Bird Count, guided hikes, eagle watching join New Year list of outdoor activities

Winter means bald eagle season in the Gorge, where sights like this are never far away.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Winter means bald eagle season in the Gorge, where sights like this are never far away.

Cold, yet active: that’s the forecast for the end of 2013 and the start of 2014, outdoors in the mid-Columbia Gorge.

Want to get out and about on or around New Year’s? Here are a few ideas for interesting things for people of all ages:

‘Memaloose Eagle Outing’

This benefit for Gorge Community Foundation happens Jan. 1, 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Memaloose Tasting Room, Highway 14, Lyle, Wash.

Visiting eagle expert Tim Pitz will be on hand and there will spotting scopes to look for birds.

In addition, there will be periodic bird walks along the lower Klickitat River and wine tasting and fine cheeses at the winery.

A $10 donation is requested. For details call 360-635-2887.

Annual Audubon Bird Count

Speaking of birds: Dec. 29 and Jan. 1 are the dates of local activities for the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (so-called because takes place on or around Christmas). See details at the end of this story.

Highway Trail Walk:

For the third year in a row, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with America’s State Parks to offer free guided First Day Hikes in state parks across Oregon on Jan. 1, including the Mosier end of the Mark O. Hatfield trail, which links Hood River and Mosier.

The 2-mile hike goes from 10:30 a.m. to noon starting at Mark O. Hatfield East Trailhead on Rock Creek Road in Mosier. This is a paved, flat surface with a 500-foot elevation change.

Take in views of the Columbia River Gorge and learn about its history and geology. Look for eagles, osprey, hawks and deer.

The usual $5 day-use parking fee will be waived on Jan. 1 only.

These same details, along with directions to the park, are available on the Oregon State Parks website; go to bit.ly/FirstDayHikes.

Please note: be prepared for possible icy conditions.

Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring water as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing. In case of inclement weather, the park should be contacted directly to find out about cancellation.

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