LA GRANDE - The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife invites experienced and novice bird watchers to the fifth annual Ladd Marsh Birdathon. The event will take place May 14, 15 and 16, 2010 at ODFW’s Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area located near La Grande, Oregon.
“The event is a non-competitive birding opportunity for the family and it’s free of charge,” said Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area biologist Cathy Nowak. “We hope families will visit the wildlife area to go birding, participate in the scheduled activities or to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery.”
Ladd Marsh Birdathon is scheduled at the height of spring migration and nesting in the Grande Ronde Valley. Few, if any, places in Union County have a more diverse bird population than Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area where over 200 species of birds either visit or live permanently.
The event offers a once-a-year opportunity to view birds at places on the wildlife area generally closed to public access in the spring to protect nesting birds and minimize disturbance during brood rearing. With a free Ladd Marsh Birdathon Passport, birders have increased opportunities to view an abundance of ducks, geese, raptors, shore birds and passerines on the wildlife area.
Registration for the event opens Friday evening, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Eagles Hot Lake RV Park. Participants must register in order to receive a packet that includes the required passport and a map of the wildlife area showing open areas, staffed birding stations and other popular birding locations on or near the wildlife area. Following registration, Nowak will present “Cryptic to Colorful – Birds of the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.” Admission is free of charge.
On Saturday activities begin at 6:00 a.m. with registration at the Tule Lake Public Access Area located on Peach Road. Experienced birders will be at the staffed stations until noon to offer assistance and information to the public about birds and bird watching. Birders are encouraged to explore beyond the stations to a variety of habitats ranging from wetland to hawthorn scrub.
Kid’s activities will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and include building bird houses that can be taken home, decorating their own “Bag It for Birds” tote, signing up to be a Junior Birder and other fun activities.
Beginning at 11:30 a.m., volunteers from Friends of Ladd Marsh will provide BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs and all the fixings for $5 ($3 for kids 10 and under). Friends of Ladd Marsh is a non-profit organization that supports various projects on the wildlife area. People are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch.
At 1:30 p.m., Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will introduce their educational team of live raptors. Lynn and Bob Tompkins, BMWRC directors, will talk about raptors, offering a close-up look at owls, eagles, falcons and hawks.
Saturday evening activities include a presentation by Trish Nixon, Raptor Specialist from the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho. Nixon will explore the mind boggling detail of bird migrations, the vast distances birds migrate, how they find their way, why they migrate, which routes they take and the perils and challenges they face during migration. She’ll speak specifically about the migrations of Swainson’s hawk, peregrine falcons, osprey, turkey vultures and other raptors. She’ll end the presentation with an audience question and answer session and offer photo opportunities with two live birds of prey that will accompany her. Nixon’s presentation is scheduled at 6 p.m. at Eagles Hot Lake RV Park’s multi-purpose room. Admission is free.
Optional early morning guided field trips are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. A $5 registration fee is charged for field trips and with limited spaces available, pre-registration is encouraged. For information about the field trips or to pre-register, contact Nowak at email@example.com or at (541) 963-4954. If spaces are available, individuals can sign up for field trips at the Birdathon registration area Friday evening and Saturday.
Saturday’s field trips include: a route around the Grande Ronde Valley guided by Scott Findholt and to Bird Track Springs guided by Dave Felley. Sunday’s tours include a hike up Glass Hill guided by Dave Trochlell, trips to Rhinehart Canyon guided by Trent Bray, Growiser Wildflower Preserve guided by Laurie Allen, Spring Creek guided by Mark Penninger and Ladd Marsh Dawn Chorus guided by Cathy Nowak.
The wildlife area will remain open all day on Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 AM to 8:40 p.m. to those with Ladd Marsh Birdathon Passports.
Directions and Sponsors
Directions to the Birdathon: From Interstate 84, take Exit 265, then south on Hwy 203 approximately 5 1/2 miles to Peach Road. Just at the south end of the railroad overpass, turn north (left) onto Peach Road and continue approximately 1.3 miles to the Tule Lake Public Access entrance. The parking area and registration site are a short ¼ mile from the entrance gate.
Directions to Eagle’s Hot Lake RV Resort: From Interstate 84, take Exit 265, then travel south on Hwy 203 for approximately 5 miles to Hot Lake Lane. Turn right and follow Hot Lake Lane for approximately ¼ mile. The RV resort is on the left at 65182 Hot Lake Lane.
Event sponsors include Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Union County Tourism, Eastern Oregon University Biology Club, Eagles Hot Lake RV Resort, Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Friends of Ladd Marsh and the Grande Ronde Bird Club.
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area includes a number of key native habitats as identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy including the largest hardstem bulrush marsh remaining in Northeast Oregon.
The event is one of thousands held around the world in observance of International Migratory Bird Day. Created in 1993, IMBD is held annually in May to celebrate and support migratory bird conservation and to increase awareness of all birds whose annual movements enliven our lands, waters and skies.
For more information contact: Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area at (541) 963-4954, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call ODFW’s NE Region Office at (541) 963-2138 or visit ODFW’s website at www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/viewing/index.asp
Schedule of Events
Fifth Annual 2010 Ladd Marsh Birdathon
Friday, May 14
Registration at Eagles Hot Lake RV Park Multi-purpose room.
Register and pick up Passport to enter the wildlife area.
Sign up for available spaces on Saturday and Sunday field trips.
Cryptic to Colorful – Birds of the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area presentation at Eagles Hot LakeResort multi-purpose room.
Saturday, May 15
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area opens to public access with Passport.
Registration at Tule Lake Public Access Area – Peach Road
Receive Passport with information directing you to staffed birding stations and other “birdy” areas.
Sign up for available spaces on Sunday field trips.
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:
Lunch will be available for purchase or bring a picnic lunch.
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.:
Build and decorate a birdhouse to take home
Decorate a “Bag it for Birds” canvas tote
Sign up to be a Junior Birder
Compare your wingspan to the wingspan of birds large and small
Other fun activities
1:00 p.m.– 2:00 p.m.:
Birds of Prey presentation by Blue Mountain Wildlife
Road Trips with Raptors by Trish Nixon, The Peregrine Fund
Presentation at Eagles Hot Lake RV Park multi-purpose room.
Sponsored by the Grande Ronde Bird Club
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area closes to public access.
Sunday, May 16
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area opens to public access with Passport.
6:00 a.m. – 10 a.m.:
Registration at Tule Lake Public Access Area.
Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area closes to public access