Where to Look for Birds on the North Olympic Peninsula
A fancier version of this material is available on the Dungeness River Audubon Center website:
Where to Look for Birds on the North Olympic Peninsula.
From ocean beaches to the Olympic Mountains, the North Olympic Peninsula offers some of the best birding opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. Our mild winter supports large numbers of ocean birds, including waterfowl. Spring and fall are migration times and offer great diversity in species. Due to diverse habitat, from rainforest to tidelands, many species remain as summer residents. This guide notes sites that provide good birding year-round.
Clickable location map
- Sites are shown east to west; directions are from US 101 highway.
- The numbers (1-14) on the map refer to the site descriptions below. Click on a number to go directly to the description. Subsequently, click on the word Map in a title line to return to the map above.
- Some of these sites are adjacent to private property, so please respect our privilege of viewing birds in these locations and be a quiet, polite birder.
- Pets are not allowed at most sites.
- The birds named below are only a partial list of those present.
- * Important Bird Areas are identified by Audubon-Washington and National Audubon Society.
|Site 1. Gardiner Beach, Diamond Point & Discovery Bay||Map|
Fall-Winter: Waterfowl on ponds. Offshore Long-tailed and Harlequin Ducks, scoters, mergansers, loons, grebes, Pigeon Guillemots, Ancient and Marbled Murrelets. Watch for Bald Eagles, Merlins and Peregrine Falcons.
DIRECTIONS: To Gardiner Beach: From US 101 [MP 276.2] turn north on Gardiner Beach Rd. Follow signs to boat launch. To Diamond Point: From US 101 [MP 274.5] take Diamond Point Rd north 3.8 miles to T at Diamond Shores; follow 0.3 miles loop around pond.
|Site 2: South Sequim Bay / Blyn & Jimmycomelately Creek||Map|
Fall-Winter: Shorebirds on mudflats and estuary - Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, dowitchers, yellowlegs, peeps, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Snipe, Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper. Waterfowl include White-winged and Surf Scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Long-tailed Ducks, and scaup. Bald Eagles common; Merlins and Peregrine Falcons.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 271.2] at Blyn turn north on Blyn Crossing.
|Site 3. John Wayne Marina||Map|
Fall-Winter: Search gull roost at Johnson Creek for Heermann’s, Mew, Ring-billed, Bonaparte’s, and others. Shorebirds include Black-bellied Plovers, Black Oystercatchers, Marbled Godwits, Dunlins. On the bay Marbled Murrelet, Horned Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, both goldeneyes, scoters, and mergansers. Great Horned and Barred Owls in conifer-deciduous woods.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 262.2] turn northeast onto Whitefeather Way. Drive 0.6 miles downhill. Turn left (north) onto W Sequim Bay Rd. Drive 0.1 miles. Turn right into marina.
|Site 4: Washington Harbor, Schmuck Road, & Port Williams/ Marlyn Nelson County Park||Map|
Fall-Winter: Many dabbling and diving ducks. Great spot for Harlequin Ducks. Along Schmuck Rd look for swans, geese, raptors, shorebirds, pipits, larks, and W. Meadowlarks. Elk winter here. At Port Williams: Brant, Long-tailed Duck, Eared Grebe. Look for forest birds in woods.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 262.2] turn northeast on Whitefeather Way. Drive 0.6 miles downhill. Turn left (north) on W Sequim Bay Rd. Drive 2.1 miles northwest. Turn right on Washington Harbor Rd. Travel 1.4 miles to Washington Harbor, park in turnout at end of road. For Schmuck Rd go back 0.5 miles, turn right [north]. Schmuck Rd runs 1.3 miles to Port Williams Rd. At T turn right [east] to Port Williams.
|Site 5: Dungeness Bay & 3 Crabs, an “Important Bird Area”*||Map|
Fall-Winter: Excellent shorebirds, including Pectoral, Stilt, and Baird’s Sandpipers, Ruff. Search gull roosts for Heermann’s, Ring-billed, Mew, Bonaparte’s, Glaucous, California, Thayer’s, and Herring Gulls. Look for Eurasian Wigeons among Americans, Brant and other waterfowl. Merlins and Peregrine Falcons; Northern Shrike.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 264.2] eastbound or [MP 263.8] westbound, take Sequim Ave exit. Turn north on Sequim Ave. Drive 4.8 miles, turn north on Sequim-Dungeness Way. Continue through Dungeness 0.6 miles to road’s end. For ponds & marsh turn east on 3 Crabs Rd; use pullouts.
|Site 6: Dungeness Recreation Area||Map|
Fall-Winter: Raptors: Northern Harrier; Red-tailed, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks; falcons, Short-eared and Barn Owls. Sparrow flocks include Lincoln’s and White-throated. Loons, grebes, waterfowl, gulls, and alcids in the Strait.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 260.0] turn north onto Kitchen-Dick Rd. Drive 3.1 mi. Road turns right (east) becoming Lotzgesell Rd. Drive 0.1 mi. Turn left (north) onto Voice of America Rd. Park in pullouts.
