Birds n’Blooms & Wetlands

May 6, 2004

We saw birds, as expected, and from our guide Rick Ahrens we learned much about the wetlands of West Eugene. 8:00 a.m. — Assembled at VRC for a short walk downstream to the several ponds. In view were Wood Ducks, a Great Blue Heron, even a turtle enjoying the sunshine. 9:30 — Boarded the bus to Alton Baker Park for our usual coffee and goodies. Many ducks and geese around the central pond. 10:00 — On to the Checkermallow viewing area where Rick gave a most interesting description about the development and restoration of the Amazon Channel and the adjoining wetlands. Swallows and some Cinnamon Teals in evidence. 10:45 — To Meadow Lark Prairie, part of the multi-million dollar program where we had a brief glimpse of this reclusive specie. We observed how the West Eugene Parkway proposal could impact these wetlands. 11:30 — Headed west to the end of Royal Ave. near Fern Ridge Lake. Birds sighted: Osprey with hostile Blackbirds in pursuit, Redtail Hawks, Wrens and a rare Harrier. 12:30 — Arrived at Perkins Peninsula for our sack lunch, with an immature eagle checking us out. Also saw several Spotted Sandpipers. 1:15 p.m. — To Willow Creek where the Nature Conservancy is working. Next to Stewart Pond, where we spotted a Leslie Bunting thanks to the keen ear, eye and scope of Rick. 2:30 — Arrived at the Cascade Raptors Center on Fox Hollow Road to be greeted by director Louise Shimmel. We were seated outside in a tight circle where Louise and two volunteers displayed several owls, hawks, a turkey vulture and a peregrine falcon. Being up close to these magnificent raptors was a remarkable experience. All these birds had been injured (shot or maimed) and can never be returned to the wild. This facility is located on a heavily wooded hillside with many roomy, screened cages providing a safe and comfortable home for a variety of raptors, including Bald and Golden Eagles. They have plans for a second facility near Dillard Road. This is a “must see” for all Obsidians. We admired the fine work of many dedicated people. 4:30 — Returned to VRC where only four of us had the energy to take the optional walk to the Rose Garden. Flora, fauna, good weather and Rick’s personality and philosophy combined for a memorable day.

Riders were: Lucille Adamson, Rick Ahrens, Ethel Allen, Louise Behnke, Mary Lee Cheadle, Jeannette Forsman, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Margit Hollerud, Marjorie Jackson, Rosella Jones, Ben Kirk, Gloria Layden, Dot Leland, Dodie Leppmann, John & Lenore McManigal, Joyce Mixer, Virginia Prouty, Liz Reanier, Dorothy Sistrom, Janet Speelman, Mary Jackson Stewart, Mary Ellen West, Cristy White, Vera Woolley and Ray Jensen, leader.

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