Where to find birds in Kitsap County
Kitsap County is bordered on the west by a natural fjord, the Hood Canal. On the north and east, it is bounded by Puget Sound. Its 236 miles of salt-water shoreline offer more marine habitat than any other county in the lower 48 states. Surrounded almost entirely by saltwater, the Kitsap Peninsula is visited regularly by more than 200 species of birds. Some 115 species nest here. Marine birds are abundant from November through March, with over-wintering loons, grebes and cormorants readily seen along the shores. Waterfowl are also plentiful in the winter months, including wigeons, scoters, mergansers and goldeneyes. Although spring and fall migrations often bring surprises, the species noted for each location are those you are most likely to see. * In county parks, restrooms may only be open from April through September.
Kingston Areas 1 & 2
Kingston Marina/Park: Appletree Cove • Marine and mudflat habitats on quiet bay • American and Eurasian Wigeon, gulls • Public fishing pier, visitors dock, walkway viewing sites
Arness County Park : Marine and slough habitats • Opposite side of Appletree Cove with added view into Carpenter Creek slough • Portable toilet, small parking area.
Point No Point, Hansville Areas 3 & 4
Pt.-No-Pt. County Park, a designated IBA (Important Bird Area) • Extensive views of Admiralty Inlet • Marine, sandy beach, marsh, and wooded habitats • Best known for alcids, loons and cormorants, as well as large numbers of Bonaparte’s and Heermann’s gulls in the fall • Viewing platform, trails and beach access • Portable toilet, limited handicap access.
Buck Lake County Park • Aquatic and wooded habitats, open fields • Hooded Merganser and Pied-billed Grebe, warblers in migration • Extensive trail system called the Hansville Greenway
Serious birders have been know to fly halfway around the world to add a rare bird to their life list. But the good news for those with more modest goals and means is that you don’t have to travel far to find great birds. You can stretch your budget and conserve energy but seeking out local treasures. Kitsap County is blessed with wonderful winter birding. For many of the species that breed in the Arctic, the sheltered, ice-free shorelines of Kitsap County are almost tropical, compared to the Arctic in winter. Point-No-Point County Park It’s hard to pick a favorite birding spot, but Point-No-Point County Park in Hansville is high on most local lists. As an important stopover for migrating birds, it’s one of National Audubon’s official IBAs (Important Bird Area). Thousands of songbirds pause here before crossing the Admiralty Straits on their annual journey north. It’s also an important rest stop on the return trip. The tidal eddies around the point provide an upwelling of nutrients that attract both fish and the birds that feed on them. Birders watch with anticipation for the annual vists of migrating Common Terns, Red-necked Phalaropes and both Heerman’s and Bonaparte’s Gulls. Parasitic Jaegers often tag along, and put on great aerial “combat” displays. The Point is also a popular winter hangout for Ancient Murrelets, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinocerus Auklets, and a variety of wintering loons, grebes, scoters and other marine birds. There is often a surprise or two, bringing birders from every corner of the State A trail that skirts the shoreline features a viewing platform funded by the Kitsap Audubon Society. It looks east across Puget Sound and west toward an extensive wetlands. The tangle of shrubs that line the trail are often alive with smaller birds. The trail leads from the lighthouse to a hilltop park that offers prime wooded habitat.
Norwegian County Park: A short distance away, next to the Hansville general store, Norwegian County Park is fairly new. Like nearby Point-No-Point, it looks across the Admiralty Straits toward Whidbey Island, and gets much the same marine activity. Rafts of birds wander back and forth, so it’s worth checking out both view locations. The Hansville Greenway links this area with trails through Buck Lake County Park, where Ospreys nest in the summer and Eagles reign in winter.
