0

Southeast Zone weekly wildlife viewing report

SOUTHEAST ZONE VIEWING

Harney County

Waterfowl migration has stopped and most waterfowl found now will be breeding pairs on territories and initiating nesting sites.

Sandhill cranes can be found in agricultural fields throughout the Harney Basin.

Shorebird migration is slowing. Birding will be more difficult as birds begin to initiate nesting. Lesser yellow legs, killdeer, avocets, black-necked stilts, white-faced ibis, curlews, willets, pelicans, egrets and a variety of grebes species are a few of what can be seen. Forester’s terns, black terns, franklins, ring-billed and California gulls can also be found.

Spring passerine migrants continue to increase in diversity and number as the season progresses. Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is the summer home to some unique passerines and is an excellent place for birding.

Raptors continue to be found throughout the area. You should be able to view osprey around lakes and reservoirs, golden eagles, a few bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, prairie falcons and ferruginous hawks.

Bighorn sheep viewing will be very difficult at this time as sheep are having their lambs and will stay near steep rugged terrain. Viewers are urged not to disturb sheep during this sensitive time period. Mule deer will be widely scattered and secretive this time of year as they prepare for fawning. The first of the antelope fawns have been seen, and wildlife viewers can expect to see plenty more in the weeks to come.

KLAMATH COUNTY

Klamath Falls Area

Flooded pastures around the basin offer great viewing for white-faced ibis as they forage on earthworms and other insects. These birds are colony nesters and utilize wetland vegetation to nest.

Recent arrivals to the basin include American white pelicans, killdeer, western grebes, Clark’s grebes and several swallow species as they begin mating and nesting seasons in the basin. The courtship rituals of both western and Clark’s grebes are both distinct and visually stunning and should not be missed by those with an appreciation of such things. Upper Klamath Lake is currently home to thousands of grebes, and viewing opportunities exist along the shore as well as from boat.

The first Canada goose broods of the year have been spotted! Look to wetland areas for pairs of adult geese with small yellow fuzz balls in tow.

Greater sandhill cranes are now actively nesting and the first colts are starting to appear after hatching.

Yellow-bellied marmots have emerged from their winter dens as the days become longer and warmer. Look to rock piles and rocky bluffs to find these large, ground dwelling creatures.

For those with a keen eye for migrating songbirds, the Klamath Basin is within the migratory paths of thousands of neotropical migrants and other passerines at this time of year as they journey to nesting areas from here to the arctic north. Binoculars will help greatly in spotting these tiny migrants as they pass through. Many passerine migrants are also identifiable by song for those who listen.

Excellent viewing opportunities exist as close as downtown Klamath Falls at Veteran’s Park. Be sure to check for bald eagles using the perch snag along Lake Ewuana.

Another close viewing opportunity is the Link River Trail where viewers will see many species of passerines as well as a few mammals including deer, gray fox and mink. 5/14/13.

Klamath Wildlife Area

Effective Jan.1, 2013, a Wildlife Area Parking Permit is required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $7 daily or $22 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more.

Waterfowl

Great Basin Canada geese are evident with goslings in tow. Mallard, gadwall and teal can be seen with ducklings as well. White pelicans can be seen foraging for fish in many of the ponds and waterways.

Sandhill cranes have returned to the basin. They can be seen foraging in the open fields and are occasionally accompanied by their young (colts).

Klamath Basin waterfowl numbers are available on the US Fish and Wildlife website at http://www.fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges/cenfindex.html

Running and training of dogs is allowed only in the Dog Training Area by the boat ramp on Klamath River until August 1, 2013.

Overnight camping is not allowed on the Miller Island Unit. Discharge of firearms is prohibited except by permit. If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5734 or lanny.a.fujishin@state.or.us. 5/14/13.

LAKE COUNTY

For all species, spring migration is over. Resident nesting duck species are fairly abundant. All of the shorebird species that nest in Lake County have arrived. For shorebird viewing, Lake Abert and the Warner Valley lakes are the best locations. All the resident nesting raptor species are present in appropriate habitats. The highest diversity of raptor species is associated with the major valleys in the county.

