Umpqua Valley Audubon Society

Six adventurers kept their distance as we viewed waterfowl, other birds, and habitat conditions at the Stewart Park Wildlife Area.

On overpopulation of waterfowl has, over time, facilitated the erosion of most of the soil near the north and south ends of the parking area. A reduction in feeding of these waterfowl may someday allow for vegetative rehabilitation of the area.

We viewed daytime dens of Striped Skunk, Nutria, Raccoon, and American Beaver, but had to use our imaginations to see the critters snug and cozy in their hideaways. It was clear, from waterfowl to skunks to feral cats, purposeful human feeding attracted and maintained some of these populations.

After viewing some tracks where Newton Creek disappears under Garden Valley Blvd, we walked north to the Charles S Gardner Park trail along Newton Creek, all the way north to near Evergreen. Along here we saw more sign of beaver and ran into a nice bunch of birds including Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Spotted Towhee, Acorn Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker and others.

A “wild” domestic cat was well-camouflaged in the brush. Overall it was sobering to see how poorly we have treated some habitats, but the wildlife impressed us with their tenacity and adaptability in these habitat remnants in the city.