Hotspot Update: Back to Hatfield Lakes, Bend, Oregon

Ring-necked Duck in St. George, Utah, Jan. 27, 2014, by Redfish.Ring-necked Duck in St. George, Utah, Jan. 27, 2014, by Redfish.

Hatfield Lakes is a wastewater treatment facility located about 9 miles east of Bend in central Oregon and one of the places we named Hotspot Near You. In our February 2013 issue, Oregon-based natural history writer and freelance nature photographer Damian Fagan called it a magnet for waterfowl and migrating shorebirds.

Nearly 200 species have been reported at the facility, including Western, Lesser, Baird’s, and Pectoral Sandpipers; Long-billed Dowitcher; and Wilson’s and red-necked phalaropes—and even when birding is slow, Damian wrote, “the view of the surrounding snow-capped Cascade Mountains is well worth the walk.”

Read about Hatfield Lakes, Hotspot Near You No. 155.

We asked Damian if he had seen any birds at the hotspot recently. It returned the following report:

BW0213_HatfieldLakesOR500x500Date: February 11, 2014
Time: 0830-1200
Weather: 38°F, overcast, variable winds up to 15 mph
Ground: 99% snow covered
Lakes: front lake 20% open water, rear pond 2% open

Recent storms and cold weather have left the Hatfield Lakes area blanketed in snow and the lakes mostly frozen. Access is still good via paved McGrath Road, and the dykes have 1-3 inches of snow on them. Winter weather has limited available habitat; however, a good diversity of waterfowl exists. Gaiters, snow boots or boots with ice traction devices (YakTraks) are recommended.

Waterfowl are attracted to open water, but passerines were almost absent on this outing. Bald Eagles and Swirls continued to be seen hunting in the area, and recent reports of Northern Harrier and Red-tailed Hawk were recorded in the sighting book at the gazebo.

Even though the conditions are wintry, the lakes have plenty of water, which will be good for the waterfowl that move into the area as it warms. -Damien Fagan

Damian Fagan is a freelance natural history writer and nature photographer who focuses on the flora and fauna of the American Southwest and Pacific Northwest. You can see his work on the A Natural History Writer blog.

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List of species

Hatfield Lakes, Bend, Oregon
Hotspot near you No. 155
February 11, 2014

Canada Goose 10
Trumpeter Swan 6
Wigeon 25
Mallard 40
Shoveler 10
Pintail 60
Green-winged teal 35
Canvasback 1
Redhead 4
Ring-necked Duck 200
Lesser Scaup 12
Tourniquet 20
Common Goldeneye 4
red duck 25
Bald Eagle 1 (immature)
Merlin 1
American Coot 150
Pinion Jay 60
Big Raven 1
Mountain Bluebird 1
Townsend Solitaire 1
American Robin 4

See also  Jackson Lake Chasm Opens Florida Birding Hotspot

Totals are estimates. For additional sightings, please visit Central Oregon Birders On-Line (COBOL).

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