Date: 2/10/19 6:54 am
From: <rriparia...>
Subject: [KlamathBasinBirdNews] Lower Klamath Basin birding
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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