Calling All Waterfowl at Winter Wings
March 9, 2017
Sunday, the last day of Winter Wings Festival, we woke at 4am to heavy snowfall with 4″ built up in the parking lot.
It was cold, dark and early but we headed over to the OIT to catch our ride for the last event my friend & I signed up for, “Call of the Wildfowl” with Jim Szemenyei.
After discussion about weather and road conditions, only 5 of us decided to go on our field trip to Lower Klamath NWR in the heavy snow.
We let our bus driver off the hook and drove slowly down the highway in Karl’s 4WD.
Because we were late, I watched a magnificent sunrise from the backseat, and as we arrived waterfowl were already bustling about their day. (Lucky me to see my first Eurasion Wigeon pair!)
I must say this was one of the most amazing nature scenes I’ve ever witnessed……
….for hours and hours.
It was cold and windy but the sun peeked out from behind clouds off and on all morning.
Each time an eagle flew overhead a giant flock of birds would take off, fly across the marsh and land at a nearby section. Swans, geese, ducks, blackbirds, all taking off at once amidst a cacophony of calls.
Jim, our guide let us know Pintails are his favorite duck so I snapped a few shots for him.
I’d not seen a Greater White-fronted Goose before.
Did I mention the noise? It was incredible. Like being in our own PBS nature show.
An American Wigeon flew oh so close to us.
Another herd of Pintails….yes, I know they are not herds, hahaha.
As the morning progressed more Tundra Swans flew overhead.
Snow Geese were constantly in motion.
This group of swans were settling farther out than where we would have liked.
I thought this was an interesting view of a Northern Shoveler.
There goes another eagle hunting across the marsh.
Then we saw Sandhill Cranes arriving!
As our morning came to a close, Jim noticed this tree filled with Bald Eagles.
We walked over to investigate as waterfowl continued their routine.
A giant flock of Red-winged Blackbirds tormented us by not sitting still for portraits.
Another take off and landing for Snow Geese.
More Tundra Swans overhead.
Edit: I failed to mention I saw my first Tri-colored Blackbird. Not the best photo, but yay!
My friend secretly grabbed this shot of me sitting back for a minute, joyfully taking it all in. Another beyond fabulous day and it wasn’t even noon yet!
Note 2 hats (and I eventually pulled my hood up!), 2 gloves with hand-warmers, 2 shirts, a sweater and coat; 3 pants, 2 socks with toe warmers slipped inside insulated boots! Alas I left that scarf somewhere in Klamath Falls! It was deliciously warm on all my cold winter outings this season.
Our group headed back to campus to warm up, grab food and head out in different directions. Nancy and I went back to Lower Klamath that afternoon and found delightful treats that I’ll show you in my next post!