To quote the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “National wildlife refuges make great bird festival locales because they’re bird magnets; many protect important bird habitat along the country’s major flyways.” Their website lists 34 birding festivals for 2014, including the Winter Wings Festival from Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
This festival not only caters to birders but photographers as well. Not knowing much about landscape photography, I began my festival with an awesome field class taught by one of the best professional nature photographers in the Northwest, Jack Graham. Click on photos for full sized images.
The weather couldn’t have been better for landscape photography, the light was beautiful, and I learned plenty that morning.
Photographers come to Klamath Basin from distant lands to get shots of Bald Eagles which are certain to be found here in large numbers.
However, this was the first time I had encountered a leucistic Bald Eagle! Word from the locals was that this bird returns every winter and stays for a few months, then it’s gone. I followed their directions later in the afternoon and got some good shots of this very interesting eagle.
Heading out on the auto loop at Lower Klamath NWR, just beyond the row of Cottonwoods that support the large Bald Eagle contingent, I spotted this light morph Rough-legged Hawk trying to go unnoticed.
Everywhere you looked were Tundra Swans…
and breathtaking views .
There were Red-winged Blackbirds of course…
and one of my favorite ducks, the Bufflehead. The drake shown here in all his spendiferous colors.
This visit I will leave you with an afternoon view of Stukel Mountain with the clouds rolling in and the reflection in Lower Klamath Lake.
If you want to know more about Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first waterfowl refuge, check out this informative post.