Oregon’s Nature Nooks: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Left Coast Travel, Musings, Nature, North America, Oregon's Nature Nooks, Out and About, Photography

View from the garden entrance

The Zendog and I finally ventured out to explore the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden here in Portland. It’s located on SE 28th Avenue in the Westmoreland neighborhood. This garden got its start in the 1950 as a test garden and today there are over 2500 different rhododendrons, azaleas, assorted trees and other plants growing here. The walking paths are mostly level, some paved and others just dirt. There are a number of springs which flow into the lake via small brooks and even a few waterfalls.

Let’s go for a walk!

The ducks could be heard from the entrance, which is perched above it all. Once we walked around the bend we noticed another bridge spanning across Crystal Springs Lake. This 9 1/2 acre botanical garden is tucked in between Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course. Hard to believe that this treasure of a garden is right in town! It’s a fantastic place for bird watching and over 100 different types have been spotted here. On our first visit we saw not only wood ducks, but also a bald eagle, buffleheads, one lone hooded merganser, different kinds of geese …

This is the male wood duck sitting on the bridge railing.
Look at his gorgeous plumage.

Listen to the whistle of the wood ducks! They don’t quack like mallards.

The females are a bit smaller and not as colorful as the males.

Anyway, I was in heaven!! Wood ducks everywhere I looked…

The sun came out and brightened up an otherwise dreary winter day.

Some of the ducks swam about in the lake,

while others showed off their glorious feathers and mighty breasts.

A quick dip left this guy cloaked in crystal clear lake water.

He was definitely a show-off!

Until … he disappeared! 

Located across the lake is the Eastmoreland golf course.

In my next post I will take you to the old tree snag where we saw a bald eagle!
Until then let’s head back up to the exit!

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My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

51 thoughts on “Oregon’s Nature Nooks: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden”

  1. Those are some outstanding photos of the ducks. Your photos help me see them as if I were up close. I went with the Senior center several years ago and found out how close it was to my sister’s place. She never mentioned it. It’s beautiful in the spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marlene! I so enjoyed myself there. I couldn’t believe how tame they were. The ones in California were really shy! Spring will be gorgeous there once all those shrubs bloom. I’ll send you an email tonight or tomorrow morning. 🙂


  2. christine says:

    Once again, these are stunning photos. And what a wonderful location! I saw a lot of ducks in the Sacramento W.L reserve 2 years ago during the fall migration. Also snow geese, night herons, even some sand hill cranes. It’s good place to view, but it’s not a garden like that, just old rice fields. None the less….
    birds love it. I’m so glad you got to visit see the wood ducks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Christine! I’m glad that I got to see the ducks too. I visited the Sacramento W.L. Preserve a long time ago with a friend during our Sacramento days. Lucky you seeing sand hill cranes!! I’ve yet to see one.


  3. Beautiful, Sabine! I think we visited there once when we lived in PDX. I love how you captured the reflections in the water. Really stunning! Have a great week, and stay warm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Sabine – these shots are beautiful and such a mini paradise right in the middle of town. I would not have been able to take my eyes off those beautiful wood ducks either and taking food right from a cupped hand! I like the way they walked right along the railing, showing off the beautiful plumage. I have never seen a wood duck myself, but we do have some in Michigan according to some of the bird photography sites I follow on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda, I thought of you when I was there! You’d have a field day feeding all the critters. I had a squirrel all but tug on my shoelace. I hope you’ll have a chance to see wood ducks sometime. They live all across the country I think but I’ve never seen them out in the open like this. The lady who fed the ducks and I think squirrels mentioned that there are strict rules about the food people are allowed to bring. Anyway, I look forward to going back soon. 🙋‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I would be in my glory just like you were Sabine. I’ll look forward to the rest of your pictures from there and more when you return. We had a rare duck in the northern suburbs about a year ago – I just Googled the story and it was a Black-Bellied Whistling Duck. This is the story if you want to read it and I wonder if it whistled like your ducks did in the video and that you mentioned in the post? That duck is not striking like the wood ducks and if I saw it I would not be inclined to take more than one picture.

