Umpqua Estuary Paddle and Umpqua Birders Meeting

Looking for paddlers and a land team (or a shuttle volunteer).

Description: The Umpqua River Estuary is an Oregon Important Bird Area ( located in coastal Douglas County. We will take an 8-mile journey from Salmon Harbor, riding the tide upstream, taking out at the Gardiner boat ramp in the afternoon. In the river channel we expect to see plenty of ducks, loons, grebes, gulls, and cormorants, as well as Caspian Terns, Ospreys, and perhaps a Bald Eagle overhead. As we move upstream we will encounter narrow strips of mudflat along the river edge, then two larger expanses of mudflat. On these mudflats we expect to see Western Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Whimbrel, and perhaps other shorebirds and waterfowl. Large groups of Harbor Seals, with their varied colors and patterns, are typically observed. You can see photos from a 2013 spring trip here:, and a complete checklist with notes here:

Logistics: This trip is done with your own canoe or kayak (but sometimes someone needs a partner in their canoe, so let me know if you want to go but don’t have a watercraft). On the day of the trip we will meet at the Salmon Harbor west basin boat ramp at 0730 (launch fee is $5 per craft)(also be sure to have your invasive species permit). Those of us coming from central Douglas County can meet near Dakota Street Pizza (west of I-5 at Sutherlin) at about 0600 to caravan. Hopefully we will have a “land team” as well, that can pick us up when we reach Gardiner. Otherwise we will have to shuttle vehicles before launching. We expect to take out at the Gardiner boat ramp between about 3 pm and 4 pm, but river and bird conditions and decisions of the participants will dictate timing. Bring lunch and/or snacks and water. Life jackets and a whistle are required by Oregon law and I recommend you wear your life jacket on this trip. There are no restrooms on this stretch of river but we can access some “cover” if need be.

NOTE: Last year all attempts to canoe the estuary were cancelled or abandoned due to wind. I hope we have better luck this year (I did nine trips in 2013 without a problem!). If conditions are unfavorable, we may canoe a different area or do some land-based birding.

If you are interested in this trip, please call or email Matt Hunter, 541-670-1984, This trip is offered by Umpqua Valley Audubon and is free and open to the public.



Douglas County birder and “Birds of Oregon: A General Reference (2003)” co-editor/author Matt Hunter will facilitate a get-together for bird enthusiasts of coastal Douglas County on Monday evening, May 4, at the Reedsport Public Library, 395 Winchester Avenue, 6:30-8 pm. There will be opportunity to share your own recent observations or photos of birds you have seen at your home or coastal Douglas County (bring photos or files) and ask bird questions, then Matt will show some photos of birds and other wildlife observed during several paddling expeditions of the Umpqua Estuary as well as other sites in coastal Douglas County over the last couple years. Questions? Contact Matt at 541-670-1984 or For more information on birds in Douglas County, see, and Umpqua Valley Audubon programs and field trips see

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