Thursday, March 19, 2015

Red-necked Grebes at Warm Lake

On Father’s Day we headed out to explore some new (to us) territory in Valley County. We had heard that Red-necked Grebes have been found to breed at Warm Lake some years, and hoped to check it out. They normally breed on small inland lakes across Canada and Alaska, so this is pretty far south for them to be breeding.

Warm Lake sits at about 5300’ in the mountains east of Cascade. It’s just under 3 hours from Boise, and well worth the drive.

Map

Google map of Warm Lake relative to Cascade and Highway 55.

The drive up is beautiful, and passes through a mix of several species of pine and a few old burn areas.

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Burn area near Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

It was a little rainy as we approached the lake, and the misty air added a nice subdued mood to everything. The water dripping off of everything always seems to add another level of saturation and richness to the colors as well.

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Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

It was our first time visiting Warm Lake, and we were pleasantly surprised with how scenic the area was. The lake has some nice marshy edges with yellow lily pads blooming, and lucky for us, as soon as we pulled up to the first edge of the lake and took a look out, there was a Red-necked Grebe, close to the shore!

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Red-necked Grebe at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

It was fun to see it swimming among the lily pads in the rain, and we were pleased to get such close views so easily.

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Red-necked Grebe at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Red-necked Grebe at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

There were a few other birds nearby but we didn’t do too much photography for fear of waterlogging our camera. We did get this nice Chipping Sparrow’s photo though.

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Chipping Sparrow at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

After spending a few more minutes enjoying the grebe we headed off to continue our tour of the lake.

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Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

The feeders at a few summer homes on the west side of the lake hosted a few birds. We saw this Cassin’s Finch and a Steller’s Jay hanging around one home.

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Cassin’s Finch at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Steller’s Jay at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

We spent a little while around the back side of the lake hoping to find an American Three-toed Woodpecker among all the burned trees. We did find one, but only for a moment, with no chance for photos before it skipped off on us.

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Burn area west of Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

The area hosted lots of other fun birds as well, including a handful of Western Tanagers, Olive-sided Flycatchers, and Mountain Bluebirds.

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Olive-sided Flycatcher at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Mountain Bluebird at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Mountain Bluebird at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Mountain Bluebird at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Olive-sided Flycatcher at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Olive-sided Flycatcher at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Western Tanager at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

On our way back out the sun had started to come out, so we got to see everything with bright blue skies instead of mist and clouds.

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Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

Both at the swim beach, and back near the entrance, we found a couple more Red-necked Grebes.

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Red-necked Grebe at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

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Red-necked Grebe at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

The last bird on our way out was a goofy Osprey.

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Osprey at Warm Lake, Valley County. June 15, 2014.

We had so many more great birds we weren’t able to photograph. Check out our full lists on eBird:

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