Posted by: atowhee | March 13, 2021

BELDING BANQUET–EAGLES EVERYWHERE

The past few days in the Klamath Basin and Butte Valley have been warm. Multitudes of Belding’s ground squirrels have emerged from their burrows for some fresh spring greens. That has attracted the attention of blood-thirsty raptors (we did see one Bald Eagle dining on an irrigation pivot eating a ground squirrel dripping blood onto the pipes). So in one field in Butte Valley there were over forty Bald Eagles, many eating or catching ground squirrels. Hanging around were dozens of ravens, some magpies, even a couple Golden Eagles and a Ferruginous Hawk, a couple of red-tails. Here is Prairie Falcon with his Belding and some views of the banquet:

At the south end of Butte Valley we rose up an incline the intersection of Juniper Knoll Road and Dorris Technor Road. In the juniper grove there we found the Mountain Bluebirds we were looking for. They were present for the juniper berries that can sustain through the long winter.

Our small caravan of birders did the circuit at Tule Lake. There we met three birders from Ashland, led by Dick Ashford. While we stood along the berm and talked birdy gossip dozens of Ring-billed Gulls and a quartet of White Pelicans soared far overhead against an unseasonably sunny blue sky. At one point we saw a pair of Western Grebes dance across the water, a an early promise of spring romance. At Tule we watched a young Bald Eagle leave its perch, fly over the lake and pluck out the corpse of a dead pintail:

Elsewhere in Modoc County and at Tule:

At the start of the day we birded around Running Y: White-headed Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee, Western Bluebird, Cassin’s Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Canvasback, Tree Swallow, flicker.

On a dirt road between Township and Stateline Roads we saw several cranes, dozens of Ring-billed Gulls, Greater Yellowlegs and an arriving flock of Dunlin. There also was one snipe, working the mudflats in one of the few fields being irrigated. Most Klamath flatlands are barren and parched during current drought.

Running Y Ranch, Klamath, Oregon, US
Mar 13, 2021
22 species

Canvasback  X
Ring-necked Duck  X
Bufflehead  X
California Quail  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Belted Kingfisher  1
White-headed Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Steller’s Jay  2
California Scrub-Jay  1
Mountain Chickadee  1
Tree Swallow  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Pygmy Nuthatch  6
European Starling  X
Western Bluebird  2
American Robin  X
House Finch  X
Cassin’s Finch  3
Lesser Goldfinch  X
Dark-eyed Junco  4
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Lower Klamath NWR (OR side), Klamath, Oregon, US
Mar 13, 2021
22 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Tundra Swan  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Ring-necked Pheasant  X
Sandhill Crane  23
Killdeer  X
Dunlin  20–not a species expected by the eBird algorithm
Wilson’s Snipe  1
Greater Yellowlegs  40
Ring-billed Gull  120
Northern Harrier  X
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Rough-legged Hawk  X
Horned Lark  10
European Starling  X
Savannah Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Tule Lake NWR (MOD Co.), Modoc, California, US
Mar 13, 2021
33 species

Snow Goose  X
Greater White-fronted Goose  X
Canada Goose  X
Tundra Swan  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Gadwall  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Northern Pintail  X
Canvasback  X
Lesser Scaup  X
Bufflehead  X
Ruddy Duck  X
Western Grebe  X
Clark’s Grebe  X
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
American Coot  X
Ring-billed Gull  300
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Black-crowned Night-Heron  X
Northern Harrier  X
Bald Eagle  X
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Rough-legged Hawk  X
Say’s Phoebe  1
Common Raven  200
Tree Swallow  1
House Finch  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X
Savannah Sparrow  X
Song Sparrow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X

Butte Valley–general, Siskiyou, California, US
Mar 13, 2021
16 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Ring-billed Gull  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Golden Eagle  3
Bald Eagle  80
Red-tailed Hawk  X
Rough-legged Hawk  1
Ferruginous Hawk  2
Merlin  1
Prairie Falcon  1
Black-billed Magpie  40
Common Raven  120
European Starling  X
Mountain Bluebird  4
Dark-eyed Junco  X
Western Meadowlark  X


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