Interesting Stuff

Great Birding As Water Flows Rise


The past weekend offered some great birdwatching opportunities, thanks to sunshine and high water.

The white pelicans are flocking to the water below C.J. Strike Dam on the Snake River south of Mountain Home as seen in this David R. Frazier image. A good pair of binoculars provides a great chance to watch the “C-130 of the bird world” soaring, swimming and diving for dinner in the turbulent water below the dam.

Other spots where we have seen plenty of bird activity recently include the Snake River Canyon at Swan Falls where not only birds of prey haunt the cliffs, but waterfowl abound on the river. We spotted several varieties of ducks. In the past Orchard orioles (orange color) have been spotted in the canyon.

Along Highway 52 east of Payette en route to Emmett the Payette River has breached its banks in several spots providing feeding and resting areas for swans and other waterfowl.

The Fort Boise wildlife management area near Parma has water on some roads and is not open in certain areas. There are ponds full of migrating birds in the area.
In the Boise area, Albertson Park, the various ponds, and the wetlands along the river near Harris Ranch also provide bird watching venues.

Recently we noted what appeared to be flocks of “blackbirds” which are actually great mixes of red wing, yellow headed, starlings, cowbirds, and common blackbirds.

Comments & Discussion

5 comments for “Great Birding As Water Flows Rise”

  1. Kent Goldthorpe
    Apr 3, 2017, 6:16 am

    Dave, if I wasn’t so keenly aware of the tremendous flooding problems that would occur with the “pit capture” over at the SunRoc near Eagle I’d probably take more pleasure in this Bird watching phenomenon as well. The Boise River will find an entirely different channel for quite a ways if this out capture happens. In that case another of Mother Nature’s incredible wonders will occur, just not a pretty one like these birds. Post some pictures of these creatures in July. That’s when we can breathe easier with this dark cloud of flooding hanging over the valley.

  2. Kent.. can you elaborate? I am very interested in that operation, but can’t find any good information on it.

  3. Dave Kangas
    Apr 3, 2017, 10:16 am

    There is great wildlife viewing along the Boise river from a distance. The river bottom flooding has pushed our resident turkeys, deer, raccoons,skunks and foxes to name few. The local waterfowl including a few pelicans are enjoying the ponds too.
    Now Kent’s comment has me wondering… What don’t we know about the Sun Rock gravel pit?

    EDITOR NOTE–The pits are in danger of being washed out by the river flow, creating one giant lake. They are dumping rock along the riverside of the pits. Really hard to control the massive amounts of water. There is a “hydraulic effect” which dislodges ever bigger rocks which fill pools, creating more flow downstream. Caldwell already has minor flooding along I-84 at a trailer park.

  4. Clancy Anderson
    Apr 3, 2017, 11:11 am

    Pit Capture- Here is a nice video explaining it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDqpbwR_lLY

    Those pelicans are currently being manage for population control as they can harm fisheries. IDFG came out with a management plan last year that will reduce the population of them by half.

    EDITOR NOTE– Clancy, I saw a press release from F&G last year and it used every word and phrase except, KILL PELICANS. Things like, manage, control, reduce depredation, population reduction. I always wondered if pelican tastes like spotted owl or eagle.

  5. Flooding is a lot like fires.
    Everyone thinks of it as a bad thing…
    but it’s just another part of nature.

    pretty birds in nature = good.
    springs runoff in nature = bad.
    fire regenerating life = bad

    Im sure it’s all good including flooding out the people living too close to the river.
    Unfortunately, everyone else also has to pay indirectly for those homeowners.

    EDITOR NOTE–Sorta like the F-35…”You knew there was an airport (river) nearby when you bought the place!”

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