Category: Oregon Level III 3

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the thirteenth installment of the “Site Guide”. It covers the area in the Rainier area.
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)

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

Columbia River Birding Areas

19) Rainer Waterfront:
Location/Directions: (46.09025, -122.93352) This is a small downtown park. Turn North off of Hwy 30 onto 3rd St and go one block to the park.

Habitat and Birds: The river view can produce Ducks, Gulls, and Grebes. If you get lucky the docks will have roosting gulls in the winter that can be easily picked through. If not, there are still a ton of gulls around but usually on the wing or way out in the channel. This is the best chance of finding a Thayer’s gull in the county, especially if the gulls are roosting on the docks. The Waterfront road to the south of the commercial district can have decent passerines around the buildings and residences.

Rainier Waterfront (PL) – 48 species, 9 (5/14/14)

Cackling Goose Canada Goose American Wigeon
Mallard Northern Pintail Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck Greater Scaup Lesser Scaup
Common Merganser Western Grebe Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron Bald Eagle Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot Killdeer Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull Western Gull California Gull
Herring Gull Thayer’s Gull Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon Eurasian Collared-Dove Northern Flicker
Western Scrub-Jay American Crow Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow Black-capped Chickadee Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin Varied Thrush European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler Spotted Towhee Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird House Finch House Sparrow

20) Dibblee Point:
Location/Directions: (46.10775, -122.98419) Access off of Rainier Dike Rd, 1 mile past the L&C Bridge, turn right over the RR Tracks.
Habitat and Birds: There are river views and a Cottonwood gallery forest. There are rafts of ducks on the river, with gulls, loons and grebes in winter. The Cottonwoods have typical gallery birds. It’s a good place for woodpeckers as well. No patch list has been generated.

21) Rainier Dike Rd:
Location/Directions: (46.09972, -122.96686) Starting from under the Lewis and Clark Interstate Bridge, it is 3.6 miles to the end of the road. – Access from Hwy 30, west of Rainier city center. Look for Mill St or Rock Crest St. to access the Dike Rd.

Habitat and Birds: This area has agricultural fields along the road which flood in winter and make for great duck and goose habitat. Scan the tree tops for raptors. A slough in the middle holds some diving ducks in winter. The roadside kacks harbor sparrows. Short-eared owls have been reported here. There is parking at the end of the road and a dike trail can be walked.

Rainier Dike Rd (PL) – 44 species, 3 (5/14/14)

Snow Goose Cackling Goose Canada Goose
Gadwall American Wigeon Mallard
Northern Pintail Green-winged Teal Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser California Quail Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Great Egret Heron Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk Bald Eagle Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot Killdeer Eurasian Collared-Dove
Belted Kingfisher Northern Flicker American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon Steller’s Jay Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow Black-capped Chickadee White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper Pacific Wren Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet American Robin European Starling
Spotted Towhee Fox Sparrow Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow Golden-crowned Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird House Sparrow
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Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the eleventh installment of the “Site Guide”. It covers the area between the north end of St Helens and north to the Gobel Marina.

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)

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

10) Dalton Lake Trail (OBT):

Location/Directions: (45.87444, -122.8123) At the north end of St Helens there is a stop light intersection. Deer Island Rd goes to the east and Liberty Hill Dr to the west. Take Deer Island Rd and just after crossing the RR tacks turn left onto Oregon St. Drive a short distance to a parking area directly across from the Humane Society animal shelter. A paved trail heads north paralleling Hwy 30 for a while.

Habitat and Birds: There is a wooded trail that leads down to an impoundment lake. Expect woodland birds, migrants, and the lake can have ducks and grebes. There is a view of the river which can be scanned for all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. I’ve only been here once so I don’t have a good feel for the possible birds but would not expect it to be much different than many locations with the same habitat. It gets a touch of Douglas Fir understory that could add a bit of color. A Clark’s Grebe has been reported from here.  No patch list has been generated.

 

11) Columbia City Water Front:

Location/Directions: (45.890475, -122.806322) In Columbia City off of Hwy 30 take First St. to the east, drive a few blocks to the end and park at the little city park here that overlooks the river.

Habitat and Birds: this is just a tiny city park. The river view can have all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. An adjacent park area holds residential type passerines. I’ve only been here a couple of times so I don’t have a good feel for the possible birds but would not expect it to be much different than many locations with the same habitat. It’s really just another place to scan the Columbia.  No patch list has been generated.

