News and information from our partners

Willamette Zone weekly wildlife viewing report Sept. 5



September is Swift Watch month, Chapman School, NW Portland, 6-7:30 p.m.

Every year in late August, one of Portland’s most spectacular natural events begins: Thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather in the city as they prepare to migrate to Central America and Venezuela. Migrating swifts often use chimneys as roosts, and they are likely to return to the same roost year after year. One population has been returning to Chapman Elementary School in NW Portland since the 1980s, and it is one of the largest known roosting sites of migrating Vaux's Swifts. This is a popular bird-watching opportunity through the month of September, in the evening from 6-7:30 p.m. Parking is limited at the school but overflow parking is available six blocks atay at Montomery Park, located at 2701 NW Vaughn St. For more information, visit the Audubon Society of Portland Web site.

VULTURE AWARENESS DAY, Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.,Portland Audubon Society, 5151 NW Cornell Rd.

Around the world, vultures are facing hazards in the wild and their numbers are dwindling. As nature’s recyclers, they play an important role in a variety of ecosystems. Portland Audubon’s free celebration is aimed at raising awareness about these creatures. For more information visit the Portland Audubon Society's Web site.

Corvallis Area

Jackson-Frazier Wetland

Enjoy the last days of summer, by taking a walk close to home. Located northeast of Corvallis at the north end of Lancaster Street, the wetland features an accessible, wooden boardwalk (2/3 of a mile long) that allows visitors to see many birds, plant communities and habitats. Interpretive signs explain different aspects of the park's natural history and watershed.

This fall, look for Yellow-rumped Warblers in trees and shrubs. Fox sparrows, golden-crowned sparrows and dark-eyed juncos can be seen in shrubs and on the ground. Lincoln's Sparrow can be seen in shrubs and marshy areas.

Find a bird list and a full-color poster of the birds that frequent the area online,

EE Wilson Wildlife Area.

There are lots of deer, shorebirds and waterfowl to see on the Wildlife Area—look for goose, mallard, hooded merganser and wood duck broods. Wildlife viewing remains good for waterfowl and shorebirds. Neotropical migrants in the area include yellow-breasted chat, American goldfinch, various swallows, warblers, thrush, kinglet and common yellowthroat.

Spring and summer are great times for birdwatching migrants as well as waterfowl including mallards, wood duck, hooded merganser, western Canada goose. Snipe and other shorebirds are periodically seen.

Note: Dogs are required to be on a leash inside the wildlife area boundary. Rifles and pistols are prohibited year round.

Find directions to EE Wilson Wildlife Area.

Eugene Area

Delta Ponds’ Turtles

This time of year viewers can observe native western pond turtles as they soak up the sun basking on logs. The best time to observe turtles is mid-mornings on sunny days. The turtles will retreat back into the water if the temperature is too hot. Please try to observe the turtles from a distance to avoid disturbing them. Unfortunately, viewers will likely see Red-eared Sliders in addition to the Western Pond Turtles. The sliders are a non-native invasive species that compete with our native turtles for habitat and food.

For more information, visit the City of Eugene Parks Web site.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is open daily for public use providing great wildlife viewing opportunities. (One section of levee in the western portion of the Fisher Butte unit is posted closed to provide wildlife sanctuary.)

Observant visitors may catch a glimpse of black tailed deer and furbearers including beaver and otter, mink, red fox and coyotes. Some of the unusual and special bird species to be on the lookout for include white pelicans, black terns, band-tailed pigeons, yellow-headed blackbirds, osprey and bald eagles. This is a great time of year to look for waterfowl, shore birds, wading birds, songbirds, raptors, reptiles, and amphibians. 

There is an elevated viewing platform in the Fisher Butte unit just south of Royal Avenue that is open year-round. A second viewing platform is under construction and scheduled for installation this summer. The new viewing platform will be located 1/4 mile north of the Fisher Butte unit parking lot on Hwy 126.

Visitors are reminded that dogs must be kept on leash at all times. Visitors are also cautioned that there have been recent vehicle break-ins at Fern Ridge and in local parks, so please secure your valuables before departing your vehicle. Parking areas are located along Highway 126, Nielson Road, Cantrell Road, Territorial Road, and Clear Lake Road. Contact the wildlife area headquarters, (541) 935-2591 if you have any questions.

Directions to Fern Ridge Wildlife Area.

Portland Area

Don’t overlook birdwatching near home on these busy falls days. Salish Ponds Wetlands Park, located between Halsey and Glisan streets at the site of an old rock quarry, is Fairview's largest city park and a great place to see birds.

Visitors can see hawks, geese, ducks and rabbits. At this time of year, look for barn swallows, tree swallows, red-tailed hawks, mallards, American coots, Western scrub jays and hummingbirds.

And why not bring your fishing pole? West Salish Pond was stocked with 667 trophy trout last week.

TriMet bus 77 serves Salish Ponds Wetlands Park. Get off at 207th Avenue and walk south two blocks to the Salish Ponds Trailhead. Source: Metro Web site.

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Nesting season is winding down and now it is time to start looking for a variety of song birds, also shorebirds starting their fall migration and juvenile bald eagles and great blue heron taking their first flights. The best viewing opportunities are at Coon Point, Oak Island Nature Trail and Rentenaar Road.

Dogs are welcome on the Wildlife Area but must be kept on leash at all times.

A parking permit is required for the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and can be purchased at ODFW Point of Sale vendors or at the Sauvie Island ODFW office, Monday through Friday during office hours.

Find directions to Sauvie Island Wildlife Area on the ODFW website.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment


Information from The Chronicle and our advertisers (Want to add your business to this to this feed?)