Daddy Long-legs: Mud flats and shallow waters are good places to look for American avocets in Northeast Oregon. Avocets are a mosquito’s worst nightmare. With their curved beak they swish it from side-to-side just below the water surface to glean the insect’s larvae in huge amounts. At this time, a very visual pair can be seen in a flooded field, along the highway, between Island City and Imbler. JIM WARD photo
Ladd Marsh Birdathon,
A unique, non-competitive birding opportunity for all ages is scheduled during the height of spring migration and nesting in the Grande Ronde Valley.
Whether you are a novice or an experienced bird watcher, you’ll find much to enjoy. On Saturday, experienced birders will staff six birding stations offering assistance in finding and identifying birds and providing information about area birds and bird watching.
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area
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
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 included killdeer, black-necked stilt, greater yellowlegs and others.
Local sandhill cranes are nesting and a few have hatched. Soon the young may be visible as they feed in meadows with their parents. A spotting scope or quality binoculars are important as the meadows are closed to entry and viewing is from the viewpoint or county roads.
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, savannah 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. Common yellowthroats have returned and are singing their witchy-witchy-witchy song all over the area.
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.
Herons are common and can be observed throughout the Wallowa Valley feeding along creeks and rivers.
Waterfowl species such as Canada geese and mallards can be observed on Wallowa Lake and throughout the Wallowa Valley feeding in agricultural fields.
Prairie falcon, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier and 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.
A wide variety of songbirds can be observed from now through the summer in forested areas north of Enterprise, and along rivers and streams throughout Wallowa
Mule and white-tailed deer are common in agricultural areas adjacent to Highway 82. Animals can be observed during early morning and late evening
Persons 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.