Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge

I took the scenic route home from the airport and stumbled into the Wildlife Refuge near Alpine. I’m thinking this deserves another trip with more time to spend. There must have been thousands of Canada Geese flying overhead, but the trails to the ponds where they were settling seemed to be off limits for the winter, unless a reservation was made to be allowed access to a photo blind.

Included in the preservation are Oregon White Oak Tree savannas providing habitats for cavity nesting birds. The dark clumps are mistletoe.Finley_NWR-1480In addition there are a few historical buildings preserved, including The Fiechter Barn, a large, well built farm building from the early twentieth century. Finley_NWR-1489I wonder why it is that when I plan a route too carefully, it goes to pieces, whereas if I blunder along in blissful ignorance aimed in a fancied direction I get through with no trouble. 
― John SteinbeckTravels with Charley: In Search of America


35 thoughts on “Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge

    • I’m hoping to make it back perhaps even before spring before the birds start their migration back up north. That snowstorm up there might have just been a passing thing.


    • The geese formations were almost a steady stream of thousands of birds…. and they made quite a racket off in the distance, too. The quote just happened to be from the book I’m reading for the 2nd? 3rd? time. Very definitely a favorite of mine, too.


    • Absolutely no question that I’d have to stop and shoot. I’m also hoping to make a return trip with perhaps making an appointment to use that photo blind they mentioned. As you may have noticed, I don’t generally do manmade structures, but the barn cried out to be an exception.


  1. Shame you couldn’t get closer but good to hear they take protecting the birds seriously. Will you try to get to the hide? Image the shots you’d get from there. Always think of Asterix when I see mistletoe in trees 😉


    • There are four areas put aside for the Reserves and they do take things quite seriously, even to the point of having some farmers raising some crops particularly favored or essential to the migrating birds. I just love to see that sort of care and concern. I will definitely try to make a return trip even though it’s at least a trip of several hours to get there. I’d say well worth it. The different areas seem dedicated to different species. If you’re interested, here’s a site that describes it in much detail: http://www.fws.gov/willamettevalley/complex/


  2. Outstanding!!! Love these!

    Gunta, valoro enormemente las fotografías de los gansos en vuelo porque no son fáciles de realizar.
    Los Gansos que llegan a España desde Europa cuando comienzan el frío del otoño, ya no les queda mucho tiempo para regresar a sus puntos de origen. Marzo será el mes definitivo para ello.
    Buscaré en mis archivos algunas fotos de ellos.


    • What a different experience we have. Canada geese are quite common here. Some even stay all year. This place I visited had thousands of them flying to a pond. It’s a Reserve where they make sure the geese are protected and have enough food to see them through their journey to Alaska. Pity I couldn’t get closer to where they landed.


  3. It certainly does look like it’s worth another visit Gunta. I love the quote. Since I’ve had GPS (I prefer GPS to Sat Nav) I’ve lost the superb sense of direction I always had. With barely a map to my name I’d find my way and it was always interesting, I’d usually opt for the less busy back roads. The map was the very very last resort. And because I found my way, If I’d been somewhere once, the route was stored away for easy recall. This included big cities. I used to manage perfectly well. Now I can barely leave the house without switching the device on.. 😦


    • I find GPS especially handy in big cities and when traveling to places I’m not familiar with. Sat Nav isn’t used much around here, so I have to stop and think about what it refers to. 🙂


  4. Beautiful…..I have a thing about red barns. What size lens did you use to capture the geese? And yes a revisit to the refuge should be on the agenda. You never know what you’ll spot on another visit 🙂


    • Thanks, Ingrid. I was using my 70-300mm telephoto lens and the geese shots were at 300mm. I’m seriously thinking a revisit is in order before the geese and other birds head north.


    • The distance is approximately three hours. Not something I might visit often, but definitely worth checking out occasionally. Hope to do at least one visit before spring arrives. Those photo blinds sound tempting.


    • Thanks, Jerry. I totally agree about preferring back roads to crazy freeways, whenever possible. The quote is from a favorite book that I’m rereading at the moment. Steinbeck’s wonderful observations of his travels across this wonderful USA of ours with his poodle, Charley. I wonder if this book didn’t instill or encourage my wanderlust. 😉


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