Airlie Road and Maple Grove Area

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The Airlie-Suver Road is southwest and across the Willamette from Salem. Take Hwy 99W south from Monmouth for about 7 miles (you will go past Sarah Helmick State Park which is the oldest state park in Oregon. Helmick Park is prone to flooding during high water events. It’s a good site for woodpeckers and other conifer-loving birds. There is a decent riparian stretch along the river and you can scope out neighboring fields from the entry parking area for swan flocks and other birds during the winter.). Turn west on Airlie-Suver and bird the open farmland here.


Habitat and Birds

Trumpeter swans often over-winter with Tundra swans in the fields to the NW of the Airlie Rd and 99w intersection. Much of the rest of the road is wide open areas and rodents take advantage of the farmer’s spillage and raptors take advantage of the rodents. Watch for Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Harrier, and Prairie Falcon among other raptors. Sparrows can be in the hedge rows so expect Spotted Towhee, White-throated Sparrow, Fox, and White-crowns in winter. Horned Larks sometimes feed in the road and blackbird flocks may have a Brown-headed Cowbird in the bunch. You never know what might show up. A Whooper Swan was found here in 1997.

Side trips and extensions of Airlie Rd include Sauerkraut Rd, Maple Grove Rd and Tarter Rd. Sauerkraut Rd has a new pond that is viewable from the road and can attract ducks and shorebirds. Both Maple Grove Rd and Tarter Rd used to have White-tailed Kites, but neither seem to recently, though it’s possible the birds are just using some hidden corner that birders haven’t been able to see. Tarter Rd is a nice quiet road and can be good for sparrows and other song birds.