        I wonder if they feed grapes and corn to the ducks – I know that people feed the mallards and Pekin ducks those treats at the two bigger parks I go to. They forbid all feeding at the Huron Metroparks, even the squirrels, so you won’t see one squirrel begging for food like they do at Elizabeth Park and my regular park. The squirrels were starving today – I doubt anyone had been by in a week since we had all this freezing rain, ice, torrential rain then the sleety/snowy mixture. We are getting that again this weekend. I had about 8-10 squirrels rush over when I got there this morning. And this little squirrel at the side of the house is so cute – he comes over to see me two or three times while I am outside … he knows a sucker. I have to try and get his picture as he is at ease with me now – very timid in the beginning but warming up to me, although I see two gray squirrels and Grady could still be timid and this one is bolder. I want to scoop him up like you would a puppy.

        I had a scary experience this morning. I took the car out as it’d not been out in a week and I was driving to the Park and all of a sudden this huge Cooper’s Hawk flew from a tree and came toward my windshield. It came out of nowhere and luckily no cars were around I could swerve a little – it never hit the car or windshield thank goodness but it flew to the next tree and I passed by that tree and if it didn’t fly out again – I wonder if it was disoriented, had something wrong with it (like rabid) – but it scared me and it is big as you see it headed toward you. I was all shook up when I got to the Park.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The lady at the park had peanuts in one bag and whole corn kernels in another. I think that and uncooked whole grain rice are all people are allowed to feed there. Human food like bread is not a good source of nourishment to animals. I will talk to her if I run into her again. As for the Cooper’s hawk almost hitting your windshield would be a scary incident. Perhaps he saw his reflection in your windshield? Be careful swerving for any critters. I know several people who totaled their cars when they tried to avoid hitting an animal. Have a good rest of the week Linda! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK, I wondered Sabine and there was a couple who feed the birds corn every day at Elizabeth Park. They get a huge bucket of it and they push the bucket down a ramp at the back of the van – the Pekin and Hybrid Mallards are larger ducks and go up the ramp every day to check out the corn before it is spread. I never knew until recently about how the bread gives the waterfowl “angel wing” syndrome. Yes, the hawk incident was scary – I thought it was aiming for the windshield. I swerved to avoid it – probably was dumb, but it came out of nowhere and such a large wingspan on top of it. I won’t go to rural areas in the month of November as it is mating season for the deer and they will jump out in the road while chasing one another – many a motorist has been killed as the deer pay no attention to their surroundings, a male might be following a female from the woods and right onto the highway. My boss’ friend was driving from Northern Michigan in his SUV last year and that happened – the buck’s antlers and all the way to its chest came through the front windshield. Sam and his wife were not injured but the car was totaled by the insurance company. You enjoy your week too Sabine. A couple more walking days then a snowstorm/ice storm arrives beginning Friday night – maybe some pictures of that event, but no walking til the snow and ice are gone.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Since I’ve never heard of angel wing syndrome, I googled it. Wildlife flying or jumping into the road is always scary. We’ve just had lots of rain here in Portland and I’ve been secretly wishing for a few snowy days. The snow stayed to the north of us. Stay warm Linda! ☃️

