Highway 99W Pond
While it is located off the boundaries of the National Wildlife Refuge, there is a seasonal flooded field pond located just northwest of the intersection of Coville Road and Highway 99W. This pond frequently has some sort of bird life in it during the winter. Usually what is found isn't extremely unusual, but it is always worth a look just to check.
Normally what is here is a group of Pintail and Shovelers. However, from time to time it isn't unknown to find the occasional Great Egret or other less common visitor.
The pond is usually completely gone by June, and doesn't form again until around October or so. The exact dates depend on the weather that year.
Coville Road isn't that busy a road, but there isn't anywhere to pull over. Most people simply pull as close to the side of the road as they are able. However, keep in mind that there is a slight hill just west of this intersection, so if you do this you don't want to be too close to the summit of this hill - there is a good chance of someone coming fast over the hill and not being prepared for someone stopped in the road.
Fedner's Blue Butterfly: one of the last places
The summit of Basket Butte is one of the last places in the Willamette Valley where it is still possible to find Icaricia icarioides fenderi, or the Fender's Blue Butterfly. The male of this wonderfully colored butterfly is absolutely beautiful in the right light (which, unfortunately, we don't usually get in the Willamette Valley, but I did what I could in the photo with what I had). The female is more of a grey color and somewhat harder to distinguish from anything else you might be seeing in the fields near the summit.
The butterfly is only present on the summit of Baskett Butte, only in May, and only lives a very brief period before laying eggs on the leaves of Kincaid's lupine (L. sulphureus var. kincaidii). The caterpillars feed briefly until July. They then fall to the base of the plant and go into a type of hybernation until March of the next year, continue development, enter the metamorphosis stage, and emerge as adults in May.
As there is only a very small number of them left in the world, they are undergoing some study by a few groups. From time to time you will see several University vehicles parked at the refuge for the students to conduct their research here.
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