Field Trips

Pelagic Boat Trips

Offshore Waters

Driving Time: 10 minutes from conference HQ. Participants meet at the dock in Ilwaco, WA.

Description: Spend a day on the Pacific Ocean searching for many species seldom seen from the shore. Oregon Pelagic Tours will offer a seagoing trip out of Ilwaco, on both Friday April 26th and Saturday April 27th (time TBD). [NOTE: Saturday trip has been canceled. See alert below. ] Registration will be handled by Oregon Pelagic Tours separately from conference registration, with the fee to be paid directly to Oregon Pelagic Tours. The cost for adults is $200. The cost for young birders 24 years old and under is $100; if you are a young birder, specify your age when registering. Trip capacity is 18 participants.

Target species (likely, but not guaranteed) include Black-footed Albatross; Sooty, Pink-footed and Buller’s Shearwaters; Northern Fulmar; Sabine’s Gull and other gulls; Arctic Tern; Tufted Puffin; Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets; Red and Red-necked Phalaropes; and up to three cormorant species. Marine mammal possibilities include Harbor Porpoise, Dall’s Porpoise, Pacific White-sided Dolphin, Humpback and other whales; and Steller’s Sea Lion. These trips will do their best to spend time in both Oregon and Washington waters.

Registration information is on the Oregon Pelagic Tours website; check there for the latest updates.

DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
FridayOregon Pelagic ToursNoYes
SaturdayOregon Pelagic Tours – CANCELEDNo – CANCELEDYes – CANCELED

IMPORTANT ALERT: The pelagic trip scheduled for Saturday April 27, 2024 has been canceled.

Sign-ups for the Saturday trip came in below the required minimum to make a go of the trip; thus, it had to be canceled. The Friday pelagic trip is full. If you signed up for the canceled Saturday pelagic trip, email Conference Registrar Tracy Mitchell ( or phone her at 206-356-9180 to sign up for land-based field trips that still have openings.

Land-based Field Trips

The cost for land-based field trips will be $20 per person per full-day trip and $15 per half-day trip. These will be charged at registration.

Please see the “Table of All Trips” at the bottom of this page with key summary information about all trips that should help you select your preferred trips.

Attendees are encouraged to take reasonable care for their own health and respect for the health of others – especially in carpooling arrangements. Drivers have the final say on any masking requirements in their vehicles. Any restrictions having to do with COVID (such as those relating to carpools, masking, social distancing and the like) will be determined by the jurisdictions involved. Since any restrictions can’t be known at the time of writing, attendees will need to be flexible and understanding as circumstances change.

What to bring

Remember to bring your National Parks/Forest Pass, Discover Pass, Oregon Parks pass, and FRS radios to use during field trips. For your safety, become familiar with possible dangers in the area and arrive prepared for such things as chilly temperatures, sun, wind, rain and soggy ground, poison oak or poison ivy, ticks, and steep or uneven terrain. Select trips that are appropriate for your fitness level, both for your safety and in consideration of your trip co-participants


Whether or not to eBird a trip is left to the preferences of leaders and participants. Leaders are not expected to eBird for their groups, as they have many other things to be concerned about, but some may choose to do so. A “Yes” for eBird means the leader intends to keep an eBird trip list and share with others on the trip. “No” for eBirding means the leader will not be keeping a list, but, of course, attendees who wish to certainly may. “TBA” indicates the leader’s preference isn’t known.


A “Yes” indication for playback simply means the leader MAY use playback, sparingly. Participants are not allowed to use playback. “No” on playback means it will not be used at all. A TBA means that the leader’s preference isn’t known.


Full-day and half-day field trips do not have the same departure times, so be sure to note whether your trip is a full-day or half-day trip. A few full-day trips with longer drives to the starting point will leave a half-hour earlier. Those trips are noted in the list and table of trips. All trips will depart from the Chautauqua Resort and Conference Center parking lot.

5:30 a.m.: A few full-day trips with longer drive times depart

6:00 a.m.: Most full-day WOS field trips depart

6:30 a.m.: Half-day WOS field trips depart

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the above departure times to check in with your trip leader and for the carpooling arrangements. Trip leaders will have signs with the trip name in the designated meeting area.

