With a majestic and varied landscape as a background for your birding endeavors, Hood Canal is a gorgeous place to come search for the over 250 species that call the Olympic Peninsula home.
Chock full of life-birds like bald eagles, rhinoceros aucklets and more on premiere birding trails with helpful self-guided trail maps, this is a birder's paradise!
135-acre preserve on Hood Canal, salt- and freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, river estuary. Birding: Spring and fall, listen for Golden-crowned Kinglets; Bewick’s, Marsh, and Winter Wrens. Birds of prey “prowl” the air: Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Red-Tailed Hawks, Short-eared Owls. Winter brings Northern Shrikes to meadows. Features include dabblers: Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teals; and divers: Ruddy Ducks, Horned Grebes, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes.
57-acre park; Hood Canal saltwater shoreline and mixed forest. Birding: Fall-spring, high tide offers best waterfowl birding. Common Loons, Surf Scoters, Greater Scaups, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Red-Breasted Mergansers; Horned,Western, and Red-necked Grebes. Check foliage for Red Crossbills,Varied Thrushes, Steller’s Jays, Fox Sparrows, and Bandtailed Pigeons.
20-acre freshwater beaver pond, basalt cliff. Birding: See Band-tailed Pigeons in trees, Ring-necked Ducks on ponds, Vaux’s Swifts above cliff. Listen for Wilson’s Warblers, Swainson’s Thrushes, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Song Sparrows, Winter Wrens. Check big-leaf maples for Northern Flickers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers; snags for Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers.
182-acre state park with Hood Canal shoreline, conifer forest. Birding: Use scope to see divers: Common Loons, Marbled Murrelets, Western and Red-necked Grebes, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Buffleheads, Greater Scaups, Ruddy Ducks.
43-acre forested shoreline, saltwater bay. Birding: Spring = singers! Listen for Hutton’s Vireos and Pacific-slope Flycatchers in forest. Also find Brown Creepers and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Ducks grab winter spotlight: On rising tide, see Surf Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, plus Common, Pacific, and occasional Red-throated Loons.At low tide, Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Ring-billed Gulls lounge on mudflats.
WDFW 30-acre riparian corridor of conifers, deciduous foliage. Birding: Wood Ducks highlight spring birding. Autumn berries beckon f locks of Cedar Waxwings. Wintering ducks include Buffleheads, Common and Hooded Mergansers. See American Dippers in all seasons.
Private 450-acre woodland sanctuary of old conifers amid clear-cut. Birding: Spring attractions include Wood Ducks, Wilson’s Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Tree and Violet-green Swallows, American Goldfinches. Spring and fall, scan skies for Bald Eagles, Ospreys. Check snags for Northern Flickers; Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, and trees for busy Pine Siskins, Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Redbreasted Sapsuckers.
WDFW viewpoint on bay, mudflats, fringe of evergreen trees. Birding: Bay offers dynamite duck viewing: Northern Pintails, Red-breasted Mergansers, American and Eurasian Wigeons, Buffleheads, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Surf and White-winged Scoters, Gadwalls, Green-winged Teals. See Opreys spring-fall, Dunlins in winter. Common Ravens, and Bald Eagles visit year-round.
Winter wins bird lottery! Shore hosts huge flocks of Dunlins; on saltwater, find Marbled Murrelets, Canvasbacks, Northern Pintails; Common, Red-breasted, and Hooded Mergansers; Buffleheads, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Black, Surf, and White-winged Scoters; in marsh are Gadwalls, Green-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers. Raptors abound: Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Short-eared Owls. Early spring brings Longbilled Dowitchers, Wilson’s Snipes, Western Sandpipers.
Fall bird-salmon migrations coincide in viewing bonanza: Surf and White-winged Scoters, Greater and Lesser Scaups; Horned and Red- necked Grebes, American Wigeons, Northern Pintails. Singers come in spring: Yellow and Orange-crowned Warblers, Hutton’s Vireos, Golden-crowned Kinglets, plus Rufous Hummingbirds. Fall-spring, find forest dwellers: Black-capped and Chestnut-Kinglets, plus Rufous Hummingbirds, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.
Itinerary #3: Sweet Summertime
It’s summertime in the Olympic Peninsula! Sweet smelling lavender peppers the hillsides, Olympic Mountain Ice Cream drips down our wrists, and we toss what’s left of the unexpired sunscreen into our bags as we head out to tromp through the third of our monthly itineraries.
As jewelers and holiday cards holler at us to pack Mom’s day full of pink ribbons, glimmering gifts, and bouquets full of flowers, we find ourselves wondering what the lady of the day really wants.
An off-the-grid woodsy adventure—with the proper gear and safety precautions—makes for a truly memorable experience. Here are our recommendations for five must-have accessories to make your ONP adventure one for the books.
Though there are many factors that come together to make a good photographer—gear, dedication, understanding of theory, etc.—the one elusive quality that boosts George Stenberg’s craft into the upper echelon is timing.
Meet Shuck the Oyster! He's making tracks about Hood Canal and about the interweb. Find him at #ShucktheOyster.
A grill? A big screen television? A round at the local golf course? We’re over here scratching our heads over what the man of the hour really wants for his big day.
Itinerary #9: Winter/Spring Birding
With its wealth of shoreline, fresh and saltwater marshes, mudflats, and bountiful forests, the Olympic Peninsula is a birders’ paradise.
If you’ve come across a jaw-dropping photo of a bird in Hood Canal—one that doesn’t just capture detail, but also embodies personality and movement—chances are it’s one of Clinton Ferarra’s masterpieces.
A weekend warrior is a 21st century beast whose population seems to be exponentially growing. As the “rolley chair blues” epidemic proliferates across the Pacific Northwest, so does the drive to combat it with an epic 48-hour adventure.
Tromping through the park and the surrounding areas is admittedly our favorite thing to do, but sometimes asking for directions can be tricky. Especially when we slip up and ask for a “geo-duck” (geoduck). Reduce your noob status and read on to ensure that when you have to flag a local down, you don’t get a suppressed giggle along with directions.