Summer Lake Wildlife Area

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Picture Rock Pass

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Cabin Lake

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Silver Creek Marsh Campground

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Paulina Marsh

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Christmas Valley Raptors

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East Bay Campground (Thompson Reservoir)

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Glass Butte

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Fremont Point (Winter Rim)

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Duncan Reservoir

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Silver Lake

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Seasons

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Location

From Hwy 97 south of LaPine, take Hwy 31 for 69.0 miles to the Summer Lake Store.  Stop in and enjoy the shade of the rest area or drop by the store for refreshing beverage, some fuel, or a cold ice cream. Continue South for 1.3 miles to the Summer Lake Wildlife Area Headquarters. Before entering at HQ, take a detour south of the entryway to Jacks Lakes and check for waterfowl. Double back and drop into the Summer Lake Lodge which is just across from the HQ entrance. Check with the Lodge and ask to bird the grounds. When finished, enter the wildlife area at HQ. At the HQ building, you can use a fully stocked restroom and sign the guestbook as well as view several maps of the wildlife area. Set your odometer and head Southeast from HQ on the regular auto tour loop.  At 1.5 miles, the road will bend to the right, cross the Ana River, and then fork. Take the right fork and drive all the way to the end of the road. Backtrack to the fork and turn right.  Travel East for just under 1 mile and look for a campground your right. Check the trees in this campground for owls and migrants. Continue on this one lane road as it wraps around the refuge. You will end up back at hwy 31 just a little North of the Summer Lake Store and the rest area. At this point, many people take a detour to Ana Reservoir. To do this, head North on Highway 31 for 2.3 miles and look for Carlon Road.  Drive East on Carlon for 1.2 miles to Pintail Road.  Turn Right and drive down to the parking area.

 

Directions

Habitat and Birds

Summer Lake is one of the premier birding locations in the state of Oregon. Its remote location keeps it from being overrun with birders but it truly is a birder’s paradise. The tour loop takes you through a marshy lake bed with plenty of cattails, tules, and sagebrush. Starting in March, large numbers of waders and shorebirds are joined by ducks of every kind and a myriad of other kinds of birds. Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, Ruddy Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, and both white geese are just some of the swimmers that one might encounter on the tour loop. Black-crowned Night-heron’s, American Bittern, and Great Egrets can be found along the waterways. In the summer, Ring billed Gull, California Gull, Caspian Tern, and Forster’s Tern are easily found. All the major, and some of the minor, shorebirds can be found at this location. Snowy Plover nest here as do American Avocet, Black- necked Stilt, Willet, Wilson’s Phalarope, Wilson’s Snipe, and Killdeer. Great Horned Owls are easily found in the trees around the camping areas. Virginia Rail and Sora are often heard calling in the cattails while they share a residence with Marsh Wren and Common Yellowthroat. A variety of sparrows including Song, Savannah, Brewer’s, White-crowned, and Golden-crowned Sparrows can all be found in depending on the season.  Warblers, Vireo’s, flycatchers, and finches all show up during the spring, and especially, the fall migration.  Rarities here include Whooper Swan, American Black Duck, Yellow Rail, Hudsonian Godwit, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Red Phalarope, Wandering Tattler, Little Gull, Cattle Egret, Baltimore Oriole, both grackles, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Black-and-White Warbler, Northern Parula, Blackpoll Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Indigo Bunting.

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