Teal  5
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Green-winged Teal  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
American Coot  X
Sandhill Crane  X
Black-necked Stilt  X
Greater Yellowlegs  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  35
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Rough-legged Hawk  X
American Kestrel  X
Black-billed Magpie  X
Common Raven  X
Horned Lark  X
House Finch  X
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Tricolored Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X


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