Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Birds of the Willamette River

One of the enjoyable parts of our kayak trip on the Willamette River was bird watching. Even on a cool February day we had quite a few sightings. But birds can be quick to take flight, but I did get a few interesting shots.

On departure, we had our send off from a small flock of Mallard Ducks, and all along the water trail we saw pairs and small groups enjoying their day on the water. They had a knack for catching the fastest part of the current to scoot downstream with no effort.

We found Canada Geese in pairs or small groups walking the gravel bars at the river's edge. We also saw huge flocks flying in V-formation overhead heading home to spend their spring and summer north of the border.

A wonderful surprise was seeing so many Great Blue Herons. One majestic bird stood his ground (snag) as we passed. Then an even bigger surprise, we discovered two Heron nesting sites in tall trees. The bare limbs allowed us to see multiple nests in close proximity to each other.

As we quietly paddled up the narrow bay near Albany, we saw a Grebe diving for fish or other underwater treats. We also saw several Kingfishers flying back and forth across the bay, loudly announcing their presence. But both were too quick for camera extraction.

We didn't see any Osprey, but saw several of the nesting platforms provided by the electric company on power poles. Yes, they are doing a service for the osprey, but they are also helping themselves by preventing nest construction near wires causing service disruption.

I am sure there were many more birds along the Willamette we didn't see or notice, but what we discovered was exciting. If you would like more information, the book Birds of Willamette Valley Region looks like an excellent resource. -- Margy


  1. Looks like great fun, Margy. I used to live across the Thompson River from several such osprey nests, before I moved to Alberta.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Hi Kay - Thanks for stopping by. We have osprey nests near the cabin on top of old snags at the edge of the lake. These "city" homes were quite the invention. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy