Squirrels of Northwest Oregon

Folk often ask me what kinds of squirrels live in our area. I figured it was time for a post. In Columbia County we have: 1 chipmunk 1 ground squirrel 2 native tree squirrels (one little and one big) 2 introduced tree squirrels 1 flying squirrel Without further ado, here they are! There are severalContinue reading “Squirrels of Northwest Oregon”

How to enter data for Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians

You may have seen our booth at the Columbia County Fair. (We’ll be in front of Brad’s World Reptiles every day through July 18th.) Here’s how you can take part in our research. Why this project? Columbia County has received little attention from wildlife biologists, thus we don’t know how our wildlife is faring. MattContinue reading “How to enter data for Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians”

New possibilities for Salmonberry Lake

I’m excited to learn that Columbia County’s new parks and facilities director, Riley Baker, is looking to work with the city of St. Helens to set up Salmonberry Lake as a county park. County hires new leader for parks and facilities Salmonberry Lake (also called Salmonberry Reservoir) is one of the best birdwatching spots inContinue reading “New possibilities for Salmonberry Lake”

Unsettling Encounter with a Young Elk

I was hesitant to write this post. My hope is that people can learn from my mistakes just as much as from the positive experiences. I set off at 6:30am to avoid the predicted high temps. The early start brought me to a coyote sauntering along the logging road. As I descended a switchback IContinue reading “Unsettling Encounter with a Young Elk”

4-H outing to Trojan Park and Welter Cemetery

Last week my sister invited Matt and I to lead a 4-H herpetology and conservation event. For the site we chose Trojan Park and the area surrounding Welter Cemetery. The Welter Family Cemetery is a century-old cemetery perched on the Old Columbia River Highway, across from Trojan Park. The Welter family moved here from LuxemburgContinue reading “4-H outing to Trojan Park and Welter Cemetery”

The Elusive Columbia Torrent Salamander

The only salamander that shares Columbia County’s namesake, the Columbia Torrent salamander, had never been officially recorded in the county and that just didn’t seem right. These “Torrents” were one of the first salamanders I ever searched for as their habitat niche is in the spray zones of the waterfalls I love. Years ago theContinue reading “The Elusive Columbia Torrent Salamander”

Whitetails of the Columbia

Our county’s most unique mammal may be the Columbian White-tailed Deer. Just 50 years ago these beautiful creatures were nearly extinct, hanging on in a few islands in the Columbia River. In 1978 another small population was discovered at the southern end of the Willamette Valley. The subspecies was added to the federal Endangered SpeciesContinue reading “Whitetails of the Columbia”

Morning stroll around Salmonberry Reservoir

I took a quick look at the Salmonberry Reservoir this morning. The small lake is part of the St. Helens Tree Farm property owned by the City of St. Helens. The property is gated less than a half-mile before the reservoir, which allows a quiet walk in along an easy gravel road. Varied Thrush wereContinue reading “Morning stroll around Salmonberry Reservoir”

CZ Trail: Scappoose to Chapman Landing

Most of Columbia County is forested hills aligned with the foothills of the Coast Range to the west. But there’s a portion of the county along the Columbia River, especially around Scappoose, made up of wetland flats aligned with the ecology of the Willamette Valley to the south. Those wetlands can be experienced on theContinue reading “CZ Trail: Scappoose to Chapman Landing”