Reimburse your driver

It is the responsibility of the participants to reimburse their driver. Remind the driver to set the odometer before departure. WOS recommends that drivers be reimbursed by a rate of 0.25 per mile divided by the number of passengers in the car (not including the driver). For example if a trip is 100 miles in length and three passengers are in the car, each person would contribute $8.33 for mileage reimbursement to the driver.

On-the-Way Trip from north of Seattle to downtown Long Beach

Our first planned stop will be 60 minutes after departure. There will be 4 hours travel time plus stops for birding. Stops will be determined by the trip leader.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Th01ThursdayJon Houghton

Conference Field Trips

Full-day Trips

1. Kalama to Woodland

Cowlitz County

Driving time: 1 hour 45 minutes to first planned birding stop
Sites include: Kress Lake, Sportsmen Club Road, Kalama River mouth, Kalama Marina, Woodland Bottoms

Approximately 1.5 miles of walking on level, well-maintained trails, with other stops at pull-outs and dead-end roads. Habitat will be riparian, agricultural fields and Columbia River overlooks. Lingering Sandhill Cranes are possible. If the winds are favorable, there can be a good raptor migration, sometimes including impressive movements of hundreds of Turkey Vultures. Black Phoebe and White-breasted Nuthatch are resident at the northern end of their expected range. In the riparian areas we could find nice movements of migrating flycatchers, vireos and warblers of numerous species, as well as more common resident species.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Sa01SaturdayShep Thorp – Trip departs
at 5:30 a.m.
Su01 – CanceledSunday – CanceledBob Flores – Trip departs
at 5:30 a.m. – Canceled
Yes – CanceledYes – Canceled

2. Longview to Toutle

Cowlitz County

Driving time: 2 hours to first planned birding stop

Sites include: Lexington Riverside Park, riparian areas along the Cowlitz River, Seaquest State Park, Canal Road, Longview (former) Sewage Ponds and Willow Grove

Expect to walk 2-3 miles on good trails and roads with mostly flat terrain. Habitats will include wetlands, riparian, mixed forest, agricultural fields and river overlooks. Possible species include Virginia Rail, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Hutton’s Vireo, Marsh Wren, Black-throated Gray Warbler as well as a mix of waterfowl and migrant passerines.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Su02SundayTom Bancroft – Trip departs at
5:30 a.m.

3. Grays Bay IBA to Julia Butler Hansen NWR

Wahkiakum County

Driving time: Roughly 45 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: Grays Bay, Altoona-Pillar Rock, Skamokawa Vista Park, Julia Butler Hansen NWR, Hornstra Beach Spit

This trip focuses on the western portion of Wahkiakum County, starting with the IBA at Grays Bay. A large colony of White Pelicans have nested on nearby Miller Sands since 2008 and should be foraging in the bay, along with loons and many species of waterfowl. We’ll then move to the Altoona-Pilar Rock area to scan the main river. As this is the farthest extent of the brackish water in the Columbia Estuary, it’s the best place to find saltwater species in Wahkiakum County, such as Pelagic Cormorant, scoters, and grebes. . We will continue eastward along Barr and Covered Bridge Roads through the bottomlands of Grays River before crossing over KM Hill to Skamokawa. Skamokawa Vista Park will afford a chance to pick up a few forest species before heading to the Julia Butler Hansen NWR. We can walk the White-tail trail in search of shorebirds and waterfowl, then out Hornstra Beach Spit for more shorebirds and gulls.

DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr03FridayMichael HobbsYesYes
Sa03SaturdayEd Pullen/Ken BrownYesYes
Su03SundayCindy McCormackNo Yes

4. Puget Island to the Brooks Slough area of Julia Butler Hansen NWR

Wahkiakum County

Driving time: Roughly 1 hour to first planned birding stop.

