Willow Creek Reservoir is on the SE corner of Heppner. Travel south from Heppner on Hwy 207 and just as you are leaving town, look for Willow Creek Road. Turn left (east) and follow this road to the reservoir. Continue on Willow Creek Road and bird the riparian strip here. Eventually, you can reach the Umatilla National Forest on this road and access mountain birds (also called the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway or Forest Road 53).Directions
Habitat and Birds
Riparian and dry canyon. Eventually accessing mixed conifers. Because of the diverse habitats along this road, the potential to see many species. This area is not heavily birded but certainly a mixture of sparrows is likely with Grasshopper Sparrow a possibility. Ducks can be found in the stream and geese can be in the farm fields. A flooded field might host waders like White-faced Ibis and Long-billed Curlew with a chance for Wilson’s Snipe or Long-billed Dowitcher. Check the trees around the farm houses for Red-tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls. Both Chukar and Gray Partridge are possible here. If you can find patches of juniper, listen for Gray Flycatchers. Both Canyon and Rock Wren roam the rocky slopes and both Loggerhead and Northern Shrikes are present depending on the season. Watch for Mountain Bluebirds and Horned Larks. Migrating passerines may use the creek as a highway to and from their eventual destination. When you get to the forest, look for the normal forest species.