Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey
Visitor Guide to Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) in Idaho. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
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Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area VISITOR GUIDE Access Map Cole Road Exit 44 Cloverdale Road 7 miles Meridian Road Nampa Go wa nR oa d Hollilynn Dr. World Center for Birds of Prey NCA Boundary Melba Baseline Rd. Hill Road CanAda Rd. Melba Rd. McDermott Rd. Rd er nk Si Initial Point North ACCESS MAP to the western portion Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area Rd. . Warren Spur Swan Falls Road Nicholson Rd. 78 Kuna-Mora Rd. Poen Rd. Dickman Rd. Ferry Rd Kuna Rd. Kuna Cave Rd. Melmont Road Walter's Ferry Boat Ramp Cole Road Kuna Visitor Center Robinson Road Southside Boulevard 45 Kuna 3 miles 12th Avenue Road Ten Mile Creek Rd. Kuna Road Pleasant Valley Road I-84 Broadway Ave Boise Meridian Victory Lane Victory Lane access routes Celebration Park Guffey Butte sin R d. Dedication Point gravel/dirt road Ba NCA Boundary She a n Co Swan Falls Dam There are no services in the NCA but its surrounding towns such as Kuna are a good place to purchase gasoline and supplies. I-84 Exit 44 to Kuna—8 miles Kuna to Dedication Point—16 miles Kuna to Swan Falls Dam—21 miles Kuna to Celebration Park—20 miles Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area VISITOR GUIDE Access Map (opposite page) Table of Contents Overview Map Welcome..................................................................................................... 1 Morley Nelson............................................................................................ 2 A Place Like No Other............................................................................... 5 Observing Raptors...................................................................................... 7 Raptor Season Charts..................................................................................8 Frequently-Observed Raptors..................................................................... 10 If you find an injured raptor........................................................................ 14 The Peregrine Fund..................................................................................... 16 East NCA Map........................................................................................... 18 Watchable Wildlife Sites............................................................................ 20 Recreation Opportunities............................................................................ 24 Driving Loop Tour...................................................................................... 28 Wildland Fire.............................................................................................. 34 Regulations and Safety................................................................................ 35 Information................................................................................................. 36 Cover: Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) / ©Rob Palmer Above: Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) / ©John Tobin Ple asa nt Val ley Roa d e Walter’s Ferry Celebration Park is MELBA Bo MARSING to Swa n Fal ls Roa d KUNA Initial Point National Guard Orchard Training Area Dedication Point Swan Falls Dam MURPHY A R T I L L E RY I M PA C T A R E Halverson Bar Sn NO PUBLIC ak e ACCESS Ri ve r NORTH MAP SCALE 0 3 6 miles LOCATION MAP Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Idaho National Conservation Area in the BLM Boise District, Idaho Ted Trueblood Wildlife Area GRANDVIEW Interstate Highway Major Road River LAND STATUS BLM ORCHARD NCA Boundary Military Private State Idaho Power Company Idaho National Guard Training Range Restricted Access C OVERVIEW MAP EA Point of Interest Simco Road Y MAP LEGEND MOUNTAIN HOME Mountain Home Air Force Base Snake W River HAMMETT BRUNEAU B ru ne au Cove Recreation Site on C.J. Strike Reservoir Riv Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park er Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) Photo: ©Rob Palmer Welcome Crags and crevices, the deep canyon of the Snake River, thermal updrafts, and a broad plateau rich in small wildlife provide habitat for the greatest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America – and perhaps, the world. The Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) was established by Congress in 1993 to recognize and perpetuate the area’s