Monmouth and Independence

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Elkins Road

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Airlie Road and Maple Grove Area

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Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site

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Wendell Kreder Reservoir and Oak Hill Dairy

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North Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area

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Lucky 99 Pond

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Simpson Road

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Monmouth is located west of Salem on Hwy 99W. Take Hwy 22 west to Rickreall. Turn south on 99W for 5 miles to Monmouth. Like many communities, birding the town involves driving the neighborhoods, looking for feeders, and visiting local natural areas. Monmouth has a college campus (WOU) but there are limited opportunities for birding there.  The Monmouth Sewage Ponds are the main attraction in Monmouth, though they are only open from weekdays from 8am-4pm. Use the following directions to access them: From the main intersection of Main St and Hwy 99, go east on main St. for 0.5 miles, and at the 2nd S curve go straight into the entrance to the Public Works Dept. You will need to go in the office and sign in. There are 3 main ponds, and each seems to hold different bird species. Walking the perimeter can be good for sparrows and warblers too. There is a planned boardwalk that will go out over one of the marshes in the next year or two.

Currently, the Independence Sewage Ponds are closed to public access. but a good alternative is Riverview Park in Independence. From Monmouth, take Monmouth St. east to its junction with Main Street. Turn left (north) and go one block. The park is on your right along the river. There is a walking trail that goes both north and south along the Willamette River.

Secondly spots to check out in Monmouth and Independence include Gentle Woods Park along hwy 99w, Pioneer Park in Independence, and the Independence Sports Park just north of Riverview Park.


Habitat and Birds

Many rarities have been found at the Monmouth Sewage Ponds over the years:  Cattle Egret, Tufted Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneyes, All 3 Scoters, All three loons and all 5 grebes, Franklins, Heermann’s and Sabines Gulls, BL Kittiwake, Arctic and Common Terns, Red Phalaropes after winter storms sometimes, Swamp Sparrow, Palm Warbler, Ancient Murrelet, and Redheads.  Many ducks can be found Fall thru Spring, including Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser and Greater Scaups and sometimes Canvasbacks. Overall, 26 species of ducks have been seen at the Sewage Ponds alone. Spotted Sandpipers can be found here most of the year, and are sometimes joined by other shorebirds as well.

Riverview Park is a good place to look for Northern Rough-winged Swallows, as well as Vaux’s Swifts flying over head. From June-July the park is also a good place to listen for Common Nighthawks as the sun sets. The trail heading north out of the park can be good for warblers in spring and summer and sparrows in the fall and winter. Shorebirds do sometimes show up along the rocks of the river, and it’s also a good place to keep an eye out for gulls, loons, grebes and ducks. Here is a link to the ebird hotspot for Riverview Park.

Pioneer Park is a small wooded park tucked up against a creek in Independence. It is a decent spot to find Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Townsend’s Warblers, Brown Creeper, White-breasted Nuthatch and Hutton’s Vireo. Red Crossbills and Pine Siskins have been found visiting the large fir trees in the park. Here is a link to the ebird hotspot for Pioneer Park.

Gentle Woods Park can be a quick stop, sometimes the oaks are very birdy with finches and warblers, other times it seems quiet. Take a walk across the foot bridge and look up and down the water for Green Heron and Belted Kingfishers. White-breasted Nuthatches are often heard in the trees above. Here is a link for the Gentle Woods eBird hotspot.

Other rare birds found within the Monmouth and Independence area include a Brambling in 2006, a Black-billed Magpie in 2002, Bohemian waxwings (near Gentle Woods Park) in 1995, Hooded Oriole in 2014 and a pair of Cattle Egrets in 2004.