Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the fifteenth installment of the “Site Guide”.  It covers the last of the sites which border the Columbia River and encompasses the Marshland Drainage District west of Clatskanie.

This guide will be published in a series of installments:

Overview of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Habitats of Columbia County (5/9/14 post)
Birds of Columbia County – Overview (5/9/14 post)

Birding Sites of Columbia County – Individual installments, and associated Bird Lists of the Sites in Columbia County:
Introduction (5/12/14 post)

Columbia River Sites – South to North
Sauvie Island (5/12/14 post)
Scappoose WTP and Kessi Pond (5/14/14 post)
Crown Zellerbach Trail – East End (5/15/14 post)
Scappoose Bottoms (5/19/14 post)
Scappoose Bay (5/29/14 post)
St. Helens WTP and Knob Hill Park (5/30/14 post)
Gray Cliffs Waterfront Park and Dalton Lake (6/1/14 post)
Dalton Lake Trail, Columbia City, Dyno Nobel, Nicolai Wetlands, Gobel Marina (6/17/14 post)
Trojan Park, Carr Slough, Prescott Beach, Laurel Beach CP (6/22/14 post)
Rainier Waterfront, Dibblee Point, Rainier Dike Rd (6/24/14 post)
Erickson Dike Rd, John’s Slough (6/25/14 post)
Marshland Drainage District (6/27/14 post)

(A link to a downloadable copy of this guide is found in the first installment of this series)

Here is a map of all the locations mentioned in this guide.
Columbia River Birding Areas

24) Marshland Drainage District: If Sauvie Island is the Crown Jewel of Columbia County then this overlooked patch is a diamond in the rough. Here is a map with suggested stops. This bottomland is unique in that it is surrounded by the coast range Willapa Hills except on the north where it borders the Columbia River. I believe this configuration draws in some higher elevation birds like Ravens and Band-tailed Pigeons.

Marshland — Bergman’s Hole
Location/Directions: (46.12722, -123.2417) 2.0 miles west of Hwy 47 in Clatskanie on Hwy 30 turn north onto Pt. Adams Road. Drive 0.5 miles to pull off at Bergman’s Hole.

Habitat and Birds: Passerines are found in the alders and cottonwoods that line the sloughs. You’ll find ducks and waders on the slough and sparrows along the road.

Marshland – River Front Road.
Location/Directions: Continuing on Point Adams Rd in 0.9 miles it becomes River Front Rd. This follows the Columbia River Channel south of Wallace Island for 2.5 miles where Midland Dist. Rd connects. At 2.6 miles Webb Dist Rd connects. At 3.3 miles is the entrance to Jones Beach. At 4.1 miles it ends at Woodson Rd. 0.8 miles along Woodson Rd the Webb Dist Rd comes back in. This is 1.0 mile from Hwy 30.

Habitat and Birds: The River view will have Loons, grebes and rafts of ducks in winter; Bonaparte’s Gulls have been seen once and Caspian Terns frequently in season. There can be lots of Bald Eagles perched in the trees along the river. To the south is pasture land and cottonwood plantations. A scan of the plantations and the perching pylons can turn up raptors, possibly a Rough-legged Hawk.

Marshland – Jones Beach
Location/Directions: (46.13868, -123.29864)

Habitat and Birds: There is an expansive river view here bordered by a Cottonwood gallery forest. There is excellent sparrow kack along the road. American Pipits can occasionally turn up along the beach. Great Horned Owls have nested in the large cottonwoods on the south side of the road.

Marshland – Webb District Wetlands
Location/Directions: (46.12589, -123.30239) 0.6 miles from the Woodson Rd. junction is a place to park next to the pump station. Webb Dist Rd is 2.2 miles long from River Front Rd to the Woodson Rd junction.

Habitat and Birds: Savannah Sparrows can be thick along the southern section of the road. There is good duck habitat in the winter on the wetlands. It is very reliable for Rudy Duck. Check for raptors in the tree tops. Wintering Rough-legged Hawks, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, and Red-tails cruise the area. Watch out for odd birds as a local rancher raises all manners of fowl.

Marshland – Woodson Rd
Location/Directions: 1.8 miles long from Hwy 30 to River Front Rd.

Habitat and Birds: The flooded fields and sloughs harbor ducks and possible Horned Grebes. Open country raptors like Rough-legged Hawk in winter cruise the pasture land.

Marshland – Midland Dist. Rd
Location/Directions: Midland Rd. is 3.2 miles long from Bergman Hole to River Front Rd.

Habitat and Birds: There is a good variety of habitat with the flooded fields and the slough holding water fowl and plenty of brushy kack for passerines. Scanning for raptors can be productive.

Marshland Drainage District (PL) – 115 species, 14, (5/31/14)

Greater White-fronted Goose Cackling Goose Canada Goose
Tundra Swan Wood Duck Gadwall
Eurasian Wigeon American Wigeon Mallard
Cinnamon Teal Northern Shoveler Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal Canvasback Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup Lesser Scaup Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser Common Merganser Ruddy Duck
California Quail Ring-necked Pheasant Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe Western Grebe Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern Great Blue Heron Great Egret
Turkey Vulture Osprey Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk Bald Eagle Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk Virginia Rail American Coot
Killdeer Spotted Sandpiper Greater Yellowlegs
Long-billed Dowitcher Wilson’s Snipe Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull California Gull Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull Caspian Tern Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove Mourning Dove Great Horned Owl
Rufous Hummingbird Belted Kingfisher Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker Northern Flicker American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon Western Wood-Pewee Willow Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Warbling Vireo Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub-Jay American Crow Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Purple Martin Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow Barn Swallow Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee White-breasted Nuthatch Brown Creeper
Pacific Wren Marsh Wren Bewick’s Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet Swainson’s Thrush
American Robin Varied Thrush European Starling
American Pipit Cedar Waxwing Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat Yellow Warbler Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler Wilson’s Warbler Spotted Towhee
Savannah Sparrow Fox Sparrow Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow White-throated Sparrow White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Black-headed Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting Red-winged Blackbird Western Meadowlark
Brewer’s Blackbird Brown-headed Cowbird Bullock’s Oriole
House Finch Purple Finch American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
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