|Site 7: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge & Dungeness Spit, an “Important Bird Area”*||Map|
Fall-Winter: Look for falcons, including rare Gyrfalcon; plus Snowy and Short-eared Owls in irruption years. Search for unusual shorebirds among the numerous Black-bellied Plover, Dunlin, and Sanderlings. Many Brant, wigeon, scaup, goldeneyes, scoters, mergansers and other ducks.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 at milepost 260.0, turn north onto Kitchen-Dick Rd. Drive 3.1 miles; when the road turns right (east) it becomes Lotzgesell Rd. Drive 0.1 miles Turn left (north) onto Voice of America Rd. Drive 1.0 miles through Dungeness Recreation Area to refuge parking. Fee area.
|Site 8: Sequim ’s Railroad Bridge Park & Dungeness River Audubon Center, an “Important Bird Area”*||Map|
Fall-Winter: finches, Hutton’s Vireo, Common Raven. Pacific Wren, Song, Fox, and Golden-crowned Sparrow. Year-round Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Sapsucker, small forest flocks. American Dipper, Belted Kingfisher, and Common Merganser.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 263], take River Rd exit. Turn north on River Rd. Drive 0.2 miles. Veer right (east) on Washington St. Turn left (north) onto N Priest Rd. Drive 0.6 miles. Turn left (west) onto Hendrickson Rd. Drive 0.7 miles to River Center. Guided bird walks every Wednesday at 8:30 AM.
|Site 9: Olympic National Forest: Upper waters of the Dungeness & Gray Wolf Rivers||Map|
Fall-Winter: Mixed flocks of foraging chickadees, kinglets, Brown Creepers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and woodpeckers. Owls vocal in late winter.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 [MP 267.1] take Palo Alto Rd south 7.3 miles to Olympic National Forest. At first Y, either stay left on Forest Service Rd 28 towards Mt. Zion, or go right on FS Road 2880 towards the Upper Dungeness Trailhead. Forest Service maps recommended.
|Site 10: Olympic National Park & Hurricane Ridge||Map|
Fall-Winter: Common Raven, Steller’s and Gray Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red Crossbill and other forest species.
DIRECTIONS: From US 101 in Port Angeles, turn south on Race St. Drive 1.0 miles to Olympic National Park Visitor Center. Drive 5.0 miles to the park entrance, then continue 12 miles to Hurricane Ridge. Heart O’The Hills campground is 0.2 miles south of park entrance. Drive 8.1 miles on dirt road from Hurricane Ridge parking lot to Obstruction Point. Fee area.
|Site 11: Ediz Hook & Port Angeles Harbor||Map|
Fall-Winter: Great views of Barrow’s Goldeneyes and Harlequin Ducks. Search logs in harbor for gulls, cormorants, and shorebirds, including turnstones, plovers, and peeps. Possible Rock Sandpipers, Surfbirds, Wandering Tattlers, Thayer’s and Glaucous Gulls. Offshore in Strait look for Long-tailed Ducks, scoters, grebes, loons, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled and Ancient Murrelets, and phalaropes.
DIRECTIONS: From downtown Port Angeles, travel west on Marine Dr. by waterfront. Travel 2.5 miles through paper mill to Ediz Hook.
|Site 12: Elwha River Estuary||Map|
Fall-Winter: Great spot for Thayer’s Gull, along with Herring, California, and Mew. Scan ponds for Gadwall, Am. and Eurasian Wigeons, both scaups, Hooded Merganser, and occasional Ruddy Ducks. Check offshore loons for Pacific, Red-throated, and Yellow-billed, and grebes for Red-necked, Horned, and Westerns. Sea ducks include Long-tailed Ducks, scoters, goldeneyes, mergansers, and Harlequin Ducks. American Dippers grace the river. Check woods for kinglets, chickadees, wrens, woodpeckers, and thrushes.
DIRECTIONS: From Port Angeles travel west on US 101. Turn north [right] on Hwy 112. On Hwy 112 [MP 58.9] turn north (right) on Place Rd. Drive 1.8 mi, at Y veer right; park in pullouts.
|Site 13: Salt Creek County Park||Map|
Fall-Winter: Look for Black Oystercatchers, loons, grebes, Harlequin Ducks, falcons, and Bald Eagles. Turkey Vulture migration overhead in Sept/Oct.
DIRECTIONS: From Port Angeles travel west on US 101, turn north [right] onto Hwy 112. On Hwy 112 [MP 53.8] turn north on Camp Hayden Rd. Drive 3.4 mi to County Park entrance. In Park drive west 1.2 mi through campground to Tongue Point at end of road.
|Site 14: Neah Bay & Cape Flattery**||Map|
DIRECTIONS: Travel west on US 101, turn north on Hwy 113 at Sappho. Hwy 113 merges with Hwy 112 in 11 miles. Travel 25 miles west to Neah Bay. Continue along waterfront to Fort St, turn left. Drive 1 block. Turn right on 3rd. Drive 1 block. Turn left onto Cape Flattery Rd. Drive 7.4 miles to Cape Flattery trail parking. Walk trail 0.6 miles to viewing platform. [**Recreational Permit required on Makah Tribal Lands; purchase at Washburn’s Store, Makah Marina, or Makah Museum.]