Yesterday Tom and I drove to Green Island, a couple of miles northeast of Coburg, so that I could help with a 7:15 a.m. bird walk during an all-day event organized by the McKenzie River Trust, a non-profit land trust. This annual event is called the Living River Celebration.
Green Island is a 1,100-acre island located at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. It was purchased from the Green family who had owned and farmed the land for 70 years. Restoration efforts are geared toward returning the land to its former riparian habitat and flood plain characteristics. During high water it is truly an island while otherwise being accessible to the public via a narrow, culverted roadway just a few times a year. http://mckenzieriver.org/protected-lands/owned-properties/green-island/
This was my third time on the island and I’m still getting to know it. With the mixture of forest, grasslands, shrubs and ample water it provides wonderful habitat for birds and other wildlife. On my first visit I discovered a den of striped skunks in a shaded area under some Big Leaf Maples. During an evening meeting a week or so ago some of us saw an otter in one of the old gravel ponds that is being rehabilitated.
Yesterday we were a group of about a dozen people of mixed ages but all interested in spotting birds. The two REAL experts in the group carried spotting scopes enabling close-up views of those birds that sat still long enough to be focused upon. Even those with binoculars appreciated this addition.
We walked about mile and-a-half in three hours. Not only did we see, and hear, a variety of birds but we also were able to see signs of local wildlife and identify a number of plants.
As we neared the end of our walk we stopped to visit with Phillip Bayles who demonstrated his Styrofoam and plywood airplane that he has been using to take photos for various land use agencies. Bayles is a classical musician (conductor, composer, keyboards, founder of Eugene opera, etc.) who enjoyed his electric rear-engine plane with its high definition video camera.
One reason I mention Bayles is that moments after viewing his demonstration we saw a pileated woodpecker, a lazuli bunting and a tanager in some fir trees. If we hadn’t stopped, these birds might not have been there when we passed.
This event also offered tree climbing, the opportunity to try out kayaks and canoes, a number of information stations (organizations, water and electric company, etc.), live music, more walks, and food and drink for sale.