Sites include: Puget Island, Cathlamet, Beaver Creek Road, Indian Jack Slough, Brooks Slough

This trip emphasizes the eastern half of Wahkiakum County. We’ll begin by traveling to Puget Island. Most of the island is cottonwoods and open farmland, good for flocks of migrating warblers and year-round home for species such as Black Phoebe and Red-shouldered Hawk. We can also check out an old barn or two for Barn Owls. We’ll then move from the island to Cathlamet and up the Elochoman Valley to Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek Road reaches an elevation of about 1500 feet, and we may find MacGillivray’s Warbler, Canada Jay and Sooty Grouse. Then we’ll descend to the bottomlands, where we can explore the Columbia Land Trust’s property at Indian Jack Slough and the Brooks Slough area of the Julia Butler Hansen NWR.

Trip. No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr04FridayShep ThorpYesYes
Sa04SaturdayBob FloresYesYes

5. Stringtown to Fort Columbia

Pacific County

Driving time: 15 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: Fort Columbia State Park, town of Chinook, Chinook Valley and Stringtown Road

Except at Fort Columbia, all the walking will be on flat ground and mostly fairly close to our vehicles. Habitats include forest, wetland, Columbia River, riparian and open fields. Waterfowl, loons, grebes, shorebirds, gulls, raptors and resident and migrant passerines will all be sought. Virginia Rail, Red-shouldered Hawk and Black Phoebe have all occurred along this route in recent years.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr05FridayCindy McCormackNoYes
Sa5SaturdayLaurie NessNoNo

6. Cape Disappointment State Park and Ilwaco

Pacific County

Driving time : 10 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: State park sites include Beard’s Hollow, North Head Lighthouse, McKenzie and O’Neil Lakes and the North Jetty area.

After the Cape Disappointment area has been explored, in Ilwaco the marina and the Lake Street Access to view Baker Bay will be visited. Among the habitats will be open ocean, rocky and sandy shoreline, forest, marshes, lakes, and Columbia River shoreline. Bird species could include Brown Pelican (American White Pelican is less likely here), Sooty Shearwater, diving ducks, loon, and grebes. Three cormorant species are possible, along with shorebirds and migrant passerines.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr06FridayBruce LaBar and Marcus RoeningYesYes
Sa06SaturdayMichael HobbsYesYes
Su06SundaySteve GilesYesYes

7. Southeast Willapa Bay

Pacific County

Driving time : Approximately 30 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: Willapa Bay pull-outs along US 101, Willapa NWR Headquarters, Government Road, Lynn Point Road, N. Nemah Road and Hatchery, Palix River along Dike Road, Bush Pioneer Park and Bay Center, and Bone River mouth.

Habitats include shallow saltwater bay, river estuaries, mature and recently replanted forests, and open pastures. Waterfowl and shorebirds should be found in the tidelands, as well as migrant passerines in the various types of vegetation. American Dippers, a difficult species in Pacific County, are regular at the Nemah Hatchery. The nice habitats along this route are definitely under-birded and we could make some interesting discoveries here.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Sa07SaturdaySteve Hampton and Barry McKenzieYesYes
Su07SundayEd Pullen and Ken BrownYesYes

8. South Bend to Grayland

Pacific County

Driving time: 50 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: South Bend waterfront, Willapa Landing Park in Raymond, Willapa Harbor Airport, Tokeland, North Cove, Midway Beach, and Grayland Beach State Park

This trip could provide a number of prizes. Among them would be long-legged shorebirds at Tokeland such as Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew and Willet, as well as Snowy Plover and Horned Larks at Midway Beach and/or Grayland Beach. The anticipation of rarities will be felt at a number of these spots, as they have been recorded frequently. Surprise shorebirds have been found on numerous occasions at both Midway Beach (rubber boots may be needed) and Tokeland.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr08FridayLin Stern, Elijah Hayes – Trip departs at 5:30 a.m.NoYes
Sa08SaturdayPenny Rose, Scott Hoskin, and Dennis Paulson
Trip departs at 5:30 a.m.
Su08SundayScott Ramos – Trip departs at 6 a.m.YesYes

9. Long Beach Peninsula and Leadbetter Point

Pacific County

Driving time: Approximately 20 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: Nahcotta, Oysterville, and the Leadbetter Point Unit of Willapa NWR

