Got out Saturday morning, at least until visibility went to near zero when the heavy snows started. The freezing weather returned the Upper Klamath Lake, Lake Ewauna, and other still water locations to frozen. That means the Upper Klamath Lake could be frozen for the first time in many years, for the Winter Wings Festival. In recent years open water has been free of ice by mid-February, something that was not happening yearly 20-30, or more, years ago when I first moved here. The frozen Upper Klamath Lake, and Lake Ewauna helped to concentrate waterfowl closer to the boat ramp at Veteran's Park. There were RUDDY DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON MERGANSER, COMMON GOLDENEYE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, NORTHERN SHOVELER, a few LESSER SCAUP, AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, CANADA GEESE, and 2 TUNDRA SWAN, resting on the edge of the ice. Several BALD EAGLEs were lingering around. Gulls included: RING-BILLED, CALIFORNIA, and HERRING. Moving water along the Ling River was ice free, and was likely Putnam's Point, and although I did not go there this morning, there is likely waterfowl hanging out there. Further down the Klamath River, which is moving, is also free of ice, but I don't know if waterfowl is using that much. Wingwatcher's Trail was overall very quiet, although two MARSH WREN, and one BEWICK'S WREN were seen/heard. RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETs, 2, and 2 AMERICAN ROBIN, and WHITE-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWs were the only songbirds encountered. Straits Drain- quiet, with NORTHERN HARRIER-3, ROUGH-LEGGED-2, RED-TAILED HAWK-2, and BALD EAGLE-3 were all that were encountered in that area. The drain itself was frozen. There was an enourmous RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD flock, numbering a conservative 4200. It was nearly pure Red-winged males, with many females present, but only 6 TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD. Elsewhere there was a scattered flock of WESTERN MEADOWLARK, 43. I also encountered HORNED LARK, mostly found in a flock of roughly 320, favoring a partially harvested/unharvested grain field, digging into the snow along unplowed lines, and also coming up to the main gravel road for either grit, melted water, or both. But, scoping and listening for quite a while did not produce even one Lapland Longspur. Keep checking this flock if found again. I did not see the beautiful very leucisic Red-tailed Hawk seen about 2 weeks ago, but driving snow hampered visibility there. At Lower Klamath NWR, California side, I counted 12 BALD EAGLEs resting in trees along the mature willow patch. I also noticed that the young willows in the shallow unit across the road from those larger trees was being mechanically piled. Hopefully that precedes water again filling that unit. I did not see any owls along the older trees. South of Intersection F I saw mostly TUNDRA SWANS loafing east of the road, about a half mile to mile north of the intersection. Between Intersections C and D is where I saw, and heard the largest concentration of geese, with mostly white geese, probably SNOW and ROSS'S, and WHITE-FRONTED. There were a ways out there, but I think it is very conservative to say at least 10K. They were out in unharvested dry units, I believe. Very near Intersection D, there was another HORNED LARK flock, also using an unharvested grain field and also coming up to the main gravel road for grit and possibly water. But even with the estimated number of over 400, I could not see, or hear a Lapland Longspur. But, keep watching that flock for any possibility. The snow began piling up, and it was time call it a day. While driving down to Lower Klamath, and on Cross Road, I happened to see an adult BALD EAGLE atop a large nest structure, in the crotch of either an intermediate aged Cottonwood, or large Aspen, near a residence on the eastern portion of Cross Road's curvy section (western side of that road). The structure/platform seemed excessive for a Red-tailed, so it did not seem like a it was standing on someone else's nest, and considering "taking over" another's nest.I'm wondering now if that nest site is a new one, and didn't notice it last summer. Something to watch for. Kevin <Spencerrriparia...> Falls, OR
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