Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Othello
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In 2001, we first went over to the Potholes/Columbia NWR area to see the Sandhill Cranes. Despite camping and hiking in the usual rain and wind combos, we’ve gone each year since then to see the cranes migrate through. And each time we manage to have a good time. We started by camping at Potholes State Park back before it became popular or crowded. We’ve since moved on to camping at Upper Goose Lake on the refuge. We enjoy this better hardly any people (sometimes none) and we see (and hear) the Sandhill Cranes flying out to feed in the mornings and returning to the refuge at dusk to roost.
The part of the refuge we camp on is open to hiking. So we often hike around the mesas and open sage. We’ve hiked along the Upper Goose Lake down and around the Lower Goose Lake. Animal paths and trails make hiking fairly easy, and the small dams on the lake are crossable.
Other popular birding spots in the area include the O'Sullivan Dam, Potholes State Park, the "Para Ponds" on Hwy-26 just west of Othello, Dodson Road, the Potholes Reservoir, and Lower Crab Creek.
Green-winged Teal (& Common Teal)
Great Blue Heron
Sandhill Crane (Greater & Lesser/Canadian race)
Great Horned Owl
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Other Critter List
Black Widow Spider
March 2006 & Para Ponds/Lower Crab Creek
March 2010 & Para Ponds/Lower Crab Creek
Located: Othello, WA
Directions: Off of I-90 (where the freeway crosses the Columbia River) take hwy-26 east to Royal City/Othello, go north on to hwy-262 (toward Potholes State Park), follow hwy-262 across the O'Sullivan Dam to the north entrance of Columbia NWR or turn east onto McManamon Road to enter the refuge from the south.
Columbia National Wildlife Refuge