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Lake Abert Coalition


Lake Abert IBA is a unique inland salt-lake that is critical migratory bird habitat for an estimated 3.25-million bird-use days/year.  On some years, a quarter of the world’s population of the Wilson’s Phalarope stops to moult and feed before the non-stop flight to Argentina.  Yet this ecosystem has no protection, no guaranteed fresh water in-flow, no monitoring of the bird’s main food source (micro invertebrates), and no monitoring of the migratory birds themselves.  This project proposes to change that by: 
(1) assuring bird counts are completed for 2011 

(2) creating face-to-face meetings between state, federal, university, and conservation organizations 

(3) creating a clearinghouse (website) of information on the Lake Abert IBA

(4) engaging local birders to help protect this critical area, including a possible WHRSN designation.

On April 28, 2011 ECAS hosted a workshop in Paisley, Oregon.  The focus was strictly on scientific discussions associated with Lake Abert’s ecology and the impacts of water levels.  We were treated to four presentations in the morning and a field trip to the lake in the afternoon.  Here we visited the lake shore to sample the invertebrates and the dam at Rivers End Ranch.  21 people from a range of organizations attended.  The star attraction was Dr. Dave Herbst who is a leading expert on Great Basin salt lakes.  He provided a fantastic resource for understanding the system.  


Contact: For more details about this project please email John Reuland

2020 data

2019 data

2021 Update

John reports that a handful of surveys were done last year.  

Due to wildfire smoke, and because water levels were so low

there were very few birds.

No eared grebes (we normally have several thousand each count)

4,700 Avocets (we often have that many in 1 count)

21,200 Phalaropes (we frequently have 2-3 times that many in one count)

Ridiculously low stilt, gull, duck, and geese  levels

Lake Abert Surveys 2017- John Reuland, Leader

 The 2017 Lake Abert survey season ended on Sunday 10/8 (unless someone

randomly does a survey and sends me the results)  Kara Jakse and I did the

final survey on Sunday.  The lake still looks pretty good :


- lots of shovelers, gulls (including a few Franklin's), and avocets

- three species of geese (Canada, GWF, and Cackling)

- small duck numbers (mallards, widgeons, and ruddy's)  - just as well because

  there were a few hunters out gunning for ducks

1 marbled godwit

9 decoys (Canada goose and mallard)


Here are the highlights for the 2017 season:

5 volunteers did 11 surveys:

             1 in April

             4 in July

             3 in August

             1 each in September and October.


Peak birds:


             Phalaropes        97,500 on July 29

             Avocets                 9,485 on Aug 26

             Eared Grebes     5,575 on July 29

             Geese                  11,991 on Jul 29

             Gulls                      4,347 on Jul 29

             Stilts                         301 on 8/26

             Shovelers           10,445 on 9/15


Unusual Birds:

             2 lesser scaup on 4/15

             1 clark's grebe and 5 pintails on 8/6

             3 Virginia rails and 2 western grebes on 8/13

             1 Herring gull on 8/26

             2 sandhill cranes on 9/16

             1 cackling goose, 3 GWF geese, and 1 marbled godwit on 10/8


The lake was well used this year - far more birds than any year since 2013.

Great to see it look a little more like a lake.






Click here for Ron Larson's Lake Abert program synopsis from November 2017 Birders' Night.

Click here for a link to a Lake Abert video.

2011 - 2020 spreadsheet downloadable

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