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!

15 thoughts on “Eagles at Klamath Basin

  1. What a great post, Alison. Don’t you just love wildlife refuges. I have been to the Bosque Del Apache, and several others, and it is so great to see so many species of birds in those places. I envy you, seeing all of those Bald Eagles in one place. I own a 500mm lens, and I don’t know what I would do without it. You did pretty well with it, too, as I can see in those great photos.

    1. Thanks Bob. πŸ™‚ Yes, the refuge surpassed all of my expectations! I will be going back when the sandhill cranes pass through and visiting other refuges over the mountains from here when the weather permits. Would love to see some of your photos from Bosque. Will have to go peruse your blog for those which will be a pleasure. Thanks for stopping in.

  2. Wow, I had forgotten how well these predators are equipped with powerful beaks and talons! I’ve seen Bald Eagles here and there, but never up close and never gotten any pictures so I enjoyed seeing yours. Never thought of renting a 500mm lens – definitely something worth looking into.

    1. Thanks Jo Ann. They do have incredible weapons to use don’t they? I rented the lens from Borrowlens.com. I rented the Sigma 50-500mm because it was so reasonable compared to the Canon 500mm for the time I wanted to have it. Good experience so far. Saving for the dream lens now. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Calee! Have seen them in Alaska as well and learning that I have access so much closer was a real treat. Thank you for visiting, looking and commenting. Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

  3. Allison, OH MY GOSH! These are spectacular! The Bald Eagle is such a majestic bird, you captured it so well in your photos. Always look forward to your posts.

  4. Fabulous site and shots. What a great place to live and photograph. I would adore it. Thanks for dropping by and following my blog. Yours makes my little blog look a bit sad. Perhaps it will spur me on to greater things knowing such an expert is following.

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