Message from the Board

By Terry Thomas

May through July may be the best months at Camas National Refuge. As spring and summer assert their authority, the activity at the Refuge seems endless. This is the time for babies, seasonal visitors and for a general greening of the world, a greening that doesn’t last forever.

This is also a great time to get out and sharpen your photography skills. There is so much happening that you may just get a blister on your shutter finger! And while you are at it, you can enter your best shots in the annual Friends of Camas photo contest. This contest has been growing over the past several years and last year’s winning images were pretty awesome. You can check them out under the activities tab on this website. We expect even more entries this year, so why not be one of them?

You can check out the complete set of rules by looking under the Activities tab for Photo Contest, but here are the basics. You can submit up to five images so choose carefully among your best. Images don’t have to be taken on Camas National Wildlife Refuge but they do have to be taken from one of seven locations: Camas NWR, Mud Lake WMA, Gray’s Lake NWR, Market Lake WMA, Bear Lake NWR, Deer Parks WMU or Oxford Slough WPA. Images must be submitted electronically along with the appropriate form and not exceed 10 MB each.

As for the subject matter, virtually anything goes. Wildlife is an obvious choice, but don’t forget to look for scenics, sunsets, insects and other macro subjects.

To improve your chances of a winning photo, strive to remember these guidelines:

  • Pay attention to the rules of composition such as a level frame and rule of thirds.
  • Animals facing into a photograph look better than those looking out.
  • Interaction between animals adds drama and/or tenderness to a scene.
  • Wildlife in a scenic image adds place, drama, and interest.
  • Always ensure that the eye of a wildlife subject is in focus. Even if the rest of the photo is sharp, but the eye is slightly out of focus, it just looks wrong.
  • Try not to place horizon lines in the middle of an image unless it is a mirror reflection.
  • Watch for opportunities to include leading lines such as roads, tree branches, shrub rows or anything else that can enter the scene from a bottom corner and move diagonally through the image.
  • You will often find the best images early and late in the day. Wildlife is more active during these hours, the light has a warmer and softer quality and shadows add dimension and depth to a photograph.

The most important “rule” though is to be there. Get out, get out a lot, and enjoy. 

Refuge Manager's Notes

May 22, 2019

The water situation this spring has been good, with the snowmelt happening at a slow pace up until the last few days.  The wetlands around the auto-tour route and just about full to capacity or close to it, and water spilling into other wetlands, providing a good number of acres of water for wildlife to utilize.  With this amount of habitat, the birds we have are pretty spread out with lots of elbow room at this time.

The flows in Camas Creek will start slowing down as much of the snow has come out of the mountains.  The Crab Creek snotel site is now at zero for snow and water equivalent.  Recent rains are helping out and future storms could keep the creek moving if they are significant enough.

Most of the waterfowl that you are seeing are going to stay here and nest on the Refuge.  Recently we have been seeing goose broods showing up on various ponds.  In the next few weeks, we should also see possible broods from early nesting waterfowl and Sandhill cranes.  Songbird migration had really been slow up until that last week as it appears many common species are finally showing up, such as black-headed grosbeaks, lazuli buntings and western tanagers.  Many other species will certainly be found with folks getting out and looking for them. 

If you like to see the Refuge with lots of water, now is a good time to come and see the landscape.  Lots of wildlife using the habitat around the auto-tour route.  Looks for hawks and owls especially around the wetlands. 

Brian Wehausen, Refuge Manager

To view previous Refuge Notes,
click here.

What's New - 2019

Peregrine Tower Live Cam

The webcam on the peregrine tower is now live.  Take a moment to watch the pair of peregrine falcons that make their home at the Camas National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo Contest

The rules and submission form are now located under the Activities tab on the navigation bar.  

Fred Meyer Rewards Program

You can help Friends of Camas NWR earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!  Fred Meyer donates over $2 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works:

Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Friends of Camas NWR at
You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number BN983 (this is a new number, the previous number will continue to work)
Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Friends of Camas NWR earn a donation. The great thing is that YOU still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.
If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Custome Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

For more information, please visit 




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
2150 E 2350 N
Hamer, ID 83425