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San Juan Island, WA


    The San Juan Islands are both a beautiful place to visit and to bird.  I’ve birded several of the islands: San Juan Island (the main island), Orcas, and Lopez.  On San Juan Island, I’ve camped at the San Juan Island County Park.  In March, the campground was absolutely deserted.  I was the only one there.  I woke up one morning to the loud calls of Black Oystercatchers.  It was quite a delightful alarm clock!  A couple of other good places to look for birds on San Juan Island are the British and American Camps, Lime Kiln Park (also good for orca watching), and Cattle Point.  A lot of the “public” beaches are cut off by private property and inaccessible, but there are good parks that offer views into the Strait of Juan de Fucca. 
    On Orcas Island, Moran State park has good camping and is a good place to hike and look for forest birds.  We’ve gone up to Mount Constitution, unfortunately it was cloudy and there wasn’t much of a view.
    Lopez Island also has camping at Spencer Spit State park located on the inner passage between islands and not much of a view into open waters.
    All of the islands have a domestic rabbit explosion, which is unfortunate.  I’ve seen fox on San Juan Island, but I think the prey far out number the predators.
Bird List

Common Loon
Pacific Loon
Red-necked Grebe
Western Grebe
Horned Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Long-tailed Duck
American Wigeon
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Common Merganser
Harlequin Duck
Ring-necked Duck
Common Goldeneye
Barrow's Goldeneye
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Harrier
California Quail
Ring-necked Pheasant
Black Oystercatcher
Glaucous-winged Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Pigeon Guillemot
Common Murre
Marbled Murrelet
Rhinoceros Auklet
Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Steller's Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Shrike
Tree Swallow
Violet Green Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Hermit Thrush
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler - "Audubon's"
Song Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Spotted Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Red Crossbill
American Goldfinch
Pine Siskin

Critter List

Black-tailed Deer
Domestic Cottontail
Red Fox
Gray Fox
Harbor Seal
Steller's Sea Lion
Killer Whale
Dall's Porpoise



Directions: take the ferry from Anacortes, WA
San Juan Island County Park
Moran State Park
Spencer Spit State Park


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page updated: 3/18/08