What a sendoff

Our final morning in Klamath Falls dawned dry and sunny!

We had only a couple hours to scout the wildlife refuges for our main quarry…eagles…because we had a long drive home.

The Lower Klamath…and Tule Lake…National Wildlife Refuges provide miles of shallow lakes for wintering waterfowl. They’re even roughly connected by more miles of farmers’ fields that are flooded at this time of year. The whole area is criss-crossed by slightly raised ridges that provide a single lane of gravel road, which birders are permitted to use to pursue their avocation.
DSC_6649_aWe found it a little surprising that eagles would be found here, because there were no trees for them to use as perches for hunting.

Ahhhh, eagles, perhaps the last great make-do-with-what-you’ve-got predators…
DSC_6142_aThere also were numerous electric lines running through the area, with many, many telephone poles…

On our way to the refuges, we ran across more of those ubiquitous hawks around the un-flooded farmers’ fields.
DSC_6720_aDSC_6121_aDSC_6461_aWe finally ran across a distant eagle, and initially felt it was a juvenile bald eagle. However, back home on the computer screen, the enlarged image gave us some idea that it might be a juvenile golden eagle because of the shape of its wings and coloration…
DSC_6392_aIf only it had been closer…

You’ve already seen our thrill for the day…the two bald eagles engaged in a mid-air food fight!

Well…it wasn’t our only thrill.

As we were speeding down one of the gravel levees, trying to really get on the road and get home, we came upon this fabulous scene.
DSC_6777_aWe were able to approach this bald eagle in our car and shoot from the open window…which allowed us to be much closer than when they’re flying around…and the sun and the sky were just soooo right!

But wait, there’s more…

He (or she) finally took off…and flew up to a juvenile bald eagle!

From their interactions, it seemed less like a courting affair or territory dispute, and more like a parent-and-child exercise!
DSC_6891_aDSC_6892_aDSC_6893_aEventually, the young one flew away, and the old one flew over us…as a salute for our sendoff!
DSC_6962_a

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