wildlife values. In March 2009, the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act was signed into law. Among other things, this law recognized Morley Nelson as a long-time advocate for birds of prey and the NCA by adding his name to the area’s name. It is now the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. The NCA is managed by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM’s mission is to preserve this remarkable wildlife habitat while providing for other compatible uses of the land. Our aim is to manage the area so that birds of prey flourish here, as they have for thousands of years, and that future generations of people will be able to experience and enjoy this special place. 1 Photo: Echo Films Morlan “Morley” Nelson, 1916-2005 Morley Nelson was a national authority on birds of prey—an advocate for raptors and their importance in a healthy ecosystem. Though Morley was a soil scientist by training, he had a life-long passion for raptors which started in childhood when he saw a falcon strike down a duck. He settled in Boise in the late 1940s and soon recognized the importance of the Snake River canyon south of Boise as a sanctuary for birds of prey. 2 In the 1950s Morley began to document birds of prey and the Snake River canyon on film. He worked on numerous films with Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, Public Broadcasting Service, and other networks. In the 1980s and 1990s he participated in many documentaries and videos featuring his birds. Through these efforts he influenced public opinion about birds of prey away from seeing these birds as vicious predators to seeing these magnificent soaring birds as having a special role in the environment. Morley was instrumental in the establishment of the Snake River Birds of Prey Natural Area in 1971 by convincing Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton to give special protection to the area of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Extensive research of raptors and their use of the area followed. This research identified the critical relationship between the canyon nesting habitat and the prey habitat on the plateau. As a result, in 1980 Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus created a larger Snake River Birds of Prey Area. In 1993, U.S. Representative Larry LaRocco led the effort in Congress to make the area a National Conservation Area. On the Board of Directors of The Peregrine Fund from 1981 to 2005, Morley worked with state and local governments, federal and state agencies, Boise State University, and Boise-based corporations and local citizens to find a location for the World Center Birds of Prey facility and provided assistance to bring The Peregrine Fund to Boise. 3 Morley is also known for his pioneering work on power pole modifications to save raptors from electrocution. He worked with the Idaho Power Company and Edison Electric Institute to study how raptors use power lines. Using mock power poles, he tested structure designs, identified conductor separations needed to safely accommodate eagles and other perching raptors, and proposed modification to existing poles to prevent bird electrocution. He also designed nesting platforms that attach to large transmission lines which have helped to expand the nesting areas of raptors. His power line corrections and nesting platform designs are still in use today, worldwide. Throughout his life, Morley rehabilitated injured raptors brought to him, including many exotic species. His home in the foothills of Boise was wellknown as a place to see and learn about all sorts of birds of prey and he would talk for hours about his passion to anyone who showed interest. Morley Nelson passed away in February 2005. In recognition of his work on behalf of raptors and the NCA, his name was added to the area’s name in 2009. It is now the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. 