Rivers & Mountains of Oregon & Washington: May 16—23, 2015

An Introductory Birding Tour

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Portland, OR
Tour Limit: 7
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (83.7 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Bob Sundstrom

Bob Sundstrom has led VENT tours since 1989 to many destinations throughout North America, a...

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Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge— Photo: Brian Gibbons

Great Northwest nesting season birding and wildflowers set in the superb scenery of the Columbia Gorge, snow-capped Mt. Adams, and Oregon’s Blue Mountains. Birds include a potential ten plus woodpeckers including White-headed and Lewis’s, and Williamson’s Sapsucker. Great Gray Owl some years.

The towering basalt cliffs of the lower Columbia River Gorge rank among the most scenic places in the United States. The tour route follows the oak-clad slopes of the Columbia Gorge east from Portland through varied habitats that offer a wide variety of birds, other wildlife, and a brilliant array of wildflowers. We have two nights at Mt. Adams Lodge, at the foot of 12,281-ft. Mt. Adams in the South Cascades. This comfortable lodge offers fine food, sits in a large area of forested grounds, and its feeders are busy with grosbeaks and other finches, and three hummingbird species including Calliope. Nearby Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge hosts nesting White-headed Woodpeckers, Cassin’s Vireos, and Gray Flycatchers. The mountains and foothill habitats nearby hold Hermit Warblers and many other species, from Western Tanagers and MacGillivray’s Warblers to American Dippers and Lazuli Buntings. The oaks along the Columbia are a summer home to lovely Lewis’s Woodpeckers, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Vaux’s Swifts, and Black-throated Gray Warblers.

After two nights near Mt. Adams, our route continues east along the Columbia Gorge, then south into Oregon’s Blue Mountains, where mountain birds such as Williamson’s Sapsuckers and Red Crossbills are a good bet. Nesting Great Gray Owls are seen at traditional nest sites in the Blue Mountains some years, but absent in others. Extensive freshwater marshes nearby are home to nesting Cinnamon Teal and other ducks, Virginia Rails, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and Sandhill Cranes with chicks. High elevation grasslands provide nesting areas for Long-billed Curlews, Gray Partridge, and Chukar. The scenic beauty and wildlife diversity of this tour will make for a very memorable week, at an ideal season to travel in the Pacific Northwest.

Very good accommodations and cuisine; moderate walking; moderate weather from lowlands to mountains.