Whether you’re grabbing shots of birds or mammals, reptiles or amphibians, we’d love to see your results. When you submit your photos to ODFW they could appear on our website or signs, or in social or brochures. What a great way to share your experience with others!
Migratory ducks and geese have been showing up on north coast estuaries, including the Columbia River, in greater numbers recently and will tend to concentrate on the coast when temperatures are freezing in the Willamette Valley. Binoculars and/or a spotting scope will make for better viewing.
Great egrets are large, white wading birds about the size of a great blue heron. You’ll see them occasionally in agricultural fields throughout Tillamook County, but they’re more common in estuaries such as Netarts and Tillamook Bays. Against their typically dark backgrounds, they are hard miss and a striking contrast to their surroundings.
A drive along Bayocean Rd on the south (upper) end of Tillamook Bay should reveal a variety of migrating and resident waterfowl species. Greater numbers of grebes (several different species) and diving ducks are present in the estuaries and coastal lakes. Depending on the level of the tide, binoculars or a spotting scope will help you identify the birds you’re seeing.
The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, located east of Astoria along Hwy 30, is a great place to view birds any time of year. With a commanding view of Wolf Bay on the Columbia River and a handy accessible viewing platform, it’s not hard to find songbirds, waterfowl, raptors and other types of birds at this stop.
Trestle Bay on the lower Columbia River has an excellent viewing bunker at Ft. Stevens State Park (Parking Lot D) that affords a good view of the bay. It’s a good place to see shorebirds that are resting there during their migratory movements to the south in the fall. Bring your binoculars or spotting scope to see the most.
Elk viewing has been excellent at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Elk have been out everyday with the best viewing in the mornings between 9 a.m. and noon and again in the evenings. Good places to look are the Fishhawk Tract along Hwy 202 and the Beneke Tract along the first 1.5 miles of Beneke Creek Road.
Jewell Meadows started its winter elk feeding program on Dec. 1. Elk get a supplemental diet of alfalfa hay each day. Feeding time is between 9 and 10 a.m. most days. This supplemental feed holds elk in the open meadows longer during the day and offers better viewing. Staff try to feed close to the viewing areas on weekends.
Reservations for the winter elk feeding tours have completely filled up for the three-month program. Staff started taking reservations on Dec. 1 and by 2:00 p.m. had signed up over 1,100 individuals.
Brochures with maps are available at the main viewing area kiosk. Remember that areas posted as “Wildlife Refuge” are closed to public entry. Additionally, posted portions of the Beneke Tract are closed to public entry during any Saddle Mt. unit elk season including Archery season. Closure dates are Aug. 1 through March 31 (see big game regulations for exceptions).
A parking permit is required to park at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Find out .