ODFW Recreation Report: December 6

Photo by  Davide Cantelli

Highlights from this week’s Recreation Report:

Whale Watch Week is December 27–31.

Trained volunteers will be on hand at spots along the Oregon coast to help people see and learn about gray whales as they head south for the winter. Find out more at whalespoken.wordpress.com. 

Winter steelhead have arrived

More reports are coming in of early steelhead being caught in several coastal rivers. Rain freshets will bring more fish in, then be ready to hit the river when water levels start to drop. Check out the zone reports for the latest updates.

Duck hunters: watch for cold weather up north

Moderate weather conditions here and up north have slowed duck hunting in several areas. But once temperatures begin to drop in Washington and Canada, expect more ducks to start moving south.

Time’s running out to take a friend hunting

Hunters have until the end of the year to enter the “Take a Friend Hunting” contest. For veteran hunters who want to pass on their passion for the outdoors, this is the year to take that friend hunting—and enter to win a prize for your efforts. Find more details about how to participate.

Wildlife Viewing Report - KLAMATH COUNTY

Even though the fall migration is largely over, great opportunities still exist for other species which will spend the winter in the Klamath Basin.  Many raptors can be found around agricultural areas including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and rough-legged hawks.

The Link River trail below Upper Klamath Lake is an excellent place to view many species of wildlife including deer, river otter, muskrat, buffleheads, goldeneye, great-blue heron, and great egret.

Bald eagles migrate from nesting areas to winter here in the Klamath Basin.  They can be found foraging near waterfowl use areas such as Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and agricultural areas in the Lower Basin.


Updated Nov. 28, 2017

The Miller Island Unit is open to public use Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. All other days are closed to all entry, except public Rds., parking areas, boat ramp, designated birding trail and designated dog training area.

Water levels in most wetlands are full and remaining stable. Area wetlands have remained ice free so far.


Tundra swans may be seen using the area while on their migration south. Flocks of western Canada Geese can be found scattered across the area. The occasional white-fronted goose may still be found on the area, but they have largely departed the area. We are reaching the end of the migration season. Northern shoveler, northern pintail, mallards, gadwall, American wigeon, American green-winged teal can still be found throughout the area, but their numbers are declining. Diver species and numbers remain good with bufflehead, canvasback, ruddy duck, scaup and ring-necked ducks being quite common around the area, especially on the Klamath River.

Shorebirds, waders and other waterbirds

Great blue herons and American bitterns can be seen scattered around the area.

Gull numbers have declined over the past week, but the occasional ring-billed gull may still be found.

Pied billed and eared grebes have all been observed on Klamath WA, Miller Island Unit.

American coot are very numerous and can be found scattered across the area. Virginia rails and soras can be heard throughout the area, but can be hard to spot.


Great horned and barn owls can be seen at dusk. Red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, northern harriers, cooper hawks, sharp-shinned, American kestrels, prairie falcons can all be seen foraging throughout the wildlife area. Peregrine falcons can also be observed using old power poles overlooking the wetlands. Eagle species can be observed using the wildlife area.

Upland Game Birds

California quail and ring-necked pheasant can be found scattered around the old homesteads and the headquarters area.


Mourning and Eurasian collared doves can be found scattered over the area.

American and lesser goldfinches, house finches, American robins, brown-headed cowbirds, spotted towhees, black-billed magpies, scrub jays, western meadow larks and Northern flickers continue to be a common site throughout the area. Blackbird species have largely departed the area, but individuals may still be found.

Migrant warblers have largely departed the area but some may still be observed using trees and shrubs around the area. The occasional horned lark and American pipits can be spotted on the wildlife areas agricultural fields. Marsh wrens and song sparrows can be found in dense stands of tall emergent hard stem bulrush and broad-leaf cattail. Savanah sparrows are common throughout the uplands dominated by perennial bunch and salt grasses. White-crowned and golden crowned sparrows and dark eyed juncos are now a common site on the area.

Shrike can sometimes be found using the shrub dominated uplands of the Southern part of Miller Island.

Belted kingfishers can be located perched in trees overlooking water.

Common ravens are quite numerous at this time.

A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is now required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $10 daily or $30 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license; just be sure to put it on your dashboard. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.

Overnight camping is not allowed on the Miller Island Unit.

If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5732.