U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Deer Flat
National Wildlife Refuge


Smartweed along the edge of Lake Lowell
13751 Upper Embankment Rd
Nampa, ID   83686 - 8046
E-mail: deerflat@fws.gov
Phone Number: 208-467-9278
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/deerflat
Smartweed along the edge of Lake Lowell
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
Continued . . .

View a variety of upland, riparian, and lake wildlife from the Visitor Center observation room. In recent years, nesting osprey have been visible in spring and summer on the nest platform visible from the observation room. In winter, large numbers of bald eagles can often be seen from the observation room.

With over 250 bird species and 30 mammal species on the refuge, the patient observer or photographer has many excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. A bird list can be downloaded at bird list

If you prefer a walking tour, visit the 1/2-mile, self-guided Nature Trail at the Visitor Center. Visitors interested in a longer hike can follow several miles of internal refuge roads beginning at the Visitor Center or at Gotts Point.

For a driving tour, take the 29.5-mile Lake Lowell Sector Bird Tour or the 47-mile Snake River Islands Sector Bird Tour. Both tours start and end at the east end of the Upper Dam.

Spectacular concentrations of waterfowl occur on the Lake Lowell sector during peak migration. Large numbers of birds begin to move into the area in September. Resident flocks of ducks and up to 6,000 Canada geese are usually on Lake Lowell by the second week of October. By mid-November, the goose population peaks at up to 15,000 birds. Duck populations peak in mid-December, with up to 150,000 on Lake Lowell. Mallards predominate, but small numbers of pintail, American wigeon, green-winged teal, wood duck, common merganser, and northern shoveler are also present.

The winter concentrations of waterfowl attract bald eagles, which move in to the area to feed on weak and injured birds. Other raptors found during the fall and winter include the red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, American kestrel, goshawk, Cooper's hawk, golden eagle, sharp-shinned hawk, rough-legged hawk, prairie falcon, great horned owl, and peregrine falcon.

Spring and summer nesting marsh and water birds include western grebe, great blue heron, and black-crowned night heron. During this time, double-crested cormorants, white pelicans, ring-billed gulls, Caspian terns, and California gulls are also commonly seen.

The fluctuating water levels of Lake Lowell attract an array of shorebirds. As mudflats are exposed in late summer, species such as dowitchers, sandpipers, godwits, yellowlegs, and plovers may be present.

Resident wildlife include ring-necked pheasant, California quail, mule deer, black-billed magpies, and coyotes. As with all wildlife on the refuge, good observation skills are required to view the animals. Indications that an animal is present may only be by the signs that it leaves.

The islands in the Snake River sector are closed to all public entry from February 1 through May 31. Bank fishing is allowed at all other State's seasons.

The Snake River sector is an important nesting area for Canada geese. A variety of ducks, as well as herons and gulls, nest on the islands. In the winter, goldeneye, scaup, merganser, bufflehead, wood duck, green-winged teal, and a large number of mallards are found in the area.

Other birds commonly seen on the Snake River islands include American avocet, marbled godwit, spotted sandpiper, California quail, and ring-necked pheasant. Hawks and owls are also common. Mammals found on the islands include muskrat, beaver, raccoon, mule deer, cottontail rabbits, and coyote.

Horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed on maintained roads and trails during daylight hours in the North Side, East Side, and South Side Recreation Areas.

All pets must be on a leash.


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