The Olympic Peninsula is home to a diverse bird population year round, drawing birders to search for songbirds, swans, eagles, egrets and more. Birding trails, activities, and events take place across the peninsula. With so many opportunities for birders, this is the first in a series of posts which will highlight different trails and destinations.Many migratory birds make their winter and summer homes on the eastern end of the Olympic Peninsula. The region is particularly popular with water fowl. The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and Dungeness Spit is considered an "important bird area" by the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society. During spring and summer keep an eye out for Tufted Puffin, Arctic Tern, and Black Oystercatchers. In fall and winter Falcons, Snowy Owls, and a variety of ducks return to the spit. On the Migratory Waterfowl Watchers Trail in and around Port Townsend visitors can view Trumpeter Swans, Blue Heron, Osprey, Brant Geese, Harlequin Ducks, and Bald Eagles. The best time to tour this trail is between October and April. Continue reading
If you are a birder, young or old, you'll add to your life list on the Olympic Peninsula. I'm interested in them, but I'm not a birder - YET. I know that this area almost always leads Washington State in high counts of species during spring migration. The Christmas bird count a big annual event for the Dungeness River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge Park along the Olympic Peninsula Discovery Trail. The reason for my investigation? I've noticed hummers hanging around my house for the last few days. My curiosity was up. So I started some research about these lovely little guys that chose to stay here in the winter. Boy, was I surprised. In looking for bird information, I found listings for over 350 species that visit the Olympic Peninsula. We have three different types of hummers. Anna's, Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds all have been reported. Maybe on examination, I think I know which one I saw. Anna's like to live in the forests, brush areas and in town. It is a permanent resident along the West Coast from British Columbia to northern Mexico. Calliope's like to live in the forests and have only been seen on the Olympic Peninsula a few times. They are the smallest - about three inches long. (The ones I saw seemed more robust!) That leaves the Rufous hummingbirds. They live in forest, brush areas and in town. They are rarely seen in the winter. They are common in the spring and early summer, and fairly common in the fall. So I probably am not seeing Calliope's or Rufous. But, I want more information. An email to my birder friend says that Anna's should be the only ones hanging around at this time of year. According to ebird.org, there was a registered siting in Neah Bay on February 1. And, Anna's have been seen on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles within the last couple weeks. Conclusion: Anna's Hummingbirds are at my house! All this is fascinating to me. Think how far birds travel during their life times. Much farther than many of us do over the course of our life times. This graphic from Cornell Labs totally mesmerized me. Be sure to watch the animated migration.