10. Lake Abert
Habitat: Managed by Lakeview District BLM, Lake Abert is the third largest alkaline body of water in the United States. Also, Abert Rim is one of the highest fault scarps in North America. Abert Lake has deep and shallow water, marsh, and sand dune habitats. Millions of brine shrimp (sea monkeys) in the lake provide food for thousands of migrating birds. Lake Abert and Abert Rim are a designated Oregon Audubon Society Important Bird Area due to the importance of the area to migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway. CAUTION: DO NOT SWIM IN THE LAKE. The extreme alkalinity is harmful to humans.
Birds: Lake Abert is an important spring and fall stopover for migrating water-birds including Northern Shoveler; Ring-billed and California Gulls; Canada, Snow, Ross', White-fronted, and Snow Geese. In summer Black and Forster's Terns; American Avocet; Whitefaced Ibis; Eared and Clark's Grebes; Ruddy Duck; and Black-necked Stilts are common. Wilson's Phalarope can be observed in July, and in August you can find Rednecked Phalaropes.
Directions: From the community of Valley Falls, turn right onto Hwy 395 for 5.5 miles to the Watchable Wildlife Area Sign. Access by passenger car is year-round.
Nearby Attraction: Continue N on Hwy 395 for the next 12 miles using pullouts along the highway to view the lake and shoreline with a spotting scope. The area between milepost 74 and 71 is especially good due to fresh spring water entering the lake. August offers great shorebird viewing of up to 20 species in this area. To see nesting (June through August) Western Snowy Plover, continue N on Hwy 395 to milepost 68 and then turn left (W) near the high voltage powerlines on CR 3-09 for 1 mile. The alkali flats on the northeast end of the lake host one of the largest nesting populations of Western Snowy Plover in the country. The road in this area of the lake is a minimally maintained gravel road. It is not accessible to passenger vehicles from November 1 through April 15.