 

12) Dyno Nobel Dike Rd:

Location/Directions: (45.91545, -122.82756) 1.7 miles north of the stop light on Hwy 30 in Columbia City.

Habitat and Birds: This is a new patch. The land is privately held and requires permission to access. A permit can be obtained at the Dyno Nobel office across the street. This is a pretty nice little patch of Columbia River bottomland. There is a slough that runs under the dike that had wood ducks on it in May. There is a track road that runs along the top of the dike but is not part of the Dyno Nobel property and gated, but there is a graveled road that parallels the cooling water outlet that goes down to the river. There is also a jeep track that goes into a large stand of Cottonwood and also goes out to the river. A couple of hours here turned up over thirty species.

12) Dyno Nobel Dike Rd: (PL) – 33 species, 1 (5/25/14)
 

Wood Duck Double-crested Cormorant Great Blue Heron
Osprey Bald Eagle Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker Downy Woodpecker Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Pewee Willow Flycatcher Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub-Jay American Crow Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee Brown Creeper House Wren
Bewick’s Wren Swainson’s Thrush American Robin
European Starling Cedar Waxwing Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat Yellow Warbler Wilson’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee Song Sparrow Black-headed Grosbeak
Brown-headed Cowbird Bullock’s Oriole American Goldfinch

 

13) Nicolai Wetlands:

Location/Directions: (45.99232, -122.87465) There is a pull-off along Hwy 30 which overlooks this wetland – 1.7 miles south of Gobel and 4.3 miles north of Deer Island.

Habitat and Birds: Viewing conditions are limited and difficult as it right on Hwy 30. A small patch list has been generated from only a handful of short stops. The wetlands have geese, swans, and ducks in winter; waders all year, and passerines in the trees along the Hwy. This area could be very productive if the birding wasn’t such a challenge.

13) Nicolai Wetlands (PL) – 22 species, 2 (5/14/14)

Cackling Goose Canada Goose Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan Gadwall American Wigeon
Mallard Ring-necked Duck Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser Double-crested Cormorant Great Blue Heron
Great Egret Bald Eagle Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker Western Scrub-Jay American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee Ruby-crowned Kinglet Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow

 

14) Gobel Marina (OBT):

Location/Directions: (46.01596, -122.87413) Turn off of Hwy 30 into the marina area at the only cross road in town. 15 minutes free parking.

Habitat and Birds: This is a good area to scope the sheltered bay. The river can have all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. Purple Martins nest in the area. I’m not familiar with the area and no patch list has been generated.

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the tent installment of the “Site Guide”. It covers the fourth and fifth of five sites in the environs of St. Helens – Gray Cliffs Waterfront Park and Dalton Lake.

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)

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

Columbia River Birding Areas

9) Gray Cliffs Waterfront Park:

Location/Directions: (45.868271, -122.79874) At the end of the St. Helens Marina in Old Town. Turn west on to Columbia Blvd off of Hwy 30 and go 1.3 miles to St. Helens St., turn left twice down to the marinas and park at the parking lot at the end of the road.

Habitat and Birds: The river view can have all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. The area is pretty reliable for Horned and Western Grebes in winter and a Clark’s Grebe has been reported. Bald Eagles (year around) and Osprey (in summer) are regular. A few passerines are in the area along the bank and up the cliff in the residential trees. Nesting Purple Martins share the pylons in the harbor with nesting Ospreys. A scan of Sand Island Marine Park can also turn something up. After leaving the park drive to the end of Columbia where there is a little park. This affords a view of the south end of Sand Island. Caspian Terns (in spring) and gulls roost on the sand spit here. It’s worth the stop.

10) Dalton Lake Trail (OBT):

Location/Directions: (45.87444, -122.8123) At the north end of St Helens there is a stop light intersection. Deer Island Rd goes to the east and Liberty Hill Dr to the west. Take Deer Island Rd and just after crossing the RR tacks turn left onto Oregon St. Drive a short distance to a parking area directly across from the Humane Society animal shelter. A paved trail heads north paralleling Hwy 30 for a while.

Habitat and Birds: There is a wooded trail that leads down to an impoundment lake. Expect woodland birds, migrants, and the lake can have ducks and grebes. There is a view of the river which can be scanned for all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. I’ve only been here once so I don’t have a good feel for the possible birds but would not expect it to be much different than many locations with the same habitat. It gets a touch of Douglas Fir understory that could add a bit of color. A Clark’s Grebe has been reported from here.

