Featured Stories

Seasons are not in synch with calendar at wildlife refuge

Recently, a friend sent me a copy of Harry Nehls' “Field Notes” from a 2013 Portland Audubon Warbler newsletter. I was intrigued by what he says about the seasons. Nehls states that “the human concept of the seasons does not match that of wildlife. As the seasons advance and retreat with the sun's movement, the timing differs due to an area's distance from the equator.

For Oregon, the seasons best fit the following approximate schedule:

-- Spring: Feb. 16 - May 15;

-- Summer: May 16 – Aug. 15;

-- Fall: Aug. 10 – Nov. 15;

-- Winter: Nov. 16 – Feb. 15.

He goes on to say, “Keep in mind that weather may influence migrations, but not the seasons. So if spring comes to Oregon in mid-February and lasts until mid-May, spring migrations fit well into this framework with some overlap caused by ambitious individuals and late-movers.”

March visitors

Several species have already arrived at the refuge. Turkey vultures have been seen moving north through the state since early February, and tree swallows are now soaring over the wetlands catching insects.

Violet-green swallows, rufous hummingbirds and common yellowthroats will be arriving in March as ducks and geese are heading north. The resident bald eagles are tending to their nest. There are so many reasons to come to the refuge in March.

Riverboat unit restoration

The Friends of the Refuge group is continuing to work on the Riverboat Restoration Unit. Volunteers are needed every Wednesday and Saturday through March to help plant native shrubs and trees. If you can volunteer only one day, the help would be greatly appreciated, and you will have an opportunity to see a part of the refuge along the Tualatin River that is not open to the public. See the Friends’ website, friendsoftualatinrefuge.org/riverboat, for complete information.

Field trip clothes closet

The Friends are pleased to announce a generous donation from Columbia Sportswear to implement a Friends of the Refuge Field Trip Clothes Closet at the refuge. The refuge is visited annually by approximately 3,000 students, and many arrive ill-equipped for the weather. After years of watching students arrive without coats, Friends board members Mary French and Bonnie Anderson met with Jinn Brunk, corporate relation specialist at Columbia Sportswear Company, to see what could be done.

Columbia generously donated nearly $2,800 in outdoor wear to create the Friends of the Refuge Field Trip Closet. “It is very difficult for a student to have a quality experience in the outdoors if they are uncomfortable,” Anderson said. “These rain jackets allow the student to be more engaged while visiting the refuge."

Information about the clothes closet is available to teachers when they register for field trips.

Photo society meeting

The Tualatin River Photo Society will meet Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m., when John Rakestraw, author of “Birding Oregon: A Guide to the Best Sites Across the State,” will be guest speaker.

He will talk about some of the best places in Oregon to find and photograph birds, and a short session will follow on the use of camo blinds and clothing in field photography. Attendees are invited to bring five JPEG images on a thumb drive and/or up to five prints of birds for sharing.

Upcoming photo presentation

The Tualatin River Photo Society will host Paul Bannick, award-winning wildlife photographer, on Friday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Riparian room at the Refuge Wildlife Center, 19255 S.W. Pacific Highway, Sherwood.

Bannick, who specializes in the natural history of North America with a focus on birds and habitat, will give a presentation on photographing birds. The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, check out Bannick’s website at www.paulbannick.com.

Bannick also will conduct a workshop on Saturday morning, April 11, on photographing birds.

Registration is required for the Saturday workshop and opens on March 1, and space is limited.

Cost is $95 for members of the Friends of the Refuge and $125 for non-members. Memberships are available through the Friends' website or by stopping at the Refuge Wildlife Center.

Photographers of all levels are invited to participate.

For complete information and registration, click on the Photo Society tab on the website, friendsoftualatinrefuge.org.