The Ultimate Guide to Birding in Pacific County

Jul 15, 2022 | Birding, Outdoors, Wildlife

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The Ultimate Guide to Birding In Pacific County:  

Make sure to check out our new Birding In Pacific County virtual pass. Find the best birding spots, and win prizes along the way! Click here for more info.

Pacific County is a hotspot for bird watchers. As a designated important bird area, we have a plethora of bird species to enjoy. At least 43 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Willapa Bay or on the Long Beach Peninsula, which in addition to the species above, include Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Snowy Plover, Sanderling, Marbled Godwit, Greater Yellowlegs, and Western Sandpiper. Grab your binoculars and hit the trails!

 

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge:

The Willapa National Wildlife Refuge consists of over 17,000 acres of tidelands, temperate rainforest, ocean beaches, and small streams. It also includes several rare remnants of an old-growth coastal cedar forest. Preserving habitat for spawning wild salmon, hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, and threatened species such as the western snowy plover and marbled murrelet, the refuge is the place to see what the Pacific Northwest looked like over 100 years ago.

Trail at Leadbetter Point past the state park: Adjacent to Leadbetter Point State Park, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge provides a critical habitat for nesting streaked horned larks. It’s the only coastal nesting population of this federally threatened species. 

Trail Length: up to 10 miles roundtrip 

Trail Difficulty: Mild

 

Art Trail/Cutthroat Climb: The stream that can be seen on the art trail is a place for salmon and cutthroat trout spawning (happens in the fall). Keep your eyes out for birds, but also enjoy the beautiful art installations on the trail. 

Trail Length (Art Trail):  .25 miles one way

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Boardwalk, Accessible 

Trail Length (Cutthroat Climb): 1 mile loop 

Trail Difficulty: Hard

 

Greenhead Slough/Teal Slough: Large old growth ancient cedar can be seen here.

Trail Length (greenhead slough): 1 mile (round trip) 

Trail Difficulty: Mild 

Trail Length (Teal Slough): 1.2 miles (round trip)

Trail Difficulty: Mild

 

Tarlatt Slough Trail to South Bay Trail Overlook: Listen for Songbirds on this trail – they are plenty here. 

Trail Length: 21.54 miles round trip

Trail Difficulty: Moderate 

 

Parker Slough Trail: This trail provides an opportunity to walk through freshwater marsh on one side and tidal bayland on the other, so there’s a good mix of birds – songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors. 

Trail Length: 3 miles round trip
Trail Difficulty: Moderate 

Our State Parks:

Pacific County has a plethora of state parks, which are home to a large variety of bird species. Hit the trails, learn the rich history of Pacific County and encounter birds along the way! A discovery pass is required to park at all state parks.

Here are some of our favorite state park trails:

Leadbetter Point State Park: Martha Jordan Birding Trail 

This trail is named after Martha Jordan who worked for many decades to conserve and restore Hines Marsh, a 700-acre interdunal wetland that is of major significance to wildlife and the water quality of Willapa Bay.

Trail Length: 4 miles (round trip)

Trail Difficulty: Mild

 

Grayland State Park

5 marked short trails that lead to the beach FUN FACT: ‘Grayland’ is named after Robert Gray, who explored grays harbor.

Trail Length: each trail to the beach is > 1 mile round trip

Trail Difficulty: Mild

 

Cape Disappointment State Park

Marbled Murrelets, found in Cape Disappointment State Park, fly to the ocean every day to get food for their chicks.  All of Cape Disappointment state park has various birds on every trail. You really can’t go wrong with any trail – but here are some of our favorites!

North Head Lighthouse Loop Trail- This is an accessible paved trail that takes you to the North head Lighthouse, and overlooks the ocean. Look for Pelicans, Eagles, and even some whales!

Trail Length: .5 miles round trip

Trail Difficulty: Mild

Coastal Forest Loop Trail- Take this trail to walk through dense forest and overlook Baker Bay.  

Trail Length: 1.4 miles roundtrip

Trail Difficulty: Moderate 

 

Raymond 

Raymond is a lovely town along the river, about an hour north of the Long Beach Peninsula. Enjoy the metal sculptures, local shops, and of course- birds galore!

Butte Creek Picnic Area Butte Creek is a high-quality murrelet habitat, this bird is best seen right before sunrise. Take some snacks, sit back, and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you!

Smith Creek-  Along with a plethora of wildlife, this area has a boat launch, so go enjoy some on-the-water fun!

 

Tokeland

Nestled in the northmost part of Pacific county, Tokeland is a must-see for history buffs and birders alike. Check out the historical Tokeland Hotel and Wandering Goose restaurant after your birding trek! 

Tokeland Marina – Here you can find shorebirds, Marbled Godwit, and Bar-tailed Godwit (rare in fall). Fall and winter long-legged shorebirds include Long-billed Curlew and small numbers of Willet.

 

You can’t go wrong when Birding in Pacific County. Come enjoy the natural beauty and wonder of our bird habitats.

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Plan Your Trip

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