Eagles at Klamath Basin

I will admit to having a bit of the winter doldrums. It has been so cold for so long that most open water is frozen over and other than the birds that visit my backyard feeder, the places I visit have seemed empty and sterile. I belong to an online Birding Photographer site and was becoming envious of all the wonderful exotic places full of wildlife and birds that people were visiting. I started daydreaming of visiting some of the legendary places that kept being mentioned like Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico and some different far flung destinations that I can’t realistically visit. That led me on a research hunt to find places I could go that were within reach. It seems silly that I did not realize or have the awareness that California, right next door, had so much to offer in the way of wildlife. Of course it is on the Pacific Flyway and has many refuges. I have overlooked all of this as I usually am oriented to looking east into the desert for inspiration. All of this led me to a weekend trip to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the California- Oregon border.
Visiting the refuge was an amazing experience that I will definitely repeat. During the winter months the Refuge plays host to the largest concentration of Bald Eagles in the contiguous United States with up to 1000 eagles visiting some years. Millions of waterfowl pass through the refuge on their way south for the winter and back north. The eagles come to take advantage of the bounty. In addition to the eagles there are lots of other raptors that winter there and live on the refuge year round. The amount of and diversity of wildlife I saw was amazing. Sometimes I hardly knew where to point my camera it was so overwhelming.
I rented a 500mm lens for a month so that I could use it on this trip and another outing I have planned in a couple of weeks. I am glad I did as it was nice to have the additional reach that my 400mm would not have afforded me. Speaking of affording, I will have to save my pennies for a 500mm of my own. It was pretty nice using this lens and will be a sad day when I have to send it back. That was what I was practicing with and for prior to this trip. I will be making several posts about visiting the Klamath Basin and showing photos from my visit but wanted to start with the rock stars of the Refuge: The Bald Eagles. Hope you enjoy!