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Looking to Rent: Wood ducks have just arrived in Northeast Oregon from their spring migration. First on their agenda is to find a place to nest. Unlike most waterfowl that nest on the ground, wood ducks seek abandoned woodpecker cavities or will even accept artificial nesting boxes when available. For information on free boxes call 541-963-6977. A good place to see wood ducks is along the Highway between La Grande and Hot Lake or Pete’s Pond in Enterprise. JIM WARD photo
Waterfowl using Ladd Marsh as international airport
LADD MARSH WILDLIFE AREA
Since Jan. 1, wildlife viewers and anglers have needed 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 is also open to public access. 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.
Waterfowl using the area include Canada goose, snow goose, greater white-fronted goose, northern pintail, American wigeon, ring-necked duck, mallard, gadwall, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal, northern shoveler and at least a few Eurasian wigeon. Shorebirds have include killdeer, black-necked stilt, greater yellowlegs and others.
Local sandhill cranes are 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. Please 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 wren, black-capped chickadee, western meadowlark, saveannah sparrow and song sparrow are singing. Red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds are claiming territories and swallows can be seen over nearly every body of water on the marsh.
Red-tailed hawks are sitting in their nests in several locations And the Swainson’s hawks are claiming nests sites and beginning to build. Osprey have returned and can be seen hunting over ponds on and near Ladd Marsh.
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.