The South West trip

I expect the desert to be dry, but it was more so than usual. A bit unsettling. Most of this trip was about visiting wildlife refuges. Some of the lakes that sustain the bird migrations were reduced to mere puddles or dried up altogether.

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The first day we headed in search of a campsite at Upper Klamath Lake. At least there was water, but even here the water levels are lower.

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Boondocking or dispersed camping (a concept I first heard about from Nina at Wheeling It ) is basically camping for free on public lands wherever there has been a previous campsite. We launched out on a dirt road following the bank of the Upper Klamath Lake until there was a wide spot in the road that had been camped at before. We never encountered another soul and had the most incredible view from the van. Priceless!

Just some of the birds we found during a walk along the edge of the lake. (click for a closer view)

Other sorts of wildlife found on the same walk.

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This looked like a race, but I don’t think the one with feathers had a ghost of a chance.

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The lovely view at the end of our first day…..

The bridge will only take you halfway there, to those mysterious lands you long to see. Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share the twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there. The last few steps you have to take alone. 
Shel Silverstein

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33 thoughts on “The South West trip

  1. Oh BOY, do I have catching up to do! Very, very jealous about the avocets. Never seen one. One of these days! Gorgeous photos of them with reflections, and all the birds – and other photos – are very nice!

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    • I’d never catch specific birds or recognize them without ole Eagle-eye Eric! Hoping you get to see them, too. They were still there the next morning with some of the Ibis, but too far off then for a decent shot.

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    • California, though seemingly getting the brunt of the drought, is not the only state to have lakes and reservoirs drying up. I suppose it makes it all the more special to catch the few critters that are still hanging around.

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  2. Your photos here are exquisite, Gunta. Thanks so much for taking us along on this gorgeous adventure; I love Klamath, I’ve only been there once long ago. Your photos are so inviting, I want to go back. I think the confusing fall warbler might be a yellow-rumped. They have a lot of variation, but there aren’t too many warblers that far north on the west coast at this time of year, so that’s my guess. 🙂

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    • Lower Klamath Lake Preserve gave me one of my favorite birding experiences with a blizzard of snow geese taking off and swirling. It was mesmerizing. Throw in some Sandhill Cranes and I was in seventh heaven. I think you should definitely think about a return visit. Thanks for identifying that little teeny warbler. There were bunches of them and they were flitting around so fast it was quite difficult to catch a shot of them.

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    • Leave it to us Americans to come up with terms like that. I have NO idea how they managed to invent boondocking, unless it originated from “boonies” – as in living in the boonies (as opposed to cities or suburbs)! But that begs the question of where boonies came from. We are indeed lucky to still have some open spaces left out here in the western US. We did find some uncrowded spots on this trip. Then again, this time of year there’s the colonies of the HUGE RVs running around the countryside (most of them heading south with the birds) and then there were the hunters loose in the woods. I suspect this spot was uninhabited because it was near the end of a long stretch of fairly rough dirt road. Something the monster RVs could never fit into. If you checked the link to Nina’s blog, you’d see what I mean by monster RVs (recreational vehicles). It’s a lifestyle where you ditch your home and live in a huge tin box on the road. They call theirs the Beast. 😉

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    • The pup seems to get less enthused as she gets older, but she’s still a pretty good sport about traveling. That jet stream shot was utter pure luck. The bird is either an egret or a heron judging by the crooked neck, but you really have to zoom in to see that.

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  3. It sounds so idyllic and beyond peaceful. Love the photo of the bird and the plane. I think Superman should have been in there somewhere. 🙂 The Oregon grapes are such a marvelous color, and your sunset pic is breathtaking.

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    • Oh no… don’t tell me I didn’t get Superman in the shot! 😉 Actually, I was just trying to get the heron or egret in flight and didn’t pay attention to the jet until I downloaded. The camping certainly was idyllic right there at the edge of the lake.

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  4. How wonderful to have such privacy and beautiful views. No crowded, noisy campsite! I’d never heard of Boondocking before. Beautiful shots, Gunta! I would have enjoyed this spot. .

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    • Thanks so very much for the visit and the comment! I would think that Australia has something similar (though I don’t know that). Here in the west, there are still enough open spaces (for now) that dispersed camping is still allowed. Of course you don’t get the fancy facilities with restrooms, or showers, or wifi included, but we sure enjoyed the utter solitude.

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