Site Guide to Birding Columbia County (Oregon)
This is the fourteenth installment of the “Site Guide”. It covers a couple of spots in the Clatskanie 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)
Erickson Dike Rd, John’s Slough (6/25/14 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
22) Erickson Dike Rd. (OBT):
Location/Directions: (46.12046, -123.19938) From the center of Clatskanie turn north onto Nehalem. Drive to the end of the road (a few blocks) and it becomes 5th. Go west on 5th which becomes Beaver Falls Rd. At 0.8 miles from Hwy 30 take a left turn onto Depot Rd. Staying to the right, go 0.5 miles and turn left onto Erikson Dike Rd.
Habitat and Birds: This is a drive along a dike that follows the channeled Clatskanie River. The rest is agricultural, cottonwood plantations, and one decent gallery type woodlot. Ducks and divers, sparrows, and open country raptors are to be expected.
Erickson Dike Rd. (PL) – 33 species, 3, (5/14/14)
|Cackling Goose||Canada Goose||Mallard|
|Greater Scaup||Lesser Scaup||Bufflehead|
|Hooded Merganser||Pied-billed Grebe||Double-crested Cormorant|
|Great Blue Heron||Great Egret||Bald Eagle|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Killdeer||Wilson’s Snipe|
|Rock Pigeon||Mourning Dove||Belted Kingfisher|
|Northern Flicker||Merlin||Steller’s Jay|
|Western Scrub-Jay||American Crow||Black-capped Chickadee|
|Pacific Wren||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Hermit Thrush|
|American Robin||European Starling||Song Sparrow|
|Lincoln’s Sparrow||White-throated Sparrow||Dark-eyed Junco|
|Red-winged Blackbird||Brewer’s Blackbird||House Sparrow|
23) John Slough:
Location/Directions: (46.15992, -123.14743) – From center of Clatskanie turn north onto Nehalem (stop signal). Drive to the end of the road (a few blocks) and it becomes 5th. Go west on 5th which becomes Beaver Falls Rd. and eventually Quincy Mayger Rd. 5.5 miles from Hwy. 30 turn north onto Kallunki Rd.
Habitat and Birds: This slough is tidal and birds change with the tide. The area also has a channel view of the Columbia that can be scanned for all manner of river birds, loons, grebes, gulls and ducks in season. No patch list has been generated.
The Brownsmead area of Clatsop County is a unique area in the county. It is bordered by the Columbia River and Coastal Upland forests. The ecoregion is mapped as Level IV: (1b) Coastal Uplands, but it only has small intrusions of that region’s bio-communities. As with all drainage districts along the Columbia it is maintained by a series of dikes, drainage canals, and pump stations. When the rains return in the fall there is quite a bit of shallow flooding of the land making habitat quite hospitable for waterfowl.
The attraction this day was the reported Cattle Egret, but the whole area can be easily covered in a half a day even if you dally with a walk along Fish Lane and Bug-hole road. This leaves plenty of time to poke around on Svensen Island.
Notable sightings included the target bird, two Red-shouldered Hawks, Greater White-fronted Geese, a Eurasian Widgeon, a juvenile Northern Shrike and a Pileated Woodpecker.
Ecoregion: Level IV: (1b) Coastal Uplands
Taking advantage of the lingering summer Sheri and i took the dog to the coast for a weekend. That’s never a recipe for field studies but was quite enjoyable none the less.
We stayed in Astoria (if i had to pick anywhere on the northern Oregon coast Astoria would be my favorite) but spent most of our time in Washington. Last time we were on the Long Beach Peninsula a couple of years ago Oysterville Sea Farms had put in a quasi-cafe. They were serving up oysters on the half shell, a few wines, beer and other assorted quick grill menu items. So we were looking forward to a sunny spot overlooking Willapa Bay and splitting a dozen oysters. Not to be – the county shut them down. The details were over Pacific County zoning regulations. Here is a news clip about it. Kind of sucks all the way around.
Having the dog with us ruled out a walk at the end of the peninsula so we opted for a stroll on Benson Beach at Cape Disappointment. Lots of Pelicans, several gulls and a couple of Whimbrels were on the beach and late flowering Searocket was still in bloom on the fore-dune.
Sunday we drove home on the Washington side up to Cathlamet and took the Westport ferry back to the Oregon side. We cruised Steamboat Slough along Julia Butler NWR and stopped at Kruger Farms on Sauvie Island. A first — we actually saw White-tailed deer at Julia Butler.