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Fall is spectacular time at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

October is one of the best months to visit the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The weather is cooler, the days are usually sunny and dry, and the winter rains are still in the future.

The refuge staff has started filling the wetlands to prepare for the migrating waterfowl that are stopping for a rest on their way south, so this is a wonderful opportunity to see some beautiful dabbling ducks such as mallards, northern pintails, American wigeons, and green-winged teals.

Visitors who come later in the month will likely to see up to 10,000 cackling Canade geese. Most shorebirds have gone south for the winter but look for remaining killdeer. There is always wildlife to see, especially for those who like to walk in the early morning.

The seasonal trail is closed until May 1, 2016, to provide protection for the arriving birds. The shorter two-mile round trip trail to the river overlook and wetlands observation deck is always open and provides plenty of opportunities for seeing wildlife.

Looking for something to do this month? Here are some events happening at the refuge:

Gary Fawvre, a volunteer naturalist, will show photos of birds from his trips to Ecuador and Peru at a meeting of the Tualatin River Photo Society on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.

These meetings are open to everyone with a camera and an interest in nature photography. People come to learn, share and help each other. The meeting will be in the Riparian room at the Nature Center.

Second Saturday work party

Volunteers will remove invasive plants on refuge property Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Meet at the Wildlife Center (main unit), 19255 S.W. Pacific Highway, at 8:45 a.m. to sign in. Wear work clothes and gloves, and bring a water bottle; tools, water and snacks will be supplied.

Bioswale Work Party

Come to the refuge and help weed the bioswale in the parking lot Friday, Oct. 16, from 9 to 11 a.m. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for working in the dirt and sun and make sure to bring water! No prior experience required. For any addition questions please contact Rachel_Dunham@friendsoftualatinrefuge.org.

Guided nature walk

Join a refuge naturalist Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. for a free nature walk to explore the oak savanna, riparian forest and wetland ecosystems and natural history of the refuge. The walk is appropriate for all ages although space is limited.

Please register online at www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org. For more information on refuge activities, email Rachel_Dunham@friendsoftualatinrefuge.org.

If you have visited the Refuge and purchased an item in the Nature Store, you have probably been asked if you are a member of the Friends. If you're not already a member, you may wonder who the Friends are. It is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization, whose mission is to support the development and management of the refuge.

The Friends' activities include refuge restoration work, children's nature camps, naturalist training, monthly walks on the Refuge, the annual bird festival and other special events. The Friends also operate Nature's Overlook store in the Wildlife Center which is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Membership is open to any individual, family, or organization interested in supporting the refuge. Members receive a monthly e-newsletter and a 10 percent discount at the Nature's Overlook store in the Wildlife Center. For more information, stop by the Nature Store or visit the Friends' website at www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org.