A major part of this trip will be a hike at Willapa NWR. Bay Loop Trail follows the bay north from the parking lot, then Bearberry Trail crosses the peninsula to the beach of the open ocean. From here you can turn north along the beach. Most years in mid-September hiking boots will be sufficient on these trails, but it might be wise to be prepared with rubber boots. There will likely be migrating passerines in the vegetation on the peninsula and many shorebirds on the mudflats of the bay, in the saltmarsh and on the open beach. Many rarities have turned up here over the years, and Snowy Plover regularly nest and are seen on the open beach. This round-trip distance would be 6-7 miles on flat, but at times squishy, ground. Stops will also be made at Oysterville, Nahcotta and other sites on the Peninsula at the leader’s discretion and if time allows.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr09FridayJeff GilliganTBATBA
Su09SundaySteve HamptonTBATBA

10. Nehalem Bay State Park Area

Clatsop County, Tillamook County

Driving time: Approximately 1 hour 25 minutes to first planned stop

Sites: We will concentrate our energy on Nehalem Bay, which features a bay and long sand spit. We will also stop by several sites to and from, depending on what birds are being seen in the area.

This trip will look for shorebirds in Nehalem Bay State Park, which features a mixture of habitats including estuary, pine forests and ocean beach. Along the way we will stop at a number of hotspots, including Silver Point, as well as look for migrant songbirds and waterfowl.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fr10FridayBob and Laurie SchmidtYesYes

 Half-day Trips


11. Hines Marsh and Martha Jordan Birding Trail

Pacific County

Driving time: 10 minutes to first planned birding stop.

Sites: Main focus will be on the Hines marsh and the Martha Jordan Birding Trail, Special access to the State Park is being arranged. These will be areas not normally easily accessible to the public.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Fri11FridayDave KreftNN
Sa11SaturdayJon HoughtonNN

12. Cape Disappointment State Park

Pacific County

Driving time: 10 minutes to first planned birding stop

This trip will try to hit the highlights of a park that can easily take a full day to bird thoroughly. Beard’s Hollow will feature a short, level walk along a wetland, through a brushy area, and out to an open beach with some large rocky features. North Head Lighthouse will be a short level walk along large conifers to the overlook of the ocean and the rocky bluffs at the lighthouse. Lake O’Neil and McKenzie Lagoon can be checked, as well as Waikiki Beach. The short uphill walk to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center overlook is another possibility. Birds seen should include Brown Pelicans, loons and grebes, scoters and migrant passerines.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Sa12SaturdayBruce LaBar and Marcus RoeningYesYes

13. Ilwaco to Chinook Valley

Pacific County

Driving time: 10 minutes to first planned birding stop

The marina and views of Baker Bay could have shorebirds and early returning waterfowl. The vegetation along Stringtown Road near the airport can be excellent for migrating passerines, and other stops can be good, as well. The mix of wooded and open habitats along Cross Dike Road and Chinook Valley Road is a great spot for raptors as well as migrant passerines. Both Red-shouldered Hawk and Black Phoebe have become more frequently seen in this area. All walking is on level ground, mostly at the roadside.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Sa13SaturdaySteve GilesYes

14. Fort Columbia State Park to Chinook Road

Pacific County

Driving time: 15 minutes to first planned birding stop

The state park will offer short trails through forest, open areas around the old gun emplacements, and views of the Columbia River. This area is a bit hilly. In the town of Chinook, sites to be visited include Chinook County Park, the fish hatchery, the boat basin and Prince Street access point to the Columbia River. There is a wetland on the way to the hatchery that usually contains Virginia Rail, as well as other species of that habitat. There also should be migrant passerines in this area. The stops along the river and at the marina should have gulls, terns, waterfowl and possibly shorebirds. Finally, a stop along Lingenfelter Road could produce a few raptors to add to the day list.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Su14SundayBill Tweit

15. Fort Stevens Area (Oregon)

Clatsop County

Driving time: 45 minutes to first planned birding stop

Sites include: Fort Stevens SP–Parking Area D, Fort Stevens SP–South Jetty/Parking Area C, Hammond, Fort Stevens SP–Historic Area. (Note: All these sites are eBird hotspots.)

