Viewing Outlook: March 26, 2009

JACKSON/JOSEPHINE - Raptors and other birds are plentiful and fairly easy to spot along the Bear Creek Greenway around Ashland, Talent and south of Medford.

Heron rookeries along the Rogue River are easiest to spot now as great blue herons are on the roost and the nests are still visible amid the mainly bare branches. Ospreys are becoming much more abundant on the Rogue, and the bald eagles are starting to show in the Robertson Bridge area of Josephine County and the Takelma area of the upper Rogue in Jackson County.

Turkey vultures are becoming more common now that more birds have reached the area after spending the winter in warmer climes.

The first spring chinook salmon have yet to reach the valley, but the first schools of them are reported in the lower Rogue River.

A covered viewing station on the Denman Wildlife Area in White City provides a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. The structure, on Whetstone Lake off East Gregory Road, has a wheelchair-access pathway.

DOUGLAS - Winter steelhead are migrating upstream and passing through the Winchester Dam fish ladder on the North Umpqua River. The first spring chinook of the season also crossed the dam late last week. The fish ladder is free and open to the public, with the best viewing in the late afternoon when the water is not muddy. To get there, take Interstate 5 to exit 129, then head south on Highway 99 to the dam's north edge.

Good numbers of elk are visible at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area off Highway 38 east of Reedsport. Several bulls are still sporting antlers.

COOS - Spring whale-watching is good now, especially on calm days.

KLAMATH - Thousands of snow geese and tundra swans are in the Klamath marshes and bald eagles and other raptors are still hanging around.

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