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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bird Survey #2

After my encounter with the coyote at the beginning of the Lower Klamath Basin NWR auto tour route, I slowly made my way down the gravel road.  I was surveying to see what water birds were using the refuge.  In the past, this 50,000 acre refuge was a massive wetland.  Since early in the 1900’s the water in the basin has been controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation.  At the present time, no water is allocated to this refuge in the fall.  The result is that those beautiful 50,000 acres are just about bone dry.  Not very conducive to breeding and migrating waterfowl. 

IMG_0945About all that’s left is some evaporating water in the ditches along the roadway.  Each week there is less and less water. 

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I did find some species using the ditches.  I must say that if you want to see black-crowned night herons this is the place to look.  There is a rookery nearby, and I probably saw over a hundred of these birds.

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                    Because of the drying out, all the herons and egrets are concentrated along the ditches.

IMG_0948There’s a ditch on each side of the road, and the egrets even congregate in the middle of the road.  I think it’s a shame, but I guess growing hay and potatoes and horse radish takes priority.

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On the other hand, Tule Lake NWR harbors two endangered fish species so it gets water allocated to it.  That makes for an abundance of waterfowl on the lake.  Fall migration has barely begun so everything I’m seeing now has resided on the lake and wet soil units all summer.

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                                                                    Eared Grebe with young

Lots of species are still raising their young and going through their post breeding molt.  During this molt they are flightless for a while, so Tule Lake truly is a refuge for them.

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Here’s your bird lesson for the week.  These two birds look a lot alike, but they are two different species.  The one on the left is a Western Grebe, while the one on the right is a Clark’s Grebe.  Both species nest on the refuge.  If you look really closely, you can see the differences.  The western grebe’s red eye is surrounded by black feathers, and the Clark’s grebe’s eye is surrounded by white feathers.  The bill of the Clark’s is also a brighter orange/yellow than the western.  Remember that now because there just might be a quiz someday.  Winking smile

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A group of black-necked stilts was working the shallow water in one of the flooded fields with several white-faced ibis.  I got a kick out of how one of the stilts was peeking over the ibis’ back.

I think that’s just about enough bird pictures for tonight.  Doing these bird surveys is the highlight of my week here, so be prepared for more pics. 

I really liked trying out the 600mm lens for the day even with the loss of a bunch of my photos.  It’s a small thing really.  Rick and I thought we had recovered them, but it turns out all the recovered photos were a bunch that I had sent to the recycle bin on purpose because I wasn’t happy with them.  Who knows where the pics I was happy with disappeared to.

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                                                                             THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

17 comments:

  1. Like that stilts and ibis picture -- all legs and bills! Some of us don't think hay and cow feed are more important, tho we like taters! Hope you get rain from this storm that pummeling Washington's west coast.

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  2. I never tire of your bird pictures. It is sad but the water situation, fires, etc., are wreaking havoc with everyone and everything in the west. I believe we should quit using the water we have on growing hay to feed cattle, when it takes huge amounts of water to raise and process each head of cattle. And that's so the McDonalds and Burger Kings can tout their huge burgers that no one needs.

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  3. The birds there are much like what we saw at Fish Springs NWR in Utah... including the Clarks/Western grebes.... I'm loving your photos as we sure don't see any of those birds here!

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  4. I always want more bird pictures and information. It just makes me so happy to see them...

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  5. The drought situation is awful everywhere--love your bird photos Judy!

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  6. My gosh, I love water birds! The Grebes are so cute - I've photographed the Western Grebes but haven't seen the other kinds. I've also NEVER seen the Night Heron. Tons of Great Blues, but never a Night Heron. Beautiful. I'm going to love yo being there, LOL!

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  7. I learned something new! Now when I pass all those grebes on Upper Klamath Lake on the way to town I might be able to say whether they are Clark's or Western. Yay. Love love love the photos with that long lens. What a treat. Look at that red eye. Wow, everything just pops. I'll bet you don't lose your photos again, since once that happens we are usually super vigilant. Yes, the water situation is bad everywhere, but especially so in the Klamath Basin for the birds. Hay and potatoes and horseradish? Yes, I know, the signs all over the basin proclaim that farmers are an endangered species as well. I just pray that sooner or later the water will come back to Lower Klamath NWR. I have some amazing memories of watching the swans and geese there.

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  8. Maybe you should sneak a few of those endangered fishies over to the Lower Klamath Basin so they'd have to turn the water back on. ;c)

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  9. Never too many bird pictures or information. I hope I can pass the up coming test. My memory isn't as good as it was the last time I took a test. I agree with Gypsy about water. I think we'd have been better off had we just been unable to use our giant machines to change and control everything and lived within the limits that nature has set where she has set them.

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  10. Even I got excited about birds on our last trip:)

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  11. Oh yea, I am SURE to remember that lesson. I have a picture of a fellow a will post in a blog in a few days. Need your help to identify.

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  12. How very sad about the water shortage......

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  13. Now you know how those other photographers get those great closeup bird shots. You must be developing some pretty strong biceps working with that 600mm lens. Nice shots!

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  14. I do love the water fowl...We saw lots of Night Herons around Goose Island in Texas...I love the header photo!!!!!

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  15. Pictures are very lovely. Do come to visit Argentina and explore the beauty out there. I was amazed to see the natural beauty out there and try keeping a detailed Argentina Road Map so that you don't miss even a single beautiful place.

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  16. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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