Agate Lake County Park (Harper Reservoir)

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From I-5 in Medford, take exit 30 to Hwy 62. Take 62 to White City (about 5.5 miles). Turn right (east) on Route 140 (Lake of the Woods Hwy). Go about 4 miles and turn right on Antelope Road (this is at the top of the hill past the golf course). The entrance to Agate Lake is about 1/2 mile down Antelope Road on the right and is marked with a sign. This will get you to the west shore. To get to the east shore, continue along Antelope to Dry Creek Road (this is the turnoff to the landfill). Agate Lake’s vehicle access has been limited, particularly on the east side for soil protection, in an effort to ban 4 wheel drive damage. There is now a good parking lot on the east side with a restroom, which offers good birding access for walking along the east shore. The county removed much of the brush on the eastside, in an effort to cut down fire danger. Unfortunately, it also removed a good deal of upland bird habitat. Birding is still good there, particularly in the Spring.


Habitat and Birds

This lake is close to Medford and near some of the other, more popular, birding sites in Jackson County. Unlike most of the other large water features in Jackson County, this is not a mountain lake. Oaks and scrub land surround this lake. There are plenty of patches of varied vegetation which create many microhabitats that attract a wide variety of birds. Grasslands, oak savannah, marsh, and blackberry thickets can be found along with the oak woodland. Waterfowl of various kinds visit Agate Lake. White-fronted Geese, dabblers (including Cinnamon Teal), and diving ducks can be seen most of the year. Western Grebe are found here often and American White Pelican has been seen along with Great Egret. Peregrine Falcons can sometimes be found feeding on shorebird flocks. Speaking of shorebirds; eleven species have been documented including Semipalmated Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, American Avocet, Stilt Sandpiper, and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Needless to say, this is a good shorebird location. This is one of the better locations to find terns and both Forster’s and Caspian are seen here. Pipits sometimes occupy the wet shoreline and Lark Sparrows can be found in the meadow. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is rare here but Oak Titmouse is pretty common. Watch for rarities. Four Great-tailed Grackles were found here in 2006 and Tricolored Blackbirds have nested here in the past. Other “goodies” that have been reported here include Black Phoebe, Bonaparte’s & Western Gull, Costa’s Hummingbird, Northern Shrike, and Ferruginous Hawk. Source: OFO Publication No. 19, Guide to Birds of the Rogue Valley, Massey & Vroman.