We will start at Hammond Boat Basin, looking for Heermann’s Gull, Brown Pelican and terns. Then we’ll walk through the gate to Ft. Stevens SP—Historic Area and walk about 1 mile total to explore the grassy fields and look for migrant songbirds. From there, we will drive to Fort Stevens State Park–Parking Area D and walk along the Columbia River beach to look for shorebirds such as Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, and Marbled Godwit. Depending on construction, we may also scan for seabirds like shearwaters at Fort Stevens SP–South Jetty/Parking Area C. Spotting scopes are recommended for this stop. There are outhouses at Parking Area D and Parking Area C, and restrooms at the Historic Area. No parking permits will be needed.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Sa15SaturdayRandy RobinsonYesYes
Su15SundayRandy RobinsonYesYes

16. Photographer-Friendly Trip to {TBA by FT Leader}


Driving time: 45 minutes or less to first planned birding stop

Site: The trip will be photographer-friendly, meaning we are less interested in compiling a long species list than we are in achieving some nice photographs. Given the right opportunities (never guaranteed), we will linger a little longer with a bird or group of birds than necessary for a quick ID, perhaps considering birds in their environmental context, not just as subjects for tight, closely cropped portraits. There will be limited walking on easy terrain. Bring photo equipment of your choice, possibly including tripods and long and medium lenses.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
Su16SunDave KreftNoNo

17. Shorebirds for Beginners – Location TBD

Depending on weather and tide conditions the field trip leaders will choose a location in the Long Beach, WA or Fort Stevens, OR vicinity. Emphasis will be on helping birders with the basics of shorebird identification. This trip will be most helpful to those of us new, or inexperienced, with shorebirds.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
Su17SundayDennis Paulson and Jane Hadley

Table of All Trips

* Means the trip requires a longer drive to the starting point and will depart at 5:30 a.m.

Trip No.Trip NameFull/HalfLeadersFriSatSun
Pelagic FullOregon Pelagic ToursX
ThOn-the-wayJon Houghton – Thursday
01Kalama to WoodlandFull* Shep Thorp – Sat
* Bob Flores – Sun
02Longview to ToutleFull* Tom Bancroft – SunX
03Grays Bay IBA to Julia Butler Hansen NWRFullMichael Hobbs – Fri
Ed Pullen/Ken Brown – Sat
Cindy McCormack – Sun
04Puget Island to the Brooks Slough AreaFullShep Thorp – Fri
Bob Flores – Sat
05Stringtown Road to Fort ColumbiaFullCindy McCormack – Fri
Laurie Ness – Sat
06Cape Disappointment State Park and IlwacoFullBruce LaBar and Marcus Roening – Fri
Michael Hobbs – Sat
Steve Giles – Sun
07Southeast Willapa BayFullSteve Hampton and Barry McKenzie – Sat
Ed Pullen and Ken Brown – Sun
08South Bend to GraylandFull*Lin Stern and Elijah Hayes – Fri
* Penny Rose, Scott Hoskin, and Dennis Paulson – Sat
Scott Ramos – Sun
09Long Beach Peninsula and Leadbetter PointFullJeff Gilligan – Fri
Steve Hampton – Su
10Nehalem Bay State Park Area (Oregon)FullBob and Laurie Schmidt – FriX
11Hines Marsh and Martha Jordan Birding TrailHalfDave Kreft – Fri
Jon Houghton – Sat
12Cape Disappointment State ParkHalfBruce LaBar and Marcus Roening – SatX
13Ilwaco to Chinook ValleyHalfSteve Giles – SatX
14Fort Columbia State Park to Chinook Road HalfBill Tweit – SunX
15Fort Stevens Area (Oregon)HalfRandy Robinson – Sat and SunXX
16Photographer-friendly TripHalfDave Kreft – SunX
17Shorebirds for BeginnersHalfDennis Paulson and Jane Hadley – SunX

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