Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge

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Power City Wildlife Area

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Hat Rock State Park

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Stanfield Meadows & Echo Meadows

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McNary Dam and McNary Wildlife Nature Area

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To reach Cold Springs NWR take Hwy 395 north from Exit 188 of I-84 through the town of Stanfield. Follow the signs to Hermiston. On the southern edge of Hermiston, turn right on E. Highland Avenue (Look for the 7-11). At 1.6 miles, the road forks; take the left fork which is E. Loop Road. Take E. Loop east for 5.0 miles and E. Loop turns 90 degrees to the right. Go left (north) here (onto Reservoir Road [gravel]), and the road enters the refuge at mile 0.25. Pick up a refuge brochure at the entrance. Continue on to mile 0.4 where the road makes a “T”. Go left to Parking Lot C or go right to Parking Lots D, E, and F. These parking lots are not signed but are shown on the brochure map. The north side of the reservoir is not open to the public but much of the south is (refer to the map in the brochure). On the southeastern part of the refuge, look for the Memorial Marsh Unit. Take the walking trail from the south corner of Parking Lot F to the Memorial Marsh Unit of the refuge.


Habitat and Birds

The reservoir is rimmed with cottonwood/brush habitat and harbors many species of breeding and migrating songbirds. All of the parking lots access this habitat. “Fall” shorebirding on the mudflats of the reservoir is excellent, although numbers and species vary considerably from day to day. The first southbound shorebirds pass through beginning in late June, but the mudflats are usually not exposed until late July or early August. Many of the shorebirds stay along the northern edge of the reservoir in the area closed to the public, but there are usually some in the SE corner (accessed from Parking Lot D) and the southern edge of the reservoir (accessed from Parking Lots C and D). A scope is needed for effective shorebirding here. Shorebirding is usually good into early October, with Dunlin and Least Sandpipers seen until early January during those rare winters when the reservoir doesn’t freeze over. In addition to the expected shorebirds, look for Stilt Sandpiper, Sanderling, American Golden-Plover, and Short-billed Dowitcher, which are rare, annual fall migrants.

From mid-October to early December, thousands to tens of thousands of ducks and geese can be seen at the reservoir. Snow Geese and Cackling Geese are most abundant, with some Canada Geese, a few Greater White-fronted Goose, and the very rare Ross’s Goose. Among the Western Grebes are a few Clark’s Grebes, which are annual and have bred here.