On the Refuge: Coming of fall will change appearance of refuge
September will arrive soon with its cooler weather and shorter days. It's a great time to walk the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge before the seasonal trail closes for the winter.
The colors in nature will begin to change as we move into fall. Many birds have begun their migrations southward, but the resident birds are always around. Look for mammals in hideaways of the various habitats. Watch quietly and you may spot a blacktail deer, coyote, an occasional elk as well as raccoon, beaver and mink.
Exciting changes are happening at the refuge. Work is in progress to restore Chicken Creek, which crosses the refuge, to its natural, curving flow. The creek followed a curving route before it was diverted to a straight channel for agricultural use for most of the 20th century. The end result will be one connected unit of 280 acres of floodplain and only three managed wetlands.
This long-planned project will increase and improve wetland and riparian habitat for the diverse wildlife that live on the refuge. Aquatic species like Western brook lamprey and cutthroat trout will benefit from the slower flowing creek, which will provide resting and rearing opportunities. Birds and mammals will find more hunting and nesting opportunities as increased vegetation will offer additional protection.
These changes will benefit not only wildlife, but also offer visitors an opportunity to see more diverse wildlife. If you would like more information about this project, stop by the visitor center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Tualatin River Photo Society: 7 p.m. Sept. 5, visitor center Riparian Room
Join us to hear guest speaker Adam Bacher talk about his "Conspiracy of Ravens" project. Bacher is a Portland-based professional photographer who became interested in the lives of ravens after a day cross-country skiing in 2014. The photo society is open to anyone with any type of camera and interest in nature photography.
Trailhead Nature Table: noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 7 for Wild Waterfowl; noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 14 Creatures of the Dark
Drop in at our trailhead table to see what you can discover on the refuge during your hike. Each trailhead table talk has a different theme, so stop by and see what you can explore.
Puddle Stompers: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 11 and 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 17 for turtles
This pre-school environmental education program invites children and their families to spend the morning learning about the natural wonders of the refuge. Volunteer naturalists lead nature crafts, share stories and guide hikes on refuge trails. The Refuge supplies "froggy" raingear for the kids, but adults should bring their own. Each month has a new theme. Registration is required on the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife website at
Bats of the Night: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 12 and 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26
Join a bat biologist and search for bats on the refuge. Discover the importance of these flying mammals and how people can support the habitats where they live.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Refuge
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