Last week my friends and I drove in for the occasion and parked our suitcases at the Running Y Ranch, a beautiful golf resort on Klamath Lake.
The next day we drove south to State Line Road to check out the dating scene that unfolds below Mt. Shasta.
Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is America’s first public refuge for waterfowl and was set aside during the Roosevelt Administration in 1908.
The Lovesick Blues
Let’s say you’re having a drink at your neighborhood pond and suddenly a ruddy duck paddles in your direction. Wouldn’t you like to know his intentions up front? He looks familiar, but something’s new. Oh yes, it’s the blue beak. And that’s the giveaway—he now longs to be more than just a fair-feathered friend.I kept hearing a meow, and I feared a cat was on the prowl. Turns out, that was the ruddy drake’s mating call. Go figure.
But you didn’t know because you’re not a ruddy duck.
An American widgeon swims by. His bill is also blue. You know what he’s up to. And why not? Last year’s chicks are gone and there’s an empty nest.
Orange or Red Is the New Gray.
Off in the shallow water on the edge of the pond, American avocets mill around. Poking their long beaks into the mud for crustaceans or aquatic insects, they look so nonchalant. But the orangey neck tells the female he’s also looking for something else.
The American white pelican began arriving in Klamath on our second day. Soaring in from Southern California on a wing span up to twelve feet makes the bird resemble a seaplane landing on a watery runway.
White Birds Can Dance
Oh to be a Western Grebe and participate in the joyful dance of love. On Klamath Lake near the resort, we walked out to a point where we spotted grebes in their beautiful mating duet, skipping on top of the water for sometimes up to sixty feet. Click on the previous link and then scroll down to watch how BBC captured this beautiful dance.
If you cannot make it to Klamath Falls this spring, consider next May or the Winter Wings Festival in February.
More photos on the facebook link below.