4 A Place Like No Other The NCA encompasses approximately 484,000 acres of public land along 81 miles of the Snake River in southwest Idaho. The river lies within a deep canyon that is surrounded by a vast plateau. Cliffs towering up to 700 feet above the river provide countless ledges, cracks, and crevices for nesting birds of prey, also known as raptors. These magnificent birds launch from their cliffside aeries to soar and hunt on warm air currents rising from the canyon floor. At first glance, the surrounding plateau looks unremarkable, but it holds the key that makes this area so valuable for birds of prey. Over the past 10,000 years, desert winds have deposited a deep layer of finely textured soil on the north side of the Snake River Canyon. This soil and the plants that grow in it support large populations of ground squirrels and jackrabbits that supply the main food source for birds of prey. Ferruginous Hawks ( Buteo regalis) juveniles on nest. Photo: Larry Ridenhour 5 The combination of ideal nesting habitat in the Snake River Canyon and extraordinarily productive prey habitat on the adjacent plateau make this a place like no other for birds of prey. The area is actually a giant natural raptor nursery. Sixteen species nest here each spring. Eight other raptor species use the area during migrations and in the winter. The NCA is especially important for prairie falcons. Around 200 pairs nest here and they are an important part of the species’ known population. Nesting success for prairie falcons is closely linked to the abundance of Piute ground squirrels, while nesting success for other raptors, especially golden eagles, is tied to the population cycles of black-tailed jackrabbits. Migrating Raptors Nesting Raptors • Bald eagle • Golden eagle • Cooper’s hawk • American kestrel • • • • • • Sharp-shinned hawk Northern goshawk Peregrine falcon Merlin Gyrfalcon Rough-legged hawk • • • • • • • • • • • • • 6 • Prairie falcon Red-tailed hawk Ferruginous hawk Swainson’s hawk Northern harrier Osprey Turkey vulture Barn owl Great horned owl Western screech owl Burrowing owl Long-eared owl Short-eared owl Northern saw-whet owl Observing Raptors This is nature in the rough. The birds in the NCA are not on display. They follow the rhythms of nature and not the desires of people who come to see them. Your chance of seeing wildlife will improve if you follow these tips: • Bring a good pair of binoculars. Field guides or spotting scopes are also helpful. • Viewing tends to be best in mid-March, May and June in the early morning and evening hours when raptors are actively hunting. • During April, viewing opportunities decrease as raptors spend more time sitting on nests incubating their eggs. • By July, the canyon temperatures are fiercely hot, and many raptors seek shelter to escape the heat, while others migrate out of the area. • Look for raptors sitting on fence posts, telephone poles/wires, power poles, and rock outcrops. Anything that gives them a higher vantage point for hunting. Also look up in the sky for soaring birds. On rare occasions you may spot a raptor standing on the ground. • Wildlife are wary of humans. Patience is a wildlife watcher’s best virtue. • When an animal changes behavior as a result of your presence, you are too close. Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) Photo: ©Rob Palmer 7 Breeding Raptor Seasons Can be seen in the NCA year-round Migrating American Kestrel Migrating National Conservation Area Can be seen in the NCA year-round National Conservation Area National Conservation Area Can be seen in the NCA year-round National Conservation Area Southwest U.S. Central and South America Small number in the NCA through the winter Migrating Migrating Argentina Southwest U.S. and Mexico Migrating Migrating National Conservation Area Southwest U.S. and Mexico Migrating Migrating Moves to Higher Elevation Prairies Can be seen in the NCA year-round National Conservation Area Can be seen in the NCA year-round Migrating Golden Eagle Ferruginous Small number in NCA through the winter Hawk Central & South America Migrating Northern Harrier Osprey Migrating Migrating National Conservation Area Migrating SW U.S. & Mexico SW U.S. & Mexico Argentina Prairie Falcon Red-tailed Hawk Swainson's Hawk Turkey Vulture Barn Owl Burrowing Owl Can be seen in the NCA year-round AUG. Great Horned Owl Higher Elevations 8 Migrating DEC. Currently Unknown - Possibly Southwest U.S. (Arizona) NOV. Migrating OCT. National Conservation Area APR. Long-eared Owl MAR. National Conservation Area FEB. Northern Sawhet Owl Migrating SEPT. Can be seen in the NCA year-round JUL. Can be seen in the NCA year-round JUN. Short-eared Owl MAY Western Screech Owl Species JAN. not in the NCA in the NCA Migrating Raptors Seasons not in the NCA in the NCA Species MAR. Northern Goshawk Merlin Gyrfalcon Cooper's Hawk National Conservation Area National Conservation Area Possibly in National Conservation Area National Conservation Area Migrating Migrating Migrating National Conservation Area National Conservation Area Migrating Sharpshinned Hawk Roughlegged Hawk Southwest U.S. & Northern Mexico National Conservation Area FEB. Peregrine Falcon Bald Eagle JAN. MAY Migrating JUL. AUG. Higher elevation areas