Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society

Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society

Serving Benton and Franklin Counties since 1965

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Birding Locations: South Richland and farther South to the Columbia River, Benton County, Washington

The Great Washington State Birding Trail Map for the Sun and Sage Loop is available fromAudubon Washington. The map offers more birding locations and information for birding in South Central Washington.

Amon Creek and Willowbrook neighborhood, Richland, Benton County, Washington
click here for Google Map
Coordinates: 46.212566,-119.259939 (Center Blvd. parking area)

Amon Creek runs from Meadow Springs along Leslie Road and empties into the Yakima River. Amon Creek Basin is a unique shrub-steppe and riparian habitat home to ducks, beaver, salmon and coyotes. Naturally migrant birds are drawn to this area and the adjacent Willowbrook neighborhood. Three parking areas provide access for birding - Claybell Park, Leslie Rd., Center Blvd. Walk the area looking for migrants and water birds.

Development may change access. New roads are slated for this area.
Strong community efforts to preserve the basin and clean up accumulations of debris are underway. Birding along Amon Creek is productive. Volunteering time and money to preserve the area is also productive.

For more information, visitTapteal Greenway Association's Amon Creek webpage.

Heaven Hills Map 2, Benton County, Washington
includes: Clodfelter, Badger Canyon, Cemetery Roads
click here for Google Map
Coordinates: 46.196468,-119.265518
(intersection of E Badger Rd and Leslie Rd)

This route connects to Webber Canyon Route (see Horse Heaven Hills Map 1), and consists of mostly paved roads through the Horse Heaven Hills. If dirt roads are not mushy, drive Cemetery, Clodius, Tyacke, etc for winter hawks and Horned Lark flocks which may contain Lapland Longspur or Snow Bunting. American Pipits are seen in migration along these roads. Badger Canyon Road is dirt and a bit steep but can be driven. It leads to Badger Road which before development had winter and nesting hawks, Northern Shrike, and Burrowing Owls.

Fairly often a neighborhood or city in general is mentioned in the Bird Sightings column. Places like Rancho Reata, Canyon Terrace, Red Mountain or Meadow Springs are typical. Maps of these locations are not included on this website as typically the birds were on private property and are not accessible for general birding.

Paterson Slough Unit / Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, Benton County, Washington
click here for Google Map
Coordinates: 45.92417,-119.427223 (Refuge entrance)

Paterson Slough is part of the Umatilla NWR on the north side of the Columbia River, near Plymouth, Washington. From the Tri-Cities, take Interstate 82 south to Plymouth, then west on Highway 14. At the Refuge, proceed down the road, take the right fork, and stop at the pond. Shorebird viewing here is excellent if you have a scope.

The drive in is along a cobble dirt road but the view of the Columbia River keeps one distracted. Bird the rocks where gulls and terns rest. American White Pelican are usually present. Rarities such as Red-brested Merganser have been found.

If the river is low, look for shorebirds on the rocks and shoreline in season. A scope is necessary. Drive both roads of the fork but the pond on the right hand road is the target. A huge variety of shorebirds have been found in the proper season when water levels are low enough to have mud exposed. As always, check trees for migrants. Long-billed Curlew nest in low numbers. As you drive in, scan the rocks in the river for gulls, terns, American White Pelican or Red-breasted Merganser (which are rare in the interior). A few Long-billed Curlews may nest here in late spring.

See also A Birder's Guide to Washington, Page 343.

Whitcomb Island, Benton County, Washington
click here for Google Map
Coordinates:  45.867899,-119.74381

A few miles west of Paterson is Whitcomb Island, also part of the Umatilla NWR. Turn from Highway 14 and drive the refuge roads.  This is a good location to look for migrants and waterfowl.  Waterfowl may be skittish due to hunting and may have flushed to the river.  Check the slough as you cross - shorebirds may be present in spring or fall.  In February, Canada, Snow and Cackling Geese gather in the fields. Check for the more rare Ross' and Greater White-fronted Geese.

Whitcomb is on the Lewis and Clark Trail; for historical information, see the English River webpage Whitcomb Island

See also A Birder's Guide to Washington, Page 343

Crow Butte Park, Benton County, Washington
click here for Google Map
Coordinates:  45.864642,-119.829919

Administered by the Corps of Engineers, Crow Butte Park is an island in the Columbia River, accessed from Highway 14.  Turning from the highway, bird the causeway for marsh birds.  Rarities here have included Swamp Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat and Snowy Egret.  Park trees are great for migrants with vagrants such as American Redstart.  Winter rarities here have included Steller's Jay and Mountain Chickadee.
Crow Butte is typically closed in winter but one can walk in. Check trees for over-wintering birds. A Mountain Checkadee and Steller's Jays have been found. In early migration, before a lot of campers arrive, migrants are the target. Rarities such as American Redstart have been found in the park and Swamp Sparrow, Snowy Egret, and Common Yellowthroat have been found in the wetlands along the causeway.

See also A Birder's Guide to Washington, Page 342

Crow Butte is popular with campers, wind surfers and birders, attracted by long freshwater shoreline. The Park is named for early homesteaders on what was once a hill, becoming an island when John Day Dam was built.  Although closed for camping in the winter Crow Butte can be birded any time.  The Park is on the Lewis and Clark Trail.  See also the Crow Butte Park webpage.