Posted by: atowhee | March 12, 2021

TULE DINING: EAGLE CAFE AND PELICAN PICNIC

TRIGGER WARNING–THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH. THE BLOOD IS REAL. INNOCENT DEATHS DID OCCUR.

Albert Ryckman and I returned to Tule Lake at mid-day, lunch time, March 12. The ducks were busy dining-out on the lake. Various waterfowl were diving and dabbling. Ravens seemed to be finding food along the berm and out in the nearby fields. On one utility pole crossbar four Bald Eagles were perched. One adult was eating a bird, then a young eagle joined and was given a portion. That pole turned out to be the Eagle Cafe. Going through the remains of the days we could see what had been on the cafe menu. Soon we ourselves were elegant dining on our sandwiches and carrot sticks from the hood of our car…and watching a pelican picnic. A large number of waterbirds gathered before the inflow where deeply browned water poured into Tule Lake, carrying various organic matter that probably encouraged lake daphnia that, in turn, fostered fish-feeding which then brought in the feathered picnickers. As ever, the micro-organisms were at the base of the food pyramid.

Here we see two adult eagles greeting the landing of the youngster. Note one adult has a bird in its talons…that was the coot it shared with the youngster.

When the adult coot-eater left the crossbar we could see its bloody beak:

Here I am beneath the utility pole crossbar which we dubbed “Eagle Cafe” looking over some of the remains of the day…total included residue from four coots, three Ruddy Ducks, a pintail and a Green-winged Teal. Not far off were the feathers from what had been a Snow Goose. That meal had clearly not been consumed on a pole, but on the ground.

Other image highlights of the day included a male Yellow-headed Blackbird on Miller Island…a Ruddy Duck whose bright blue beak stood out even against bluish lake water, and a Ring-necked Duck in perfect light and plumage.

Other birds of the day:

We ended this day up at Howard Prairie looking for Great Gray Owls. The closest we came was the distant call of a pygmy-owl.

Note: at the southeast corner of the Tule Lake Refuge there was considerable habitat damage from a wildfire last year.

Mt. Shasta from Miller Island in Klamath Basin. Mt. McLaughlin from Howard Prairie.

Klamath Wildlife Area–Miller Island Unit, Klamath, Oregon, US
Mar 12, 2021
20 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Mallard  X
Canvasback  X
Ring-necked Duck  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
American Coot  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
California Gull  X
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  X
American Kestrel  X
Tree Swallow  X
Yellow-headed Blackbird  5
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Lower Klamath NWR (OR side), Klamath, Oregon, US
Mar 12, 2021
35 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Tundra Swan  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Hooded Merganser  X
Common Merganser  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
American Coot  X
Sandhill Crane  30
Killdeer  X
Long-billed Dowitcher  6
Greater Yellowlegs  X
Ring-billed Gull  X
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron  X
Golden Eagle  2
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  25
Red-tailed Hawk  X
American Kestrel  X
Say’s Phoebe  1
Common Raven  30
Horned Lark  6
Tree Swallow  20
White-crowned Sparrow  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow  X
Savannah Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Tricolored Blackbird  X
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

Tule Lake NWR (MOD Co.), Modoc, California, US
Mar 12, 2021
30 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Northern Shoveler  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Canvasback  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Common Merganser  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  X
American Coot  X
Killdeer  X
Ring-billed Gull  120
Double-crested Cormorant  X
American White Pelican  45
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Golden Eagle  X
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  15
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Common Raven  30
Song Sparrow  X
Western Meadowlark  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Howard Prairie, Jackson, Oregon, US
Mar 12, 2021
4 species

Northern Pygmy-Owl  1
Northern Flicker  1
Common Raven  2
Western Bluebird  3


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