Great Horned Owl


It’s Groundhog’s Day. Sunshine and temperatures in the low 50s. Does that mean another six weeks of winter? I hope not.

We couldn’t let a nice winter day go to waste. Not when there was an opportunity to spot migratory waterfowl and do a few miles of hiking. It had all the makings for an interesting trip to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge near the Columbia River.

After parking at the trailhead, we crossed a footbridge over a set of railroad tracks. Walking north, we passed a cedar plankhouse built in 2005 as a representative of the 14 plankhouses observed by Lewis & Clark in a nearby Indian village. This was the beginning of the Oaks to Wetlands Trail, a well-marked path passing several lakes. Eventually the Trail emerged on a butte overlooking much of the area. An egret was sitting in a tall tree in the distance. The sun shining off its brilliant white feathers made it stick out like a sore thumb.

Returning on the loop trail, we spotted a great horned owl soaking up the sunshine in a Douglas fir tree. It was surprising really. They typically hide in the shadows during the day.

It was a pleasant outing. We also spotted a nutria, ducks, small song birds and tundra swans.

All in all the hike was 3.1 miles in length with 100 feet of elevation gain.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Pintail

Pintail

My favorite model

My favorite model

Nutria

Nutria

Cedar Plankhouse

Cedar Plankhouse

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow (?)

Reflections in a pond

Reflections in a pond

Footbridge over the railroad tracks

Footbridge over the railroad tracks

Oak tree reflections in a lake along the trail

Oak tree reflections in a lake along the trail

Scrub Jay, one of my favorites

Scrub Jay, one of my favorites

Categories: Portland Area HikesTags: , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. So happy to find another local nature blog. I’ll be back!

    Like

What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: