Wow what a trip to Oregon and Northern California border. A lot of 1st for me. First time in the beautiful state of Oregon. The Klamath area is stunning with natures beauty all around. Lovely people both local and visiting birders. Great food and micro brews. We will be back for a longer stay. Sample of some of the things we saw:
Photography Copyright Francesca Scalpi
Lower Klamath NWR in the distance 5 bald eagles in a single tree. We search high and low and finally found an area back in the refuge where there were thousands of sandhill cranes, swans, ducks and geese all singing their songs a Grammy moment. Every so often something would spook them an eagle or hawk perhaps and like a baseball game wave from left to right they would take flight. You have thousands of birds taking to the sky at once. Once in the air it was like a ballet of motion or a air traffic controllers worst nightmare. They would fly to the right then left then back to the right looking for a place to land back in the water. This ballet would play out many times during the end of light. With a scenic view of a series of ancient volcanoes in the background including a snow covered mount Shasta gleaming colors of the sunset. How can you top this.....
Photography Copyright Francesca Scalpi
Well the next day the was an area in the NWR that had a series of large trees with water on both sides of the road. Along this road was saw single eagles each claiming there own tree. We stopped of course to admire each one, photograph and pay homage. Scanning the treeline I saw a very large nest. There were lots of unoccupied nests throughout. I looked at the nest and to my surprise there was a female eagle in the nest and the male on a limb next to the nest. I shouted in a whispered voice to Lotus eagles in nest quick get in the car. Said our goodbyes to the singles and headed off to the nesting pair. We watched how they interacted with each other. She was stripping the bark on the limb right next to the nest. He was guarding her from maybe the single males down the road? We know that mate for life but maybe this was a new coupling? He than flew off and by now we had a crowd of photographers, birders and nature lovers. I heard one loud photographer state well I got the best I am going to get and left. I do love to photograph the birds. What I love most is to watch their behavior. Lotus and I were in for the long haul on this pair. Not long after the photographer and others left the male came back with large twigs and nesting material for his mate. He started breaking off some twigs and hurled them like rose petals in her nest. Once done he got in the nest and squawked several times as they were faced to face in the nest. He then flew on the right of the nests edge facing her squawking more. Than flew to the left edge of the nest squawking more then he mounted her and we witnessed the bald eagles mating in their nest. After they mated he went to the branch he was on when we first arrived squawk a few more times and than flew off. We waited to see if he returned and so did she. She than flew to another tree and squawked and no male returned her call. She than flew off to hunt for food or possibly him? Right after it got dark and I thought of the loud photographer who left missing the entire event. I did grin to myself and smiled and thanked the pair for sharing the wonderful moment with us. It was probably going to be the highlight of my trip or was it? Photography Copyright Francesca Scalpi
At the Petroglyph Point section of the Lava Beds National Monument a former island we saw ancient carvings. In the walls high above flew Prairie Falcons. In the large monolith there were cracks where we found a female Great Horned Owl. Right at twilight the male hooted to the female owl. We had not spotted which crack he was in. Because he was back in the crack his hoot echoed to her. I was photographing the larger female when he started to hoot. She came out on the edge of her crack and moved her head to the right towards the sound. He hooted again and I sent Lotus with binoculars in hand to find him. By now we had 3 other photographers all searching for the allusive male. He hooted again and this time she hooted back. In this place of the Ancients with the carvings etched into this monolithic rock nature was in its glory. The sun was going down behind us and casted a beautiful warm glow on this so magical place. We were all in the moment sharing an experience. The hoots continued back and forth. Then one of the Prairie Falcons above dove right in front of the female GHO who immediately stepped back into her crack. The male continued to call to her. The search team located the male who was deep in his cave making his calls. The female took some time to come back out to call back. With the light fading fast we knew the darkness would soon give them the privacy they needed. Click here to see photos of the female Great Horned Owl.
More adventures to come.....