Today is Memorial Day in the USA, a public holiday in remembrance of those who have died in military service. This is Fort Klamath Historical Cemetary, decorated for the occasion
Today was a day of two halves. We were out early to get to the rim of Crater Lake NP before the crowds descended on this Memorial Day holiday. We practically had the place to ourselves for the first couple of hours. Apart from taking in the truly spectacular vista, we were on the lookout for some particular birds – high alpine species, only found above the tree-line. It took us several stops before we found the first of them, Gray-crowned Rosy-finch. Reminiscent of our own Crimson-winged Finch, with similar approachability, once they were pinned down. The second was easier to locate, being a classic ‘car-park’ bird – scavenging scraps from the tourists, Gray Jay.
The truly spectacular Crater Lake, formed in the bowl of a massive volcano. Six miles across at it’s widest point, the lake is nearly 2,000 feet deep and is estimated to hold 4.9 trillion gallons of water
Top target of todays birds – Gray-crowned Rosy-finch. A ‘World tick’ and every other sort of tick as well!
The other ‘alpine species’, new for the trip et al was Gray Jay
As the days go on it becomes harder and harder to add new birds, so we were pleased to finally add this ‘trip tick’, which should have fallen long ago – Golden-crowned Kinglet
In contrast to the alpine birding of this morning, our afternoon was spent walking part of the causeway which bisects the excellent Wood River Wetland reserve, with extensive marsh to the north and Agency Lake – part of the Upper Klamath Basin, to the south. A delightful walk with waterfowl and ‘bush-birds’ everywhere. Although we didn’t add any more trip ticks, we did see plenty of State ticks. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all came right at the end when we were watching a migrating flock of Franklin’s Gulls, hawking insects over the reserve. Jane spotted a ‘hawk’ flying amongst them. Turned out to be Common Nighthawk (2) – a most unexpected addition to our Oregon list. All in all, a truly memorable Memorial Day.
View from the causeway, Wood River Wetland reserve – looking across Agency Lake to snow-capped Mt. Shasta in the far distance
Perhaps the biggest birding surprise of the day, a Common Nighthawk, hawking insects amongst a large flock of migrating Franklin’s Gull