Port Gamble Areas 5 & 6
Port Gamble Marine habitat of the Hood Canal, wooded slopes, open lawns, bluff viewing platform, small park, no facilities
Salisbury Point County Park Marine habitat of the Hood Canal, wooded habitats, boat launch, beach access, trails
Poulsbo Areas 7 & 8
Poulsbo Marina and Waterfront Parks • Marine, mudflat, and wooded habitats • A great diversity of marine birds in the winter • Public docks, boardwalk, trails
Oyster Plant Park • Marine habitat, pocket park • Public dock and kayak launch • No facilities
Bainbridge Island Areas 9, 10, & 11
Faye Bainbridge Park • Sandy beach, open marine and wooded habitats • Marine birds, Bald Eagle, Osprey • Trails, beach access, views across Puget Sound
Battle Point Park • Ponds, fields, woods • Winter ducks, summer passerines
Ft. Ward State Park • Rocky shore, marine and wooded habitats • Marine birds include Surf and White-winged Scoter, Western, Red-necked and Horned Grebe and Long-tailed Duck • Trails, beach access • Views across Rich Passage
Silverdale Area, Dyes Inlet 12, 13 & 14
Island Lake County Park • Aquatic, riparian and wooded habitats • Walks and trails • Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers in winter
Silverdale Waterfront County Park • Pebble beach and open bay marine habitats • Panoramic view of Dyes Inlet • Best as a marine birding site in winter
Old Mill County Park and Clear Creek Trail • Pebble beach and open bay; marine, estuarine and riparian habitats • Contiguous with the Clear Creek Trail system • Limited parking at park, none along trails • Purple martin nest box site
Bremerton, Port Washington Narrows Areas 15, 16, & 17
Lion’s Field Park • Rocky marine habitat along the “narrows” • Both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, as well as Long-tailed Ducks in the winter
Lower Rota Vista Park, north end of Elizabeth Ave. • Rocky marine habitat • Large Pelagic Cormorant roost and Peregrine Falcon nest under Warren Ave. Bridge. • Walkway down bluff to viewing area • Limited parking, no facilities, no handicapped access Port Orchard, Sinclair Inlet
Pt. Orchard Marina and Park • Open bay marine habitat • Thousands of White-winged Scoters and American Wigeons in winter, as well as Western Grebes • Best viewing from park at east end of Marina
OTHER "HOT SPOTS" THAT LOCAL BIRDERS HAVE FOUND
Belfair: Mary Theiler Wetlands - great walks
Bellingham: 262 Hovander/Tennant Lake ..Boardwalk and viewing tower. If very wet, boardwalk gets under water.
Chimacum: Across Hood Canal Bridge, SR-19, Beaver Valley Rd to Chimacum.. Intersection … closest to Chimacum Café, Left/North (on ?W Valley Rd ) about 1 mile, in winter small flock of swans. Flock is reportedly slowly growing each year
Hansville: N on Bond Rd, W on Hansville Rd (7.5 mi) Point No Point Lighthouse area (Hansville Rd 7.4 mi, R on E Pt No Pt Rd) shore birds & marsh birds Bucks Lake (with trails). (Hansville Rd 7.4 mi, L on NE Buck Lake Road and follow signs. Nature Conservancy land and trail. Follow Hansville Rd to end, follow L on Twin Spits Road along the shore, approximately 2.7 miles. On Left, minimally marked trail entrance (between 2 No Parking Dusk to Dawn signs and across from red mail box address signs for 3476-3480). Trail goes out to Hood Canal. Probably nicer as a walk than specific birding location.
Hood Canal: Shine Tidelands State Park, North across Hood Canal Bridge (on Jefferson County end) and immediate right, follow signs.
Lacey: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Exit # 114 off I-5.
Port Townsend: Marina, walk along the trail … ? direction. Kingfisher nest holes in cliff. Kah Tai Lagoon, behind McDonald restaurant, usually see Ruddy Ducks and Mergansers. Fort Worden Various sites, from shore, from cliff above, from outside…
Poulsbo: Liberty Bay. Park in downtown parking lot. Walk from the Poulsbo Marina, and right (North) along the boardwalk.
Seabeck: Big Beef Creek, frequently an eagle, occasional year large numbers in May - June, feeding on salmon. Seabeck Marina Wildcat Lake
Skagit Valley: Eagles, Snow Geese, Swans (December thru March) Fir Island fish wildlife Refuge - Snow Geese area Debay Slough, Swan preserve. Off I-5 , East on College ; North on… Padilla Bay Reserve
Silverdale: Clear Creek Trail and Old Mill Park Old Mill Park (between Silverdale Hotel & Christa Shores)
Washington Coast: (see Bob Morse's "A Birder's Guide to Coastal Washington") Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival, approximately last weekend in April (high tide) (See http://www.ghas.org ) Bowerman Basin Area (Grays Harbor) Ocean Shores