Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, La Grande Oregon

April 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Tracy and I went to explore Ladd Marsh in La Grande. We had heard it was abundant with wildlife including sandhill cranes and pronghorn antelope. It is an easy drive from Walla Walla but once there it is a bit overwhelming to navigate without a map. The destination that the GPS navigation puts you to is a hilltop overlooking the marsh. It is one of many public parking areas surrounded by "No Entry" signs. Many of the parking areas are trailheads with no public access. Very odd and frustrating. Once we found a map online that showed the public access area we were able to get out and do some hiking. We saw mostly migratory waterfowl with the occasional marmot and snake. It is still a bit early in the year and I plan to go back to this beautiful area to look for pronghorn antelope and baby coots.

Tule lake trailTrailsThe trails around the Tule Lake public access area are mostly service roads like this which are easy to walk.

The trails around the Tule Lake public access area are mostly service roads like this which are easy to walk.
Ladd marshThe MarshLadd marsh is just over 6,000 acres.

 Ladd marsh is just over 6,000 acres.

cattailsCattailsThe area is lush with plants in a habitat ranging from aquatic marsh to dry shrub steppe.

The area is lush with plants in a habitat ranging from aquatic marsh to dry shrub steppe.

no entryNo entryMost of the year the majority of the wildlife area is closed to public access. Only during hunting season does much of it open. It is best to read the online information to plan where you will go. You will also need a parking pass. Read this page thoroughly for the best experience at the marsh: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/ladd_marsh/index.asp

Most of the year the majority of the wildlife area is closed to public access. Only during hunting season does much of it open. It is best to read the online information to plan where you will go.
 
Read this page thoroughly for the best experience at the marsh:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/ladd_marsh/index.asp

You will also need a parking pass.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/parking.asp

waterfowlWaterfowlA wide variety and abundance of waterfowl is one of the areas highlights. Be wary of the surprise canon-like launch of pheasants as they burst out of the grass just feet from you. It gets the blood flowing!

A wide variety and abundance of waterfowl is one of the areas highlights along with many other bird types. Be wary of the surprise canon-like launch of pheasants as they burst out of the grass just feet from you. It gets the blood flowing!

Nesting great horned owlNesting great horned owlGreat horned owls are opportunistic nesters utilizing abandoned nests and animal burrows.

Great horned owls are opportunistic nesters utilizing abandoned nests and animal burrows. 

sandhill cranesSandhill cranesA flock of sandhill cranes flies past a willow tree with the Wallowa mountains in the background. The cranes nest here and are fond of the marsh and open farmland for feeding.

A flock of sandhill cranes flies past a willow tree with the Wallowa mountains in the background. The cranes nest here and are fond of the marsh and open farmland for feeding.

bird blindBird blindA small birding blind sits at the edge of a marsh obscured by cattails.

A small birding blind sits at the edge of a marsh obscured by cattails. 

sandhill cranesSandhill cranesSandhill cranes fly in a row silhouetted above the Wallowa mountains.

 Sandhill cranes fly in a row silhouetted above the Wallowa mountains.

orange headed blackbirdsOrange headed blackbirdsYellow headed blackbirds were abundant at the marsh. Their songs sounding like robotic machinery buzzing and clicking.

Yellow headed blackbirds were abundant at the marsh. Their songs sounding like robotic machinery buzzing and clicking.

tracyTracyTracy, the vigilant spotter, scans the wildlife area with her binoculars. Without her eyes I would miss many wonderful sightings.

 Tracy, the vigilant spotter, scans the wildlife area with her binoculars. Without her eyes I would miss many wonderful sightings.  

cottonwoodsCottonwoodsA row of cottonwoods acts as a windbreak for neighboring croplands. It is also an important native species for wildlife.

 A row of cottonwoods acts as a windbreak for neighboring croplands. It is also an important native species for wildlife.

redwing blackbirdRedwing blackbirdA redwing blackbird.

 A redwing blackbird.

marmotMarmotA mammal! I do love birds but after a while find myself longing for some diversity. Mammal sightings are strangely much more rare than bird. This marmot was in a cow pasture.

A mammal! I do love birds but after a while find myself longing for some diversity. Mammal sightings are strangely much more rare than bird. This marmot was in a cow pasture.

 

Read this page thoroughly for the best experience at the marsh:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/ladd_marsh/index.asp

You will also need a parking pass.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/parking.asp


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