Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge

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Perrydale and Beck Roads

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Spring Valley Access - Willamette River Greenway

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Morris Road

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Darrow Bar - Willamette River Access

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Livermore Road

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Farmer Road

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Nesmith County Park

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Baskett Slough NWR is a 2500 acre refuge originally established to provide winter habitat for Canada Geese (several sub-species including many Dusky). From I-5 in Salem, take exit 253 and follow Hwy 22 through Salem (follow the signs to the coast). Once you cross the Willamette River, travel 12 miles and look for the Kiosk and viewing platform on the right side of the road. This area offers a great view of the east edge of the refuge. Often, you can see over 10,000 birds from this viewpoint. From this location, continue on Hwy 22 for another mile and turn right on Smithfield Road. Immediately turn right again onto Coville Road. Bird this entire stretch. It will wind through the refuge and end up on Hwy 99W. At Hwy 99W take a left (north) and travel just over a mile to Smithfield Road. Turn left and bird along this road. You can choose to stay on this road and loop back to Hwy 22 or you can turn off onto Livermore or Morris Roads.

There are a few walking trails at Baskett Slough that are great for birding. Here is a map of the refuge.

The Rich Guadagno Memorial Trail is open year round and includes some open fields and oak forests. This is a great spot to hike during migration, but even in the winter there can be birds to find among the oaks. Access this from the trailhead on Coville Rd.

On the other side of the refuge there is a trailhead for Morgan Lake. This trailhead is only open from April 1st-September 30th. Morgan Lake is a short 1/4 mile walk to views over the large lake. The trail continues south and after about 3 miles, loops back around to the Morgan Lake trailhead. Along the loop you will also pass by Moffitti Marsh, which is another good area for ducks and shorebirds during migration. See the trail map for more info.

Another seasonal trail is the Headquarters Dike Rd. You can park at either the Park Headquarters off of hwy 22, or on the Coville Rd parking lot. This area is open April 1st to September 30th as well.


Habitat and Birds

Go to the Oregon Birding Trails Website. Click on Willamette Valley Birding Trails. Choose the Yamhill Loop and see site # Y-1.

The bird variety here is diverse and always entertaining. In addition to the birds mentioned in the previous link, Baskett Slough has produced some good rarities. Snow Goose, Ross’s Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Redhead, White-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, Gyrfalcon, Peregrine Falcon, Pacific Golden-Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrel, Baird’s Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Thayer’s Gull, Black Tern, Burrowing Owl, Short-eared Owl, Long-eared Owl, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Northern Shrike, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Grasshopper Sparrow, Harris’s Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Lark Bunting, and Yellow- headed Blackbird have all been seen here. If you add this rare bird list to a long list of regulars, you can see why it’s a favorite location in Polk County.