What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon birding’

Winter Bird Watching in Oregon

Posted on: January 5th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments



“Solitary Egret in Fog” by Alec Frank, taken at Fernhill Wetlands

Happy National Bird Day! Turn a shivering Brrr! into an exclamation, Birds! The cold may be coming in, but there’s no reason to hibernate as we stay true to the greater Portland region’s temperate weather. While the area experiences winter via rainy days, foggy mornings, nighttime chills, and occasional flurries, the geography generally offers a balmy and pleasant wintertime for visitors of both the human and fowl variety. Winter is indeed a spectacular time to go birding in Oregon’s Washington County.

Reasons to Winter Bird Watch Here:

  1. With less foliage, it is easier not only to spot birds, but also tracks leading to foraging spots.
  2. As resources are less plentiful, it’s more common for several species of birds to congregate in a mixed flock during the colder months. Seeing many species together is a special experience, as well as a chance to check multiple birds off of your “must-see” list at once.
  3. At the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge alone, an average of 20,000 waterfowl—including Canada Geese, northern pintails, and mallards—can be observed in one day. And Bald Eagles are counted as a commonly seen species. At the Jackson Bottom Wetlands and Fernhill Wetlands, catch a glimpse of the round-headed American Wigeon bobbing in the water. It truly is magic to see the Great Blue Heron nesting amidst the winter marshes, as well.

Winter Birding Tips:

  1. Check the weather report before you go! Dress right for the adventure and you’ll be happy and cozy whether it’s rainy, snowy, or foggy.
  2. Just because it’s not the dead heat of summer, doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated! Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen for your day in the refuges.
  3. Keep any valuable gear in check against unexpected winter elements. We suggest a harness or neck strap attached to a pair of water-resistant binoculars.


Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Birding Bliss

Posted on: March 21st, 2013 by Angie Marsh No Comments

The birds are all aflutter here in Oregon’s Washington County–take a look at what there is to see right outside our Visitors Center in Beaverton:


For more area bird information, read “The Birds in Our Backyard” and one of our favorites, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s “Watchable Wildlife” detailed guide.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.



Winged Opportunities in Washington County

Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 by Angie Marsh 2 Comments

As migratory songbirds flutter into the area this spring, their presence will be captured on cameras, celebrated with a festival and altogether watched and enjoyed. Whether it’s joining in the weekly “Lunch with the Birds” event or enrolling in the workshop “Wildlife Photography Opportunities in Oregon,” this is a time to celebrate a changing season for birdwatching.

Migrating waterfowl are spotted in the area every spring. Contest photo by Shawn Weishaar.

Visit Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro this spring to see the migratory birds that are arriving. A “Spring Bird Walk” is Wednesday, April 4, at noon that follows mostly flat trails around the Preserve and to the feeding stations to observe the visiting birds. “Lunch With the Birds” is Wednesdays at the  Preserve in Hillsboro and typically offers sightings of bald eagles and great blue herons; migrating species are seen in spring as well.

The Audubon Society of Portland hosts a walk with two leaders around Dawson Creek Park in Hillsboro on Sunday, April 8 to see an assortment of waterfowl as well as Acorn Woodpeckers. Bring binoculars and meet at 9 a.m. at the north end of the parking lot of the Hillsboro Library at 2850 NE Brookwood Parkway in Hillsboro; the walk is until noon.

In May, join Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge for three days of guided workshops, field trips and seminars during the new three-day event, “Focus on Nature: A Weekend of Learning About Wildlife through Your Camera Lens.” Presenters include well-known nature photographers, optics specialists and local birding experts; options include nine fee-based classes and two free workshops, which run Friday, May 11th through Sunday, May 13th at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood. The signature event will be an evening presentation by Arthur Morris, a premier bird photographer and author.

Also in May is the Tualatin River Bird Festival, a signature annual event that offers bird and habitat walks, workshops and winery eco-habitat tours. This year it runs Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20, at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and includes a diversity of family-friendly activities celebrating wildlife and wild places. Participate in guided bird and habitat walks and hands-on conservation activities geared toward kids, such as building a bat house. Enjoy live bird shows, music, storytelling and food. Go canoeing with the Tualatin Riverkeepers (in Tigard). Listen to a presentation by John Muir about the history of American conservation. View the winning photographs of the recent nature photography contest. Explore exhibits and products promoting wildlife and greenspaces. On Saturday, there will be free offsite parking and a shuttle service. This event is hosted by the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more about birds in the area, use the comprehensive guide “Watchable Wildlife.” Be sure to check out our list of area parks for ample bird-watching opportunities throughout the County as well.

Planning a Luxury Day on Lucky Leap Day

Posted on: February 15th, 2012 by Angie Marsh No Comments

2012 is a leap year, which means it has 366 days instead of the usual 365 days with the addition of February 29th. This is perfect for planning to explore during those additional 24 hours in your year!
If I were to have an “extra” day to spend here in Oregon’s Washington County, I’m thinking the theme would be “new”– new to me, that is.

I’d start by heading to Washington Square to check out ForLove 21, a new concept store by Forever 21, that carries a full line of accessories for women. Then I’d dig out my cache of gift cards, all of which are for stores also located at Washington Square, and score something new at Macy’s or lucy.

Hopefully the view from Cooper Mountain will look like this on Leap Day!

Nearby is one of my restaurants of choice for comfort food, and assuming the weather will be gray and I’ll need something warm and tasty, I’ll head to Gustav’s. I’d opt for the “Gustav’s Grilled Reuben” lunch special with their housemade corned beef, paired with either the Bavarian-style hefeweizen beer on tap (a.k.a. König Ludwig Weiss) or a “winter special” seasonal dessert, such as English Sticky Toffee Pudding.

After such a decadent meal, a good walk is in order. I’d grab some binoculars and head to nearby Cooper Mountain Nature Park in Beaverton to hoof it along the 3 1/2 miles of trails, both hoping and fearing for wildlife spottings. At times, hikers have seen bobcats in the area. I’d gaze through the binoculars in search of Peregrine Falcons and Downy Woodpeckers (or other birds in the area), and take in a (clear?) view of the Chehalem Mountains–which will remind me of the Chehalem AVA and the talented winegrowers in the region.

So next up would be a visit to nearby Cooper Mountain Vineyards, where the tasting room is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m., to taste test some certified organic wine.

The day would be topped off with a light, tasty happy hour dinner in Beaverton at Café Murrayhill, which is served from 3 to 6 p.m. My toughest choice of this relaxing day might be: Should I have the hummus plate or the club panini?