Bighorn lambs were born in late April or early May and are big enough to start travelling with adults. Most Antelope fawns were born last week, fawn mule deer and calf elk will be born by early June.

Young of any species should be left alone. Do not try to catch baby birds or mammals because you think they are abandoned. Young are rarely abandoned by their parent, if you leave the area the mother will return to care for her young. 5/29/13.

SUMMER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA

This section was updated on May 28, 2013

Summer Lake Wildlife Area requires a $7 daily parking permit or a $22 annual parking permit. Parking permits can be purchased at any ODFW license agent or through the ODFW website. Locally, parking permits can be purchased at the Summer Lake Store, 1.3 miles north of Headquarters.

Vehicle access to the Wildlife Viewing Loop is open. The Wildlife Viewing Loop will remain open until early fall. Major dike roads (Bullgate, Gold and Windbreak dikes and the Work Road) are closed to motor vehicles, other forms of non-motorized access are allowed.

All secondary roads and dikes continue to remain closed and cross-country travel is prohibited. Non-motorized travel is permitted.

Breeding season is underway for all nesting species and viewers are reminded that running or training of dogs is prohibited. Please keep dogs on leash or under very close control during this critical time of the year.

Waterfowl

Nearly all duck pairs have dispersed to breeding territories across the entire wildlife area and flocked migrants have dispersed Mallard, gadwall and cinnamon teal pairs are very numerous. Breeding season is underway and bachelor groups of mallards are becoming very obvious.

Canada goose nesting is winding down, but a few nests can still be found. Most pairs are actively rearing broods now on large ponds away from human activity. Molting will begin soon and birds will become very secretive as they become flightless. Viewers are urged to minimize disturbance and move away quickly if birds are flushed off nests or if broods are encountered.

A few non-breeding trumpeters, part of restoration efforts can be found scattered across the wildlife area. All of the restoration birds will be neck-banded with green collars and white alphanumeric symbols. Viewers are encouraged to “read” the collars and report them to wildlife area personnel. Collars will have the Greek letter Theta (Ѳ) and two side-ways laying numerals that are read from the body toward the head.

Shorebirds, waders and other waterbirds

Shorebird nesting is underway. All nine nesting species have arrived and they are dispersed widely across the wildlife area. The recent restoration work in the Between The Dikes area is very attractive to nesting American avocet and black-necked stilts. Long-billed curlews are nesting now and have become somewhat secretive.

Snowy plovers have been observed regularly in the E. Link Unit and along Deepwater Canal. A few lingering migrants such as dunlin, long-billed dowitchers and red-necked phalaropes have been observed recently.

American coot numbers remain good and breeding pairs and single birds are found in open water areas across the entire wildlife area. Nesting is underway for this very abundant species. Sora and Virginia rails are heard very frequently and occasionally heard across the entire wildlife area.

Sandhill crane pairs are well dispersed in their traditional nesting territories. The newly hatched colts (chicks) should be observed any day now. About 20 pairs can be found scattered across the wildlife area. Non-breeders and a few late migrants continue to stage especially in the Foster Place and along the north shore of Summer Lake.

Grebe (eared, pied-billed, Western and Clark’s) numbers are fairly stable now, and nesting is underway for many species. Pied-billed grebes are very vocal now especially in the early morning hours.

American bittern, black-crowned night-heron and great egrets are fairly numerous now. A substantial number of white-faced ibis are present and a nesting colony is present for the first time in several years. Great blue herons are present in low numbers and are widely scattered across the entire wildlife area. Snowy egrets have been observed recently.

American white pelican and double-crested cormorant numbers are fairly good at present. Nesting activity has started; a few nests were recently located.

Several hundred ring-billed, a few California gulls and Caspian terns are occupying the nesting island in the East Link Unit, at least 20 nests have been observed. Nesting is underway for all species. Several hundred ring-billed and a few California gulls are actively nesting at this time. Bonaparte’s and Franklin’s gulls have been observed over the past week.

