Viewing Report for April 13, 2012 / ODFW
Wildlife viewers flock to marsh
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area
Wildlife viewers and anglers will need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. The $7 daily or $22 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s expanded Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.
Tule Lake Public Access Area and the Auto Route are open for the season. The Glass Hill Unit opened April 1. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area. There are numerous quality-viewing opportunities from county roads that pass through the area. Binoculars or a spotting scope will help as many animals are best viewed from a distance.
Hundreds of ducks and geese are using the area including Canada geese, greater white-fronted geese, northern pintails, American wigeon, ring-necked ducks, mallards and gadwall. The first cinnamon teal of the year have arrived along with northern shoveler and at least a few Eurasian wigeon. Shorebirds have begun to arrive on the marsh including black-necked stilt, greater yellowlegs and others.
Local sandhill cranes have begun nesting and single birds can often be seen feeding in meadows while their mate incubates the eggs. There are also small groups of non-breeding sandhill cranes using the wildlife area. Cranes can be seen from county roads in several locations. Report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff (541-963-4954). If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (e.g., pink above white on left leg; silver above black on right leg). The specific combination and order can identify individual birds.
Bewick’s wrens, black-capped chickadees, western meadowlarks and song sparrows are singing. Hundreds of American robins remain on Ladd Marsh, dotting small trees, shrubs and pastures. The first swallows of the season have arrived as well.
Red-tailed hawks have begun sitting in their nests in several locations. Watch for Swainson’s hawks to return soon. Osprey have returned and can be seen hunting over ponds on and near Ladd Marsh. Their usual nest platform west of Highway 203 is currently occupied by Canada goose incubating eggs so if the geese don’t hatch soon, the ospreys may select a new platform for their nest.
Dogs are not permitted within the wildlife area, on or off leash except during authorized hunting seasons. For more information on access rules for Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, please consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations or call the wildlife area at 541-963-4954.
Bald eagles are common along the Wallowa River from Minam Canyon to Wallowa Lake. Bald eagles can also be observed near domestic cattle with new born calves. Golden eagles are common in the Wallowa Valley year round. Eagles can be observed along river corridors, Wallowa Lake, and often in agricultural areas where cattle are being fed.
Herons are common and can be observed throughout the Wallowa Valley feeding along creeks and rivers.
Waterfowl species such as Canada geese, mallards, widgeon and pintails can be observed on Wallowa Lake and throughout the Wallowa Valley feeding in agricultural fields. On open water bodies, ring-necked ducks, scaup, goldeneye and bufflehead are common species to observe.
Prairie falcon, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, rough-legged, Swainson’s and ferruginous hawks, as well as a variety of owls can be observed throughout Wallowa Valley and Zumwalt Prairie. Most raptors can be easily observed from county roads. A good pair of binoculars will improve viewing opportunities.
Mule and white-tailed deer are common in agricultural areas adjacent to Highway 82. Animals can be observed during early morning and late evening hours.
People willing to drive down the rough Imnaha River Road will often observe bighorn sheep north of Cow Creek near Cactus Mountain.
Elk can often be observed along the Zumwalt Road near Findley Buttes. Another good location to observe elk during winter months is on the Wenaha Wildlife Area near Troy. A good place to look is along the Eden Bench road during early morning or late afternoon hours.