Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society

Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society

Serving Benton and Franklin Counties since 1965

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Othello, Moses Lake, Vantage, Washtucna

The Great Washington State Birding Trail Map for the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway is available from Audubon Washington. The map offers more birding locations and  information for birding areas north of Othello.

Hanford Reach National Monument (HRNM) - Wahluke Unit
, Franklin and Grant Counties, Washington
click here for Google Map
Coordinates:  46.723741,-119.424906 (Parking area on Highway 24)

The Monument contains shrub-steppe, riparian, and aquatic habitats that no longer exist or are declining in much of the Lower Columbia Basin. It's a good place to look for Sage Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, and Long-billed Curlew. Also see maps for Vernita, FEALE, and Ringold which are near or are part of the Monument.  

There are several locations within the Monument with parking areas and where different birds can be seen.  One of these is White Bluffs Boat Launch - walk this area. Deep water has Common Loon, waterfowl (once including Red-breasted Merganser among other more common birds), Bald Eagles in winter, shorebirds are possible.  This area can be crowded during fishing season.

See Google Map link (above) or Monument maps link (below) for details on all areas.

For information and maps about the entire Monument, visit the USFWS Hanford Reach National Monument webpage.

See also Birder's Guide to Washington, Page 369-371.

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge
Adams and Grant Counties, Washington
click here for Google Map
46.826317,-119.164753 (Main Refuge Office)

Columbia NWR covers a huge area in Adams and Grant counties. Marsh and shrub-steppe habitats with basalt geological features make it a very interesting place to find birds. Get a refuge brochure at Main Office in Othello.

The Othello area Sandhill Crane Festival is held in late March.  Much of the refuge is used by the cranes for roosting and feeding at that time of year.

In addition to the Sandhill Cranes, Columbia NWR has a great variety of water birds (winter) and shrub-steppe birds (mostly spring) as well as raptors (year round) and riparian birds (migration and summer).

Othello:  Para Ponds / West McManamon Road,
County Line Ponds, Camano Island Feed Lot, and Corfu,

Othello, Adams County, Washington
click here for Google Map
46.858137,-119.184494 (Para Ponds)
46.825318,-119.381905 (County Line Ponds)
46.852678,-119.459839 (Corfu)

These places are the most typical Othello locations mentioned in the Bird Sightings column, and is one of the only fairly reliable places to find Tricolored Blackbird in winter in the state.  Sandhill Cranes are viewed in many areas here in spring.

Para Ponds are located on McManamon Road, north out of Othello.  The other locations are found on Highway 26 west out of Othello.  

Corfu is reached via a secondary road south off Highway 26.  Some areas of Corfu are part of Columbia NWR - check fields for American Tree Sparrow in winter. This is a night roost for thousands of waterfowl and Sandhill Cranes in spring. Road may be closed to protect Sandhill Crane during migration. The rarest bird seen here was a Black-tailed Gull among Ring-billed Gulls (second state record).

County Line Ponds often has shorebirds in Spring and Fall.  However, there is not much room to pull off. BE VERY CAREFUL OF HIGH SPEED TRAFFIC on the highway. 

Feedlots near Para Ponds as well as the Camano Island feedlot are where to look for
Tricolored Blackbird among the thousands of others.  There is no good place to park and again, be very careful of fast traffic.

The Othello Sandhill Crane Festival is held in Othello each Spring.  

See also Birder's Guide to Washington, Page 366-68.

Lind Coulee / Perch Point, Grant County, Washington
click here for Google Map
46.989504,-119.208269 (Lind Coulee)
46.99609,-119.27659 (Perch Point)

This birding area is located on the east side of the Potholes Reservoir.  From Highway 17, turn west on O'Sullivan Dam Road (Hwy 262), north on Road M SE, then take dirt road just past the bridge following the coulee for overlooks of larger bodies of water.  Rarities such as Ruff have been seen.  When other shorebirding locations have high water, Lind Coulee may be the best place to check.  Dirt roads here allow overlook of the larger area of water. Look for Western and Clark's Grebes, Great Egret, shorebirds, and more. Franklin's Gull is sometimes present. Continue on Road M SE to reach Perch Point.  

See also Birder's Guide to Washington, by H. A. Opperman, Page 357

Vantage area, Kittitas County, Washington
(including Huntzinger Road /  Wanapum Dam / Sentinel Gap / Gingko State Park / Old Vantage Highway)

click here for Google Map
Coordinates:  46.940682,-119.984951 (Vantage)          

A good birding drive is found in the Vantage area.  From Huntzinger Road at Beverly Junction, drive north as it becomes Wanapum Road through Wanapum Park and Ginkgo State Park, then turn west on the Old Vantage Highway.  Look for migrants and waterfowl.  

From Huntzinger Road, bird the Columbia River and cliffs.  Carefully check below Wanapum Dam in winter as loons should be present.  Yellow-billed and Red-throated have been seen among Pacific and Common Loons.  Black-throated Sparrows have bred in this area.  Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches have over-wintered on cliffs in old Cliff Swallow nests.

The isolated group of trees at Sentinel Gap Oasis (just south of Beverly) has had a wide variety of migrants and vagrants,

Along the Old Vantage Highway to Kittitas, look for shrub-steppe birds in the native habitat. 

For more information on the Parks along this route, see Ginkgo State Park and Wanapum State Park webpages.

See also Birder's Guide to Washington, Pages 289, 290 and 361.

Bassett Park / Washtucna, Adams County, Washington
click here for Google Map (map view of road directions to Washtucna)
click here for Google Map (closeup satellite view of parking & Park)
Coordinates:  46.750594,-118.317175

Washtucna is an birding oasis in the midst of agriculture, a hotspot for migrants and vagrants. Located in the town of Washtucna, Bassett Park has had its share of rarities including Indigo Bunting, Black-throated Green Warbler and many more. Respect private property but drive roads to find flocks also.

See also Birder's Guide to Washington, Page 374