Forster’s terns are scattered widely across the entire area and breeding should be underway. Black terns have been observed consistently over the past week.

Raptors and Others

Resident raptors, especially red-tailed hawks are scattered throughout the Wildlife Area as well as on private lands along Hwy. 31. Swainson’s hawks are sometimes observed.

Northern harriers are commonly observed over marsh and hay meadows but in low numbers indicating females are incubating clutches at this time.

Ospreys have returned and are occupying the nest platforms at Ana Reservoir and Turner Place. A new breeding pair is constructing a nest between these two established locations. Birds can be observed foraging over Ana Reservoir and the upper Ana River.

Bald and golden eagles are occasionally observed on the wildlife area.

Prairie falcons are fairly common residents of the area and are frequently seen during this time of the year.

Great horned owls and the occasional common-barn and short-eared owl can be found scattered across the entire wildlife area, especially in the trees at campgrounds. Great horned owls are hatching chicks at this time. The barred owl continues to be observed occasionally.

Upland game birds

California quail and ring-necked pheasants are widely scattered across the north end of the wildlife area. Breeding season is well underway for both these species.

Passerines

Spring migrants continue to arrive, almost daily. Barn, cliff and tree swallows continue to increase in number, and nesting is well underway. Last week bank and northern rough-winged swallows were observed. Colonies of these cavity nesting species can be found in the Upper Ana River canyon.

Good numbers of both Vaux’s and white-throated swifts were observed over the wildlife area during the past week.

Eurasian collared doves remain very numerous at Headquarters Complex; more than 25 are present. Mourning doves can be found scattered throughout the area, a large number can be found in the Church, Dutchy and Swanie Field areas.

American and lesser goldfinches are seen occasionally now; and pine siskins are very numerous

at Headquarters/old homesteads and other tree and shrub sites.

Occasionally, black-headed and evening grosbeaks, house finches and cedar waxwings can be observed.

Brewer’s, red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds can be found scattered across wetland areas and homestead sites. They are becoming very vocal, especially during sunny days. Brown-headed cowbirds remain very numerous.

Yellow warblers are very vocal at Headquarters now and Wilson’s and orange-crowned warblers were observed over the past week.

Hummingbirds (black-chinned, calliope and rufous) and northern orioles are utilizing feeders at Headquarters.

Facilities and Access

As of Jan. 1, 2012, Summer Lake Wildlife Area requires a $7 daily parking permit or a $22 annual parking permit. Parking permits can be purchased at any Point of Sale Agent or through the ODFW website. Please remember: New 2013 parking permits are required!

Locally, parking permits can be purchased at the Summer Lake Store, 1.3 miles north of Headquarters.

The Wildlife Viewing Loop is open and provides excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography. It will remain open until early fall. The major dike roads (Bullgate, Windbreak and Work Road) are now closed to motor vehicle traffic. Non-motorized travel is allowed.

All secondary roads and dikes continue to remain closed and cross-country travel is prohibited. Non-motorized travel is permitted.

Camping is permitted at four sites on the Wildlife Area. Campgrounds are primitive but each has vault toilets, trash barrels and a few picnic tables.

Habitat

Nearly all wetland units are beginning to recede at this time due to irrigation season withdrawals and increased evaporation. Bullgate Refuge is being drawdown and will be held dry in preparation for wetland restoration later this summer.

Emergent wetland vegetation is vigorously growing across the entire area at this time.

Upland habitat remains in excellent condition with considerable residual vegetation and extensive new growth that is providing high quality food and cover for many wildlife species. .

Planted tree and shrub plots are providing excellent sheltered sites for many wildlife species. Nearly all trees and shrubs are leafed-out and most species are in blossom at this time.

Please contact Summer Lake Wildlife Area at (541) 943-3152 or e-mail martin.j.stlouis@state.or.us for additional information.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment