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A Fall Trip to Port Townsend to See Shorebirds

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Port Townsend is a wonderful little town for a day trip from Seattle or a weekend visit any time of year. It is located right at the tip of a peninsula and has an amazing waterfront facing the entrance to the Puget Sound. While we came to view the fall shorebirds and other wildlife you could also come just for the shops, eatery’s, and views of the water. While there is excellent hotels and state park camping in the area we were lucky enough to find a spot at the Point Hudson Marina and RV Park for our Scamp Birdie. Located right on the water we only had a 20 yard walk to the beach as well as only two blocks to downtown Port Townsend!

For nature lovers like us a visit to Fort Warden State Park is a must. Fort Warden is one of the trio of Forts built at the build up to World War I termed the ‘Triangle of Fire’ along with Fort Flagler and Fort Casey. Fort Casey on Whidbey Island is all a great place to visit and is right near Crockett Lake where we observed the River Otters earlier this year. You can also take the Port Townsend ferry straight over to Fort Casey for a day trip! Fort Warden maintains the Point Wilson Light House as well as a Marine Science Center out on a large pier which is always fun to take the kids to when open. It also has many trails along both the beach and above on the bluff, you could spend a whole weekend exploring this park.

As well as Fort Warden there is Port Townsend State Park just south of town, and Kah Tai Lagoon Park right in town, both of which we’d like to spend more time exploring on our next visit.

For this trip we did not have to go far to find wildlife – right there on our waterfront at Point Hudson we saw a variety of shorebirds! In the Marina there was a resident Belted Kingfisher coming and going and finding good high points to monitor the fish inside the breakwater. I have yet to see a Kingfisher nest but they apparently burrow into sandy banks or even gravel banks near a shore. They will show up near any source of water, they have a distinct call so you know when they’re nearby. One of my favorite birds to watch as they will repeatedly make big swooping dives into the water to feed.

Early in the morning we were lucky to see a large group of Black Turnstone’s right on the shore near the Marina, visiting with another large group of Sanderlings. Black Turnstones spend their nesting time up in Alaska and then the rest of the year all along our coasts, they use their beaks to – you guessed it – turn stones looking for small crabs or other tasty tidbits on the beach. And of course we were also visited by one of our more common shorebirds, the Killdeer pictured above.

Whether you’re visiting the state or just live near Seattle you will not regret a day trip to Port Townsend!

Things to Note:

  • We really enjoyed the Blue Moose Cafe for breakfast, and although very busy the Owl Sprit Cafe for lunch had excellent sandwiches!
  • A recent article from the Seattle Times details a day trip for dinner and a movie.

Useful Links:

  • Please check out the Kingsyard banner above and give it click. They make some really cool bird feeders and bird houses that you’ll want to check out!
  • Most of these shots were taken with the Sony a7 along with the Sony FE 200-600mm lens.


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