Cost: $ 200.00 per person (requires 2 or more for booking)
Starting Point: Portland area hotels or pre-arranged location
FULL DAY EXCURSION: 8am – 5pm (times may vary based on season and/or weather)
Enjoy the diversity of birding opportunities only 5-30 miles from downtown Portland and be back in the city for dinner! Portland is perfectly centered for any excursion whether it be visiting the Oaks Bottom Wildlife refuge only 10 minutes from downtown Portland or head 30 minutes West to visit Fern Hill Wetlands and Jackson Bottoms. Want to include another state to your list? We drive 40 minutes North into Washington to the Ridgefield National Wildlife refuge that has a total of 5,218 acres of marshes, grasslands and woodlands. Just want a half day trip? Just a short drive from Portland to Sauvie Island has enough birding locations all on 1 island you don’t need to go anywhere else!
Whatever your birding interest or level is, we can customize your excursion to make it a memorable trip and hopefully add to your life list. Regardless of your goal, you will see beautiful countryside, rivers, farmlands and be educated on the area by our experienced tour guides. See below for some of the areas that may be visited and detailed descriptions or the birding locations:
The Willamette Valley features 138+ birding hotspots that are accessible. In the Willamette Valley, known for its lush forests and vineyards, the average annual rainfall and mild winters draw various bird populations in every season. Mild winters also bring swans, sparrows and ducks to fields and hedgerows that remain full and fertile throughout colder months. Birds of prey, such as hawks, falcons and eagles, migrate to the valley as well, particularly during Chinook salmon migration in autumn. Tree blossoms and grassy fields in spring draw hordes of warblers and tanagers, and in the Valley’s marshes, along the central valley floor, sandpipers and egrets scamper along the wetlands. Summer, Willamette Valley’s warmest and driest season, attracts songbirds and their broods.
FERHILL WETLAND – Forest Grove, OR:
This 243 acre site is composed largely of restored wetlands and moist soil habitats of now defunct sewage ponds. Fernhill is the focus of a proposed multi-million dollar project to continue the 150-200 acre restoration process and re-open the slough to the adjacent Tualatin River.
Ornithological Highlights: Waterfowl populations are daily in the thousands from November through March. Shorebirds occur (at least 17 species recorded thus far) in numbers frequently exceeding 100 birds in spring, fall, and sometimes in winter.
JACKSON BOTTOM WETLANDS PRESERVE – Forest Grove, OR:
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is a 650 acre complex of wetlands and uplands located in the middle of the Tualatin River Watershed. It includes a riparian forest zone along the Tualatin River, forested wetlands, oak groves, a mixed Douglas fir/big-leaf maple woodland, ponds, marshes, slough and meadow areas of predominantly reed canary grass.
Ornithological Highlights: Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve provides habitat for a wide variety of birds both in the nesting season and during migration. During migration the preserve supports thousands of waterfowl including Dusky Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, and Bufflehead, as well as spring migrant songbirds such as Western Tanager, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Townsend’s Warbler. Rare birds spotted on the preserve include Black-crowned Night Heron, Short-eared Owl, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Rufous Hummingbird.
Lunch will be at McMenamins Grand Lodge and the opportunity for a little wine and beer sampling from their own labels.
Following lunch we will head back to Portland and visits 2 more IBA sites.
SAUVIE ISLAND WILDLIFE AREA:
The Sauvie Island IBA includes two distinct parcels: the bulk of it is 12,000-acres of wetlands, savannah, cottonwood bottomlands, and upland Oregon White Oak forest managed by ODFW as a Wildlife Area. On the southwest side of the island, Oregon State Parks owns and manages a 180-acre parcel that packs in nearly all of the native habitats found elsewhere on the island.
Ornithological Highlights: Of the 486 bird species found in Oregon, a remarkable 250 of these have been known to use Sauvie Island. Over-wintering waterfowl can number in excess of 200,000 ducks, geese, and swans. Autumn brings migrating Sandhill cranes, Snow geese, Tundra swans, Cackling and Canada geese. Great Blue Heron and Osprey nest on the island, and Bald eagles both breed and congregate in winter along with wintering Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, and the less common Rough-legged Hawks and Merlin. Shorebird numbers have reached 30,000. Three species of birds once common and now rare or unusual on Sauvie Island include the Lewis Woodpecker, Western Meadowlark, and (Streaked) Horned Lark.
TUALATIN RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
One of the few refuges in the U.S. near a large urban area, this site is currently several thousand acres and may increase to 6,000 acres in the near future. Refuge habitats are varied and include rivers and streams, seasonal and forested wetlands, riparian areas, grasslands, and forested uplands.
Ornithological Highlights: In winter there are typically 15,000 to 30,000 waterfowl present on the refuge, with Northern Pintail exceeding 18,000 and Cackling Canada Goose exceeding 8,000 birds. In addition, shorebirds of many species are found on the refuge during spring and fall migration periods in numbers exceeding 100 birds. An important breeding area for neotropical migratory songbirds, the refuge also supports a significant breeding population of Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser.
Destinations may vary based on season, day of week and size of groups. Birding sites will be determined at time of booking.
For a Willamette Valley birding checklist, click here.