in Idaho Higher elevations in Idaho OCT. Possibly in National Conservation Area National Conservation Area National Conservation Area Southwest U.S. & Northern Mexico National Conservation Area Migrating National Conservation Area DEC. National Conservation Area Migrating NOV. Migrating Migrating Migrating Migrating Migrating Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska Higher elevation plains Central Idaho Mountains/Forests Canada and Alaska Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska Migrating SEPT. Central and Northern Idaho & other regions further north JUN. Historically used the National Conservation Area Migrating APR. 9 Frequently-Observed Raptors American kestrel Falco sparverius Wing span: 20-24 inches Length: 8-11 inches Weight: 3.4 to 5.3 ounces Smallest falcon in North America. Slightly larger than a robin. Female: reddish brown wings, reddish brown striped tail. Behavior: perches on phone wires or “hovers” over fields with rapid wing beats. Male: blue-gray wings, thick black stripe on end of reddish tail Seen in the NCA: Year-round Both: two mustache marks Ferruginous hawk Buteo regalis Wing span: 48-60 inches Length: 21-27 inches Weight: 2-4.5 pounds Largest hawk in North America. Behavior: Slow wing beats. Soars and circles with uptilted wings. Seen in the NCA: April through July. White body. Long, broad wings Underside of wings—white with reddish patches. Dark legs form a “V” again white belly. Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos Wing span: 72-85 inches Length: 30-40 inches Weight: 7-13 pounds Largest raptor in the NCA Dark brown wings and body Broad wings Behavior: Usually soars for long periods without flapping wings. Seen in the NCA: Year-round. 10 Large rounded tail White patches toward the end of the wings and near the base of the tail on immature golden eagles Northern harrier Circus cyaneus Wing span: 41-50 inches Length: 17-21 inches Weight: 0.8-1.1 pounds Female: light belly, streaked breast, brown head and back. One of the most easily recognized raptors. Male: white underneath with black wing tips, grey head and back Behavior: Usually flies low over fields with an undulating flight. Seen in the NCA: Year-round. Both: white strip (rump patch) on upper tail. Prairie falcon Falco mexicanus Wing span: 37-43 inches Length: 15-18 inches Weight: 1-2 pounds Light brown/tan wings and body. Dark brown feathers in “arm pits” Medium sized falcon found only in North America. Faint mustache Behavior: rapid wing beats Lightly streaked breast Seen in the NCA: February through late July. Long-pointed wings Red-tailed hawk Buteo jamaicensis Wing span: 42-56 inches Length: 17-25 inches Weight: 1.5-3.3 pounds Light underside with dark belly band; body color varies from deep chocolate brown to reddish The most common and widespread hawk in North America. Broad wings Behavior: Usually soars for long periods without flapping wings. Adults have red tails with many dark bars. Seen in the NCA: Year-round. 11 Rough-legged hawk Buteo lagopus Wing span: 48-56 inches Length: 18-23 inches Weight: 1.5-3 pounds Winter bird only; spring/summer spent in arctic regions. Behavior: Commonly hovers like a kestrel when hunting. Seen in the NCA: November through April Light head and breast with dark belly band. Dark patches at “wrists.” White tail with a broad, black terminal band. Legs completely feathered to the toes. Swainson’s hawk Buteo swainsoni Wing span: 48-54 inches Length: 17-22 inches Weight: 1.5-2.5 pounds Spring/summer bird only; winter spent in Argentina Behavior: Most gregarious of North American raptors. Seen in the NCA: April through September Light colored body with dark “bib Leading edge of wing underside is pale, trailing edge is dark. Tail underside is light with dark barred pattern. Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Wing span: 67-72 inches Length: 26-28 inches Weight: 3.5-5 pounds Slightly smaller than a golden eagle. Featherless red head Behavior: Soars with wings in a v-shape, rocking/teetering from side to side. Wings have black leading edge and light trailing end, giving a two-toned effect to the underwing. Seen in the NCA: March through August Long tail with rounded end. 12 Burrowing owl Athene cunicularia Wing span: 20-24 inches Length: 7.5-11 inches Weight: 4.5-9 ounces Small owl that lacks ear tufts; has long legs and relatively narrow wings. This owl nests and roosts in abandoned animal burrows. Upperparts are spotted brown and buffy. Behavior: Only small owl likely to be seen in the open in daylight. Underparts - buffy white with darker barring. Seen