WATCH IT!: Birding

Birding Takes Flight in Pacific County

The Long Beach Peninsula is known for birding. More than 300 species of birds make their home here on the Peninsula. Whether you are searching for Great Blue Herons, Trumpeter Swans, the Western Screech-Owl, or perhaps the Red-Breasted Sapsucker – the possibilities are endless.

With several distinct eco-systems in this very corner of southwest Washington State, Pacific County includes Pacific Ocean seashore and marshland, lakes, inland waterways, wetlands, the Columbia River, and the Willapa Bay along with its many tributaries. Hundreds of species of birds migrate here each fall.

Winter flocks consist mostly of Sanderlings, Dunlins, Black-Bellied Plovers and a few Western Sandpipers, and a spattering of Marbled Godwits. Peregrine Falcons are numerous and Merlins often sighted. In years’ past Snow Buntings have been seen at Leadbetter Point. Numerous sea ducks, grebes and loons can be observed along points on the Cape Disappointment State Park jetty, Coast Guard boat basin/launch and various points along Willapa Bay. Western Screech Owls and Great Horned Owls might be heard calling in the Seaview bluffs. Gulls are numerous, always with the chance of seeing an unusual species. Trumpeter Swans overwinter on Black Lake and Hines Marsh.

Birding Equipment

Your eyes are the most basic equipment required for birding, but having a set of binoculars, some rain gear, a notepad, camera, and field guide will certainly enhance your experience. While visiting the Peninsula for a birding trip, be sure to stop by Jack’s Country Store in Ocean Park or Dennis Company in Long Beach for nearly all of your birding needs! Time Enough Books has an excellent selection of guides if you forgot to bring your own.

Visit the Wildlife Refuge

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is for the birds! Established in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect migrating and wintering populations of brant, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other migratory birds, the refuge is rich in birdlife any time of the year. Be sure to stop by the information center for tips on birding at the Refuge.

More Places for Birding

Looking for birding options with a roof over your head? Look no further! The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is a great spot for those intimidated by the elements. Enjoy views from their glassed-in observation deck. The China Beach Retreat in Ilwaco is a charming cottage in a cove between Cape Disappointment State Park and the Port of Ilwaco. Because it sits right along the marshes of Baker Bay, it is the perfect spot for seeing one of our most majestic residents: the Great Blue Heron.

Remember to follow birding ethics:

  • Respect private property; do not trespass.
  • Stay on trails and avoid disturbing habitat.
  • Observe and photograph birds without disturbing them.
  • Never chase or flush birds. Walk slowly and stay concealed.
  • Do not use recordings to attract birds.



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