Malone Springs & Klamath Lake

October 04, 2015  •  3 Comments

By the time we'd been somewhat stuck in camp (or shopping in Klamath Falls) for 3 days I was itching to get out and find some scenery and wildlife.   Every single trip to Klamath Falls I'd seen egrets in the ditch and fields along Highway 97 but it wasn't a stretch where you could stop and shoot pictures (you know that doesn't always keep me from doing it).   97 is a VERY busy highway without much shoulder right there.  I knew there had to be somewhere else where we could find egrets - a bird I'd never gotten to photograph before so of course I wanted it - BAD!

I convinced Kent and Mom that we should take a loop trip around Upper Klamath Lake and I saw where we could drive along the Klamath Wildlife Refuge.   So off with the maps we went up to Fort Klamath to cut across the top portion of the lake and down the west side.   Up in the mountains were numerous national forest pull offs that were marked and after missing a couple (wishing now I'd stopped at the one called Crystal Springs) I decided we needed to go explore one called Malone Springs.   What a lovely surprise that was!   Quite a ways down a dirt road off the highway and ending at a little turn around where there is a canoe trail launch (again note to self about the kayak) through the marsh and the refuge.   Oh how fun would that be in the spring with migrating waterfowl!  

The stop allowed us to pile out and play fetch in the water with Epic and let Sterling and the 3 littles we brought along (the 3 seniors stayed home at the trailer) stretch their legs and potty.   Louie once again surprised us a great deal with his energy, joy and confidence as he ran around and Kent and I had great fun wearing out Epic playing fetch both in the water and finding his dummy in the tall grass.    Happy happy dogs as you can see!

At the south end of the lake Kent found a road that appeared to head out towards a peninsula where there must be some bird life (or so we hoped).   Eagle Ridge Road skirts the Shoalwater Bay and yes indeed has many birds, but you can't really get close enough to do many pictures.  Still the scenery is great and I was thrilled to try my panorama setting on my iphone! The egrets were especially flighty so I took a few farrrrr away shots so I at least could identify what I was seeing - Great Egrets were all over the place!

When we stopped for a picnic lunch however (lots of nice pullouts along the way) I did hear an American Avocet and was able to sneak a couple of shots as this brave soul waded the waters.

Farther down the road I saw the very curved bill of a White-faced Ibis or at least that is the ibis they appear to have in the area.  Since they wouldn't be in breeding plumage (white face) this time of year I think it is a safe bet.

Oh and just for a diversion - some lovely Oregon Grapes.

We got down to the boat launch and asked ourselves why with such a HUGE lake mass was there no recreation.   We did finally find out that the average depth of Klamath Lake is indeed 8 feet but in this really dry year is more like 4 with of course some remote areas being as deep as 50 feet in a wet year.   Okay then, explains the abundance of marshes!

Heading into town I saw a bunch of birds (and yes an egret) off in another marsh where I could pull off.   Time for a few more bird shots.   Good time for a rousing bath spa don't you think? Can I just say these darned dark cormorants on water in the wrong light are just hard to get good shots of!  Still this is not a "photography blog" so you get it anyway!  LOL   No not sure what species it is either. Imagine my surprise as we drove past this place almost in town that had lots of No Trespassing signs and this sailboat (really - how do you use that in 4 feet of water) moored by the shore with a little shack and a couple old cars.  I look over and low and behold an egret.   CLOSE!   Okay so not in the most ideal "surroundings" and poopy light but I wasn't going to pass that up.  Pull over, shoot out the window and here are my results.  I just adore the graceful curve of those necks.   Probably the best ones until....

...well you'll have to wait for that!


What a beautiful area to go exploring. I love all the bird photos and the photos of your dogs playing. They look very happy.
Brian King Images
Lots of birds, huh? Love the avocet photo! That's awesome!
Far Side(non-registered)
You got some great shots of the Egret! ANd the gang...they all look happy! I see someone loves Grandma:)
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