Sauvie Island is a favorite place for Jack and I.  Suavie Island is located about 10-15 minutes northwest of Portland, Oregon.  The Willamette River is on one side – the Columbia River on the other side.  We started visiting the island when we moved to Portland in 1990.  Whenever we come back for a Portland visit a trip to Sauvie Island is always on our to do list.

Wapato Greenway, managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, is a great place to go hiking on the island, and in July/August a great place to go berry picking.  The blackberries are delicious – one in the bucket, five in my mouth.  Took us a while to get several buckets full of berries.  And you had to watch out for the stinging nettle, which I sometimes forgot.

We woke to a morning devoid of rain so we got into the van and headed to the island for a hike.  We had some great birding there too – a very birdy morning.  At one point along the trail we stopped for several birds and 20+ minutes later we counted at least 14 species passing through the trees just off the trail:

  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Song Sparrow
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • House Finch
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker
  • Bushtit

What a joy, what a delight.  And throughout out the walk there was a chorus of Pacific Tree Frogs.  These little guys are hard to see as they are small and green – hiding in plain sight in the green vegetation.




The geese were enjoying Wapato Lake.  Not much water in the lake however – mostly reed canarygrass.



This little guy was sitting so quietly – hoping we wouldn’t notice him


Great Egret


Lots of fall colors



Red-breasted Sapsucker


Golden-crowned Sparrow




Spotted Towhee



Song Sparrow




Jack checking out the birds


After the hike we decided to check out several Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) wildlife areas on the island.  We took a road I thought might lead us there, but no luck.  However, this road is where we saw and rescued the injured Great Horned Owl.  Needless to say we didn’t get to any of the ODFW sites that day as we had an injured owl to take to the Audubon Society of Portland’s Wild Care Center.  Several days later, when I checked on the owl, I was told its injuries were severe (broken bones, swelling, dehydration) and the bird was euthanized.  So sad.


Mt. Saint Helen as seen from Sauvie Island


Most likely an Osprey nest with perching platform.  The Ospreys have left for warmer climes.


Red-tailed Hawk


Houseboats along the Willamette River


I think it might be fun to live in one – says the person who tends to get seasick on the water


Homer residents aren’t the only ones to use old boats for living quarters. This one, however, if much nicer looking.


The rescued Great Horned Owl – a juvenile


Other bird species observed or heard on Sauvie Island

  • Sandhill Crane
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Canada Goose
  • Northern Pintail
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Eurasian Starling
  • Northern Flicker
  • Northern Shoveler
  • American Wigeon
  • American Kestrel
  • Mourning Dove
  • California Scrub Jay
  • Great Horned Owl
  • American Robin
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Merlin
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • House Wren

It was definitely ‘A GREAT DAY TO BIRD’