 

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the ninth installment of the “Site Guide”. It covers the second and third of five sites in the environs of St. Helens – St. Helens WTP and Knob Hill Park.

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)

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

Columbia River Birding Areas

7) St. Helens WTP:

Location/Directions: (45.856638, -122.799887) In St Helens turn west on to Columbia Blvd off of Hwy 30 and go 1.3 miles to St. Helens St (Old Portland Rd), turn right and go .4 miles to 7th St., turn left and follow 7th for 0.25 miles, past the Armory to Plymouth St. Then turn left down to the St. Helens WTP and Knob Hill Park.

Habitat and Birds: The main attraction is the water works ponds for ducks and gulls in winter. Mew Gulls can number in the 100’s in winter. The edges of the empounded water can have an irregular shore bird in the rip rap… Rarities include Heerman’s’ Gull, and Surf Scoter.

8) Knob Hill Park:

Location/Directions: (45.856638, -122.799887) Adjacent to the St. Helens WTP

Habitat and Birds: This is a small scrub Oak grove with a walking loop trail. Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatch, migrant and breeding passerines can be expected here. A couple of vantage points allows for a scan of the Columbia which can have all manner of river birds; loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. Frequently Bald Eagles can be seen soaring past or perched in the area trees. Purple Martins nest in the pylons at the river’s edge.

7 & 8) St. Helens WTP & Knob Hill Park (PL) – 67 species, 11 (5/25/14)

Cackling Goose Canada Goose Tundra Swan
Wood Duck Gadwall Mallard
Northern Shoveler Green-winged Teal Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter Bufflehead Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser Western Grebe Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron Osprey Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk Killdeer Spotted Sandpiper
Wilson’s Snipe Heermann’s Gull Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull Western Gull California Gull
Herring Gull Glaucous-winged Gull Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove Mourning Dove Anna’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher Red-breasted Sapsucker Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker Steller’s Jay Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow Common Raven Purple Martin
Tree Swallow Violet-green Swallow Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee Bushtit White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper Pacific Wren Bewick’s Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet American Robin
Varied Thrush European Starling Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat Yellow-rumped Warbler Townsend’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee Song Sparrow Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco Black-headed Grosbeak Red-winged Blackbird
House Sparrow

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)

This is the eighth installment of the “Site Guide”. It covers the first of five sites in the environs of St. Helens – Scappoose Bay Marina.

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)

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

Columbia River Birding Areas

6) Scappoose Bay Marina (OBT):

Location/Directions: (45.82869, -122.8384) South of St. Helens, turn east onto Bennett St. and take Old Portland Rd North to the Scappoose Bay Marina. There is a day use fee required. Next to the rest rooms are a set of parking places that allow free 10 minute parking. I confess to stretching this to a half an hour.

Habitat and Birds: There is a small paved trail through a Cottonwood gallery woods. There are views of Scappoose Bay which can have all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks. A Red-necked Grebe has been seen here. Piliated Woodpeckers are regular and for some reason Stellar’s Jays love this place and to find a dozen or so is common in winter. The Cottonwoods hold White-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, and the usual migrant and breeding passerines.

6) Scappoose Bay Marina (PL) – 82 species, 16 (5/25/14)

Greater White-fronted Goose Cackling Goose Canada Goose
Tundra Swan Wood Duck Gadwall
American Wigeon Mallard Northern Pintail
Hooded Merganser Common Merganser Ring-necked Pheasant
Pied-billed Grebe Double-crested Cormorant Great Blue Heron
Great Egret Osprey Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk Rough-legged Hawk Sandhill Crane
Greater Yellowlegs Ring-billed Gull Western Gull
California Gull Glaucous-winged Gull Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove Mourning Dove Vaux’s Swift
Anna’s Hummingbird Rufous Hummingbird Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker Downy Woodpecker Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker American Kestrel Western Wood-Pewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher Steller’s Jay Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow Common Raven Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow Violet-green Swallow Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee Bushtit White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper Pacific Wren Bewick’s Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet Ruby-crowned Kinglet Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush American Robin Varied Thrush
European Starling Cedar Waxwing Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat Yellow-rumped Warbler Townsend’s Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler Spotted Towhee Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow Golden-crowned Sparrow Dark-eyed Junco
Western Tanager Black-headed Grosbeak Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird Brown-headed Cowbird Bullock’s Oriole
House Finch Purple Finch American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Select Photos From Winter 2014

November Roamings In Columbia County

Just kicking around the stomping grounds