Sandy River Delta Excursion


It looks like winter, doesn’t it?

On February 28, I made the trek out past Troutdale to the park at the Sandy River Delta. I see the park every time I drive to the Columbia River Gorge, and I’ve always thought it looked pretty, but there were often lots of dogs running about.

I finally decided it was time to go there. I occasionally browse the birding hotspots around Portland on eBird. The Sandy River Delta showed some goldeneyes, which I have not really seen up close yet. So, that was the impetus for this trip!


A nice split-rail fence marks the boundary of the park. Mt. Hood peeks out in the background.

As expected, it was crowded with lots of dogs. For me, this ruins the experience of a park. I’m there for the wildlife, and the dogs scare away the wildlife. The serenity is broken by wildly galloping canines, tongues extended, and bladders/bowels constantly emptying. I think I understand why people bring their dogs. It’s an easy way to feel cheerful, watching the dog be excited and happy and do silly things. Unfortunately, this collides with the motivation of visiting a natural area for peace and reflection. Thus, I would conclude for myself that the Sandy River Delta is only worth it to go to if there’s a really amazing bird sighting.

DSC_1468All that being said, it’s a beautiful park. The amount of deciduous trees makes the area reminiscent of Michigan forests or parks along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico (at least, that’s what it reminded me of). I didn’t spot many birds, maybe it was the time of day or the amount of dogs, I’m not sure. I was a bit disappointed!


Interestingly, the “bird blind” marked on the map turned out to be the structure pictured below.


I was surprised to see this structure. I had seen it on Oregon Field Guide, and had forgotten it was at this park!

Well, this turned out to be a horrible bird blind in terms of function. Seeing between the slats was difficult. It’s a pretty building, but I think it should be called public art, not a bird blind!


“Goldeye” is Goldeneye? That’s who I came for!

The wooden slats had Lewis and Clark’s sightings of wildlife listed. I have yet to be excited about Lewis and Clark history. I am very interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history, but I’m interested in all of it. There seems to be an inordinate amount of attention paid to these two fellows, and I’m just not on that bandwagon. However, I still took a couple pictures of this art commemorating their observations.


The “porkipine” and the “bighorned anamal” are some of my favorites.


These names were the ones Lewis and Clark gave to the animals. Elsewhere on the wooden slats were the scientific names and common names (as well as other information).


Well, it was time to move on. Next, a bald eagle was spotted! It was exciting to see him so close and on the ground. DSC_1477

I saw some ducks, but they were hard to see. By that time, it had been about a mile and a half walk from the parking lot to confluence of the Sandy and the Columbia, and I was tired of seeing dogs!


The views from the confluence were pretty. Overall, it is a delightful park, with lots of walking options. If you’re looking for a serene and restorative walk, though, I would suggest somewhere else!


Despite the disturbances from the dogs, I quite enjoyed the day. It was clear, sunny, windy, and cool. It’s great to live in Portland, with such beautiful natural areas so nearby. Even if it means everyone else uses it, too.


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