This NWR is for the birds

We studied the map to discover places of interest for potential stops along our driving route. Large lakes right on the California-Oregon state line were both in National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs). Perfect! Are you wondering what’s a NWR? It’s land set aside for protection of fish, wildlife, and plants, and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lower Klamath NWR was the first waterfowl refuge in the US, designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. Nearby, Tule Lake NWR is a preserve for migrating waterfowl and endangered fish, established by President Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

We looked forward to just being outside on a day with perfect weather and bright blue sky; visiting beautiful lakes and marshes; seeing birds. As soon as we arrived we started checking off what we were seeing on our bird list (helpfully provided at the visitors’ center).

One of our favorite birds, the American Avocet

One of our favorite birds, the American Avocet

We took a walk toward Tule Lake and were surprised to see American white pelicans (center) flanked by American avocets (left) and Forster’s terns (right).

We took a walk toward Tule Lake and were surprised to see American white pelicans (center) flanked by American avocets (left) and Forster’s terns (right).

We took the self-driving route bordering the lakes and marshy areas. A killdeer stopped by the side of the road and glanced back at us.

We took the self-driving route bordering the lakes and marshy areas. A killdeer stopped by the side of the road and glanced back at us.

We turned around and saw a coyote walk around the bend in the road. We were so surprised by him that we almost missed getting the photo.

We turned around and saw a coyote walk around the bend in the road. We were so surprised by him that we almost missed getting the photo.

When the sun dropped in the sky, we knew the time had come to move on, but what was that flash of yellow? A bird we’d not see before: a yellow-headed blackbird. Got the picture. Well-done!

When the sun dropped in the sky, we knew the time had come to move on, but what was that flash of yellow? A bird we’d not see before: a yellow-headed blackbird. Got the picture. Well-done!

Thanks to the foresight of conservationists all those years ago for protecting the land, animals, fish, and birds. We, and many others, enjoy these sights today. It’s well worth a trip to a NWR. We saw thirty-six bird species that afternoon, and five of those were birds that were new to us. And don’t forget the coyote and deer, too.

 

May 2015

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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9 Responses to This NWR is for the birds

  1. Annette Davey says:

    Great adventure stories. Take care.

  2. Lovely photos. Do you sit and be patient, or do you see the creatures as you walk along? Saw two grey whales yesterday as I took my walk along the beach, but as usual, no camera – just the memories.

    • Thx. As we walk along. We loose most bird pics because we can’t get close enough. Alway have camera with us. Whales! We almost never see them. Memories? Beth can remember. Joe, not so much.

  3. As a volunteer at the Loxahatchee NWR, I couldn’t agree more!
    Pelican Island, a bit north of us on Florida’s east coast, was the first NWR, established in 1903 by President Teddy Roosevelt.

  4. Rob Settlage says:

    And you were close enough to the coyote to identify its gender?!

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