        Liked by 1 person

      • I never heard of until a Swedish blogger mentioned it to me when I said I had taken bread to Heritage Park to feed the mallards – he said it was not good for them and named “angel wing syndrome. Since then, I’ve read that info online several times.
        I either took bread and tore it up or oyster crackers as they float so no waste. I’m glad I found out about it as it can be fatal to them.
        I’ll be happy to share some of our snow with you – the longer I listen to the news, the worse it sounds.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well you got your wish for a few hours Sabine. They are now calling for up to 7 or 8 inches in most counties. We were originally on the low side (3-4 inches) but they have already put emergency alerts in place to get cars off the street by midnight tonight. That’s our city as well as most across Michigan. What a shame as it is so clear out there right now. Perfect walking weather this morning, even at 20 degrees and a hefty wind chill. I cut my walk short to give the car a bit of a run as I’m not sure how long before the ice/snow is gone after tomorrow’s event.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Linda, I hope your winter weather is over by now! Sorry it took so long to reply, but I’ve gotten knocked off my feet again with another bad cold. Fortunately I’m on the mend. Maybe my body is trying to make up for all the years I didn’t get any colds! It’s still raining here and unseasonably warm. I will catch up on your posts! 🙋‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Sabine – we had that snow, then rain, then freezing rain, then ice – I finally got out to the Park today. Yesterday I walked up and down my street on the sidewalk, but there was lots of ice in the street so didn’t go out with the car … finally this morning I got out as the ice was gone. It was good to see the little nippers were doing okay and I’m sure they spent each day in their nests as the precip, then very brutal weather would have not made them want to venture too far. I am sorry to hear you have another bad cold – it surprises me as you eat so healthy, all those colorful veggies for your meals that look so good. I thought perhaps you had gone back to take more pictures at the venue you showed us in your last post. Hope you feel better soon. We were one of the leading states for flu outbreaks right after the holidays – Michigan and Georgia as well, but I’ve not heard any more on that statistic lately (thank goodness).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t been sick this often in many years and like to think that eating healthy kept me from feeling any worse. It’s hard to tell who’s sick and contagious out in the world. I do appreciate though that it gives me a chance to slow down. Anyways, I’m looking forward to going back to the park soon! Still raining here!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you’re right Sabine. All the colorful veggies helped you out in some way. And you had the down time at Christmas, so you were not overtired and run down. It is difficult to tell who is sick and who is not. I am not with crowds except when I run errands and I do them all on one day so I only miss one day of walks (provided the weather is good for walking and driving). I don’t blame you for wanting to return soon. We’ve had a day like yours – rain since midnight, all day and spilling over into a good part of tomorrow. Third crummy weekend in a row – at least it’s not snow.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can see I have missed this wonderful post with its images! Stunning photo, Sabine! Beautifully captured. Very interesting to read about the angel wing syndrome in the comments and the deer that run into the road. Agh! Hope you are well now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amanda! I had a great time visiting this garden and will go back soon, now that the weather is finally improving and I’m all well. I got sick several times this winter which made me appreciate that I am usually very healthy. I haven’t been online much lately, in part because of not feeling well and also just trying to put some space in between myself and the political stress in our country. I am hoping that things will change for the better this November! I hope all is well with you and that your Home by the Sea feels like home by now. 🙋‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Sabine. I am sorry to hear about your ill health and quite rightly, it has to be your priority. I do hope this year will be kinder to you and hope you are not too overwhelmed by political dramas. We do have that capacity to learn from our mistakes, so the madness will end one day, hopefully soon. Now we have a greater threat of illness, you need to take extra care and perhaps the politicians will become less self interested?
        Yes I love living by the sea and have so far found the community, altruistic, embracing and very kind. Just yesterday, a new neighbour brought over a batch of cookies and a large carrot cake for us – it has been many years since that ever happened!


  6. Gordon Hubbard says:

    Hi Sabine,
    Hope you are doing well. I just realized I hadn’t been getting any email posts from you. I hope everything is ok with you. This is a very crazy time. Karen and I are doing ok. She is teaching her genealogy class on zoom twice a month. There has been a fair following even through the summer months. I haven’t been able to do any volunteering since mid-March, for either the hospital or the library. Karen and I have been doing a lot of cleaning up around the house. Both inside and out. We have finally gotten our garages pretty well cleaned out, and have upgraded our landscaping. We have gone on short day trips to the beach and visited our daughter in Eugene. All the while wearing masks and staying socially distant from people. This January Karen’s Mom was moved into Princeton Village at her request. It is just a few blocks from us and her sister. She is doing well, but she is 95 years old now, so she is in lock down, like all the senior centers are. She is allowed outside her room once or twice a week, but the residents are kept isolated from each other. Meals are taken to their rooms. She has adapted as well as can be expected.Hope you have time to send a short note, so we can be sure you are doing ok.
    Your friends,Karen and Gordon Hubbard
    PS Will send pictures of the yard, if you would like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Gordon, good to hear from you! I am glad to hear that you both are doing well and that you are healthy. We are healthy and mostly staying home like so many of us. When we do go out, we too mask up and keep our distance from others. We see our kids every so often but do it physically distanced in our front yard. Different but we can live with it while it’s necessary. If you have my phone number you can always text a picture of your yard. I’d love to see what you’ve done. Hello and all the best to Karen and you, your friends Sabine and Zendog. 🙂


    • Hi Arlene, thanks for checking in with me. I’m doing okay but with all the turmoil here between the pandemic and our divisive politics I’ve needed to take a break from all kinds of things. I’m working on a blogpost and will get back into a routine shortly. I hope that you and your family are healthy and hanging in there with our new world. Be safe and I’ll see you soon in the blogosphere! 🙋‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Sabine, it is so nice hearing from you. We are doing well here although of course movements are limited. It is really hard to adjust to this situation. Let’s all keep safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s the same here! We stay close to home and do our best to take the appropriate precautions when we have to go out into the world. That’s really the only thing we can control: our own behavior. I bet Nate has gotten huge!

        Liked by 1 person

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