South Coast

The South Coast of Washington State (from Moclips to the Columbia River) features wide sandy beaches, grasslands, extensive mudflats and open farmlands. The community of Ocean Shores, with its rich diversity of habitat, has recorded over 290 species of birds. Jetties host Wandering Tattler, Surfbird, and Rock Sandpiper while nearby beaches and Salicornia marshes hold Pacific Golden-Plover, and the rare Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Ocean Shores seems to be a magnet for rare birds in Washington, including Mottled Petrel, Manx Shearwater, Eurasian Dotterel, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Ivory Gull, Least Tern, Long-billed Murrelet, Horned Puffin, Yellow Wagtail, and McKay’s Bunting.

One of the true treasures of the Washington coast is the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in Hoquiam. The refuge’s 1500 acres of mudflats provide a critical food source and staging area for hundreds of thousands of shorebirds that stop on their migration from South America to the arctic each spring. Pelagic trips out of Westport offer the birder the opportunity to see albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, jaegers, and auklets, among other pelagic specialties.

Further south along the coast, Tokeland provides a reliable spot to study long-legged shorebirds such as Willet, Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, the rare Bar-tailed Godwit, and Marbled Godwit. The 13,900 acre Willapa National Wildlife Refuge hosts a wide assortment of wintering waterfowl with impressive numbers of Canada Goose (including several different subspecies), Brant, and a myriad of ducks.

The Long Beach Peninsula and especially Leadbetter Point are regular migration stops for Red Knot in spring and Pacific Golden-Plover and occasional Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in fall. Snowy Plovers nest at the tip of Leadbetter Point. Fort Canby State Park, at the mouth of the Columbia River, with its sandy shore, rock jetty, coniferous and broadleaf woods, freshwater lakes and marshes, and rocky cliffs, provides an impressive assortment of resident and migrant birds.

North Coast

South Coast

Coastal Mileage

Order the book, A Birder's Guide to Coastal Washington

Introduction | Birding Spots | Birds | Habitats | Links | About Us
Birders Guide | Checklist | Pelagic | Shorebird Festival | Weather/Tides | Contact Us