in the NCA: March through August. Tail - short with buffy white bands. Great horned owl Bubo virginianus Wing span: 36-60 inches Length: 18-25 inches Weight: 3-5 pounds The only large/heavy owl with ear tufts in North America. Behavior: Primarily hunts at dusk and during the night. Seen in the NCA: Year-round. Barn owl Tyto alba Wing span: 42-47 inches Length: 12.5-20 inches Weight: 11-22 ounces North America’s only member of the owl family Tytonidae. Behavior: Although highly nocturnal, can be observed hunting in daylight. Large owl with ear tufts. Varies in overall color but markings fairly constant. Upperparts - dark mottling with dark bars on wings and tail. Underparts - thin brown bars on whitish base. Bold white throat patch. Pale tawny and white plumage Heart-shaped facial disk Large head lacks ear tufts. Upperparts - gold to buff, with white to black. Underparts - white with spotting. Seen in the NCA: Year-round. 13 If You Find an Injured Raptor For raptor rehabilitation in southwest Idaho, contact the Idaho Fish & Game Department’s Southwest Region office in Nampa at 208-465-8465; Cathie Havlina at Treasure Valley Raptor Rescue, 208-336-1218; or Monte Tish, 208-463-8819. Veterinarians that treat raptors include Treasure Valley Veterinary Hospital in Meridian at 208-888-4844 and Idaho Veterinary Hospital in Nampa at 208466-4614. Tips For Handling Injured Raptors: • A blanket, towel, jacket or any other lightweight material that is large enough to cover the entire bird is needed. This will reduce visual stimulation of the bird. • Wear gloves if available. A raptor’s feet and talons are its means of defense. • Approach the bird from the rear. If the bird is alert and can follow your movements, anticipate that it will struggle when first covered. • Carefully place the blanket, towel or jacket over the bird. Make sure it is covered completely. Gently fold the bird’s wings into it body with your hands. • Gently but firmly lift the bird into a transport container—either a plastic pet kennel or sturdy cardboard box with the top closed. Avoid bird or wire cages as these can cause feather and soft tissue damage. The carrier should have plenty of ventilation holes and be just large enough to allow the bird some movement, but not so large as to allow the bird to thrash around inside. 14 • Never feed an injured raptor unless you have been instructed to do so by a licensed rehabilitator. Attempting to feed a raptor or give it water orally may worsen its condition. • Handle an injured raptor as little as possible. Stress resulting from human contact can reduce a bird’s chance of recovery. • Until the bird can be transferred, provide it with a dark, quiet, calm, warm environment. Extra care should be taken to keep the bird away from children and pets. Abandoned Chick? • Be certain the baby raptor is truly orphaned. Often young birds are out of the nest before they can fly and are being cared for by parents that are nearby but possibly not visible. • If on the ground, and injured, place in a container and call one of the local rehabilitators. If not injured, make sure you know what species it is. There are several species in the NCA that nest in or on the ground and it is normal for the young to be found on the ground (burrowing owl, northern harrier, short-eared owl). If it is not a ground nester, place it back as close to its nest as possible, or on a branch. If the bird is unable to perch yet, place it in a container (small box or strawberry carton) attached to the tree. 15 The Peregrine Fund and the World Center for Birds of Prey The World Center for Birds of Prey is the headquarters of The Peregrine Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to raptor conservation. The facility is located just south of Boise on 580 acres with a spectacular view of the Treasure Valley. The Velma Morrison Interpretive Center at the World Center offers a unique opportunity to learn about birds of prey. The Interpretive Center has multimedia exhibits and interactive displays. Visitors can see live bird presentations and learn how The Peregrine Fund breeds endangered raptors in captivity and reintroduces them into their native regions. The facility is also home to the Archives of Falconry and tours are available daily. 