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Leadbetter State Park/Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Long Beach Peninsula, WA


Synopsis

    Wildlife and birds abound at Leadbetter Point.  Snowy plovers nest on the outer coast (this area is closed in the spring and summer) and an inner bay offers great chances to see some shorebirds.  We once saw a black bear in the park.  It was lumbering across the trail and was greatly surprised (as were we) that it wasn’t alone.  The bear took off in a flash and went crashing through the brush – a proper reaction for a black bear.
    We’ve hiked a large portion of Leadbetter Point.  We’ve gone mainly in the off-season, early in the year, when the trails are largely still flooded.  Most of the time with rubber boots, we’re able to hike across the peninsula out to the coast.  We've also been on the trails when the water gets above our boots - the water is quite cold! Pretty much the entire park is hikable, with the exception of the protected area for the snowy plovers, and one could walk around the entire point (probably over a 10 mile hike).  However, the inside of the point seems a little marshy and wet, making rubber boots very handy.  During early spring, the mosquitoes are numerous and aggressive – bug spray is a must.
    There are several units of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.  I’m most familiar with Leadbetter Point, but I have visited other units (Lewis and Riekkola) located on the southern most parts of Willapa Bay.  They weren’t too exciting for me; there are waterfowl (and hunting), but not much hiking.  We haven’t been to the Long Island in Willapa Bay, but it looks like a great place to stay and hike around.  It’s only reachable by boat/kayak/canoe.

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Pictures

Sun over Willapa Bay as the clouds lift (10/10/09)
Flooding on the trail can get quite deep in some places.
On this trip, rubber boots weren't able to keep our feet dry on the flooded trails. The water was simply too deep in several places.
1/29/11
Liverwort
1/29/11
Peeps on the mudflat
Garter Snake

10.8.11

Red-legged Frog
Strong winds and rain drive waves of sand along the surface of the beach.
Sandpiper tracks (10/10/09)
Scoping out the many sandpipers on the outer oceanshore of Leadbetter.
1/28/11
American Wigeons and Northern Pintails in a large flock in Willapa Bay

10.8.11

Black-bellied Plover
1/29/11
Black-bellied Plover
1/29/11
Dunlin
1/29/11
Sanderling
1/29/11
Sanderling
1/29/11
Dunlin
1/29/11
Sandpiper pokings in the sand
1/29/11
On this visit, we saw 3 (maybe 4) peregrines and 1 merlin on the outer coast. They cruised over the beach looking for their next meal.

This young peregrine perched on a stump no more than 20 feet in front of us before taking off down the beach to flush the flocks of dunlin and sanderlings.

1/29/11

Peregrine
1/29/11
Peregrine with a full crop
1/29/11

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Bird List
Canada Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Black Brant
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Bufflehead
Green-winged Teal
American Wigeon
Red-breasted Merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant
Ruffed Grouse
Common Loon
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Western Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Harrier
Peregrine Falcon
Merlin
Semipalmated Plover
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Red-necked Phalarope
Sanderling
Dunlin
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Mew Gull
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Heerman's Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Murre
Vaux Swift
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pacific-sloped Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Hutton's Vireo
Steller's Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Hutton's Vireo
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Bushtit
Brown Creeper
Pacific Wren
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Spotted Towhee
American Goldfinch

Other Critter List


Black Bear
Elk
California Sea Lion
Douglas Squirrel
Townsend's Chipmunk
Garter Snake
Red-legged Frog
Pacific Tree Frog

October 2009
January 2011
October 2011

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Information

Located: Long Beach Peninsula, WA; in the southwest corner of Washington
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

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page updated: 10/10/11