Viewing Report for May 11, 2012 / ODFW

May 11, 2012 12:16 pm

A northern harrier takes a tree break (no crumpets, please) at Ladd Marsh. ODFW photo
A northern harrier takes a tree break (no crumpets, please) at Ladd Marsh. ODFW photo

Birdathon flies in May 18-20


Ladd Marsh Birdathon,
La Grande, May 18-20

Free, fun and friendly! A unique, non-competitive birding opportunity for all ages 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

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. 

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 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.

Report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff at 541-963-4954. If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (for example, 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.



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 County.

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.

Persons willing to drive down the rough Imnaha River Road will often observe bighorn sheep north of Cow Creek near Cactus Mountain.

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.

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.