BOGS Willow Creek Natural Area
Sept 24, 2015, Trip Report
Steve arranged for BOGS to visit the Willow Creek Natural Area which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. This was exciting for me because after living in Eugene since 1978, it is rare I get an opportunity to go birding LOCALLY at a place I have never been before. The McKenzie Land Trust's Green Island was another such place and I was excited to finally see it after having read about it here and there for a number of years.
Early Crocuses were blooming in the rocks in front of Headquarters
Chris Pine of The Nature Conservancy gave us an introductory talk and showed us a large aerial photograph depicting the preserve. He pointed out the places where rare plants were being monitored and habitat restoration was taking place.
From the Nature Conservancy website I gathered the following information, much of which Chris Pine had told us when we were there.
After our orientation briefing, we walked past and behind the headquarters building, up a hill, to where the UofO had an experimental ecological project set up with data sensors transmitting weather details over the internet.
We saw several species of birds along they way, though most of them were either high up in trees or pretty far away.
The birds we saw up that way included: Cedar Waxwings, Northern Flickers, Anna's Hummingbird and Spotted Towhee.
On our way back down the hill, they showed us an area where they were working on seed production of Kincaid's lupine, which is the primary food plant for caterpillars of Fender's blue butterfly.
The headquarters building is more than a half mile south of West 18th street. The land rises towards the south.
Coming down the hill from headquarters, we had nice views of the lower wetland areas below, to which we were now going.
There were a few raptors flying about, and a few songbirds, but it was getting hot already and the birds were not too active. I looked in eBird later that day and found that Tom Mickel, who was our guide for the birding walk portion, had seen some Western Bluebirds too. He told us that one of the birds they are watching are Vesper Sparrows and hoping they will breed at Willow Creek. The species has been seen but I don't think Tom said they were breeding there yet. If they are, it was only 1-3 breeding pairs. (Sorry, it has been too long since the trip for me to remember some of these details with confidence).
Don got a pretty nice photo of an American Kestrel
Marlene and I returned to the cars 10 or 15 minutes ahead of everyone else. I took this photo of some our of group walking through the fields behind us as they made their return trip
Bird list for walk in Nature Conservancy land in the Willow Creek area in Southwest Eugene, September 24, 2015.
The weather was dry, sunny and very warm.
-- compiled by Doris Wimber
The photo slide-show for this trip can be found here:
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