Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sandhill Cranes at Sauvie Island

Sandhill CraneSandhill Crane, Sauvie Island, Oregon on 23 February 2009 by Greg Gillson.


Today I led a field trip to Sauvie Island about 10 miles west of Portland, Oregon. This well known State Wildlife Area is at the mouth of the Willamette River into the Columbia. This trip is part of the bird classes and field trips I lead for Jackson Bottom Wetlands in Hillsboro, Oregon. Today's field trips taught participants primarily about Sandhill Cranes, our target bird.

Highlights included about 500 SNOW GEESE, a few TUNDRA SWANS, a couple of BALD EAGLES, and many ducks, including a few CANVASBACK.

At one pull-out a first-year RED-TAILED HAWK was perched about 60 feet away on a sign. From in the van we all had good views and some photo ops. Then it flew down in the grass nearer us to catch a snake!

At the end of the road at Oak Island, a flock of GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS in light sprinkles contained a hybrid WHITE-CROWNED x GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW. The flock also contained SONG SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, and DOWNY WOODPECKER all under a covered sign. Nearby a couple of WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES and BEWICK'S WRENS were singing and calling.

Oh, the cranes? Yes there were several hundred SANDHILL CRANES, primarily in farm fields along Reeder Road. One group of about 30 birds spent time walking in front of a nearby barn and into the back lawn of the farmhouse!

Since this trip filled so fast, we've scheduled another trip next week, Thursday, March 4, in case you want to join me. Call Hillsboro Parks and Recreation for registration, 503-681-5397. The field trip departs by 8-passenger van at 8:00 am from the Education Center parking lot, 2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy, and returns about noon. Cost is $10 for Hillsboro residents and $15 for out-of-area residents--still less than the cost of fuel and the $7 parking permit if you go on your own.

1 comment:

  1. What a great opportunity you and your group had to view these beautiful creatures, if I could have been so fortunate. Really nice~