16 Raptor education at the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center Photo: The Peregrine Fund Summer hours: March – October Open daily 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Winter Hours: November – February Open Tuesdays - Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Holidays: Closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. To reach the World Center, take Exit 50 south off Interstate 84, and follow signs to South Cole Road. Continue south on Cole Road for about 6 miles. Turn right onto Flying Hawk Lane and follow this road up the hill to the World Center. A visit to the World Center makes an excellent addition to the driving tour of the NCA. Allow one to two hours to tour the World Center and about 30 minutes to drive to Kuna from Boise. The Access Map shows a scenic route to Kuna through farmlands on paved county roads. Raptors, particularly kestrels, are often seen perched on power poles along the way. 17 Sn ak e Ri ARTILLERY v er IMPACT AREA NO PUBLIC ACCESS National Gu Snake Riv Orchard Trainin er NORTH Ted Trueblood Wildlife Area EAST NCA MAP Road access to the eastern portion of the NCA is from the towns of Mountain Home, Grand View, and Bruneau. Several improved campgrounds, picnic areas, and boat launches are in the area around C.J. Strike Reservoir, including BLM’s Cove Recreation Site, a fee campground. MAP LEGEND Point of Interest Grandview Interstate Highway Major Road River LAND STATUS BLM NCA Boundary Military Private State Idaho Power Co. (IPC) Idaho National Guard Training Range Restricted Access MAP SCALE 0 1 2 3 4 mi. Mountain Home uard Simco Road ng Area Mountain Home Re s. C.J .St ri ke Air Force Base C Black Sands (private) .J .S tri Cove Rec. Site (BLM) ke Res. Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park Cottonwood Park (IPC) Jacks Creek Sportsman’s Access (IPC) B ne North Park (IPC) Bruneau ru Locust and Scout Parks (IPC) Ri Snake ve r au Ri ve r Watchable Wildlife Sites More than a gathering spot for raptors; the NCA hosts one of the nation’s largest concentrations of badgers, and is one of the few places in Idaho to see black-throated sparrows. Approximately 360 wildlife species inhabit the area, including 55 mammal, 250 bird, 7 amphibian, 18 reptile and 27 fish species. The large variety of species prompted the entire NCA to be designated as a Watchable Wildlife area. Although Dedication Point and the Snake River Canyon are the most popular areas for viewing wildlife, there are three additional recognized Watchable Wildlife sites within the NCA: the Ted Trueblood Wildlife Area, C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area, and Bruneau Dunes State Park. The NCA/Celebration Park and C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area are also sites designated as Blue Ribbon sites on The Idaho Birding Trail (IBT), a network of sites that provides the best opportunities to view birds in Idaho. Blue Ribbon sites are “the best of the best” bird viewing opportunities in Idaho. These areas are also identified as Important Bird Areas—sites that provide essential nesting, migration, or wintering habitat for birds. Dedication Point Look for side-blotched, western fence, and sagebrush lizards, gopher snakes, scorpions, ground squirrels, cottontail and black-tailed jackrabbits in the sagebrush, winterfat and cheatgrass habitat surrounding Dedication Point. From the canyon rim overlook, 400 feet above the Snake River, watch for seasonal raptors, canyon and rock wrens, Say’s phoebe, cliff swallows, white-throated swifts, common ravens and rock doves. Sage, Lark, and Brewer’s sparrows and western meadowlarks can also be seen in the shrubs along the trail. Facilities include graveled vehicle parking, two pit toilets, interpretive signs, a covered cabana for education programs, and a short gravel trail that leads to the overlook. 20 Ted Trueblood Wildlife Area Called the “duck ponds” for many years, this area covers nearly 320 acres of public land in which three ponds were constructed in 1969. In 1987, the area was named in memory of Ted Trueblood, an avid hunter, conservationist, public land advocate and renowned outdoor writer who made his home in Idaho. Summer visitors might see American white pelicans, white-faced ibis, cinnamon teal, black-necked stilts, American avocets, Caspian terns, yellow-breasted chats and lazuli buntings. Winter visitors might see bald eagles, trumpeter swans and rough-legged hawks. Spring visitors might see migrating osprey, marbled godwits, Franklin’s and Bonaparte’s gulls, black terns, Lewis’ woodpeckers, solitary vireos, Nashville warblers, western tanagers, black-headed grosbeaks and green-tailed towhees. All three ponds are located west of Highway 67 just north of Grand View, Idaho. Ponds 1 and 2 are accessible from a parking area one mile north of the Grand View Bridge over the Snake River. Pond 3 can be reached from Shaw Lane, another half mile north from the parking area. Part of the area is closed to foot traffic during the waterfowl breeding season. Closure dates are posted. 21 C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area The C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area encompasses more than 18,500 acres of C.J. Strike Reservoir, adjacent marshes, ponds and wildlife food plots, extending 26 miles up the Snake River and 12 miles up the Bruneau River, between the towns of Grand View and Bruneau, Idaho. The land is owned by Idaho Power Company, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Bureau of Land Management. Because the management emphasis for the area focuses on waterfowl and upland game bird production, much of the area is closed to the public from February 1 through July 31. There are many access points around the reservoir, but the best birding site is the Jacks Creek Sportsman’s Access. As you enter the access road you pass through private land for the first quarter mile. As you approach the reservoir, waterfowl, coots, and rails may be seen in the cover to the west. Look for Clark’s and western grebes from spring to late summer on the reservoir. During the winter, large rafts of waterfowl rest on the “Bruneau Arm” of the reservoir during the waterfowl season. This concentration of waterfowl attracts bald and golden eagles who feed on dead and injured ducks and geese. At approximately one mile, a road to the right leads to a Russian olive woodland, which is a gathering place for wintering songbirds and raptors. Northern shrikes, rough-legged hawks, northern goshawks, sharp-shinned hawks, and Cooper’s hawks are frequently seen in or near this woodland. The end of the road is a good spot to view birds all year, with a good view of the Bruneau River Delta. A spotting scope is helpful but not necessary to see the birds. During spring and summer, American white pelicans, doublebreasted cormorants, California and ring-billed gulls, Foster’s and Caspian terns, great blue herons, egrets, American avocets and black-necked stilts can be seen here. During spring migration, Franklin’s, Sabine’s and Bonaparte’s gulls and black terns sometimes gather here. White-tailed and mule deer are commonly seen in this area at dawn and dusk. 22 Bruneau Dunes State Park Known primarily for having the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America, this park also provides a great place to watch an assortment of wildlife species. Park habitat includes a mix of sagebrush desert and grassland flats with two shallow, marshy lakes lined with riparian vegetation. Most duck species traveling through Idaho can be seen here, and many stay the winter, with bald eagles as neighbors. Water birds such as tundra swans, Canada geese, dabbling and diving ducks and great blue herons can be seen around the ponds just north of the park. Also look for American avocets, long-billed curlews, red-necked and Wilson’s phalaropes, western and least sandpipers, black-necked stilts and killdeer. Although many types of mammals, reptiles and amphibians call the park home, evidence of their presence lies only in the tracks found in the sand. In the early morning and evening, look for coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, Ord’s kangaroo rats, short-horned and western whiptail lizards and gopher snakes. Park facilities include a visitor center, vehicle parking, hiking trails, picnic site and campground. 23 Recreation Opportunities While the BLM’s mission is to maintain the remarkable wildlife habitat within the NCA, recreation activities, such as camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching, horseback riding and sightseeing, which are compatible with this mission, can occur. Camping in Developed Areas Cove Recreation Site, on C.J. Strike Reservoir, is BLM’s only improved public camping facility within the NCA. Facilities at this fee site include potable water, picnic shelters, fire rings, picnic tables, fishing docks, RV dump station, and a boat ramp. This campground does not take reservations; it is a first come-first served campground. On the south side of the reservoir and west of Cove Recreation Site, the privately-operated Black Sands Resort offers campsites with full hookups, restaurant/bar and boat launch. Idaho Power Company manages four campgrounds around the reservoir (North Park, Scout Park, Locust Park, and Cottonwood Campground). Camping in Undeveloped Areas Primitive camping is allowed throughout the NCA. Avoid areas where birds are nesting and observe these low-impact camping practic