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      Whatbird Forums Rules   01/08/17

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Plannig a Road Trip with the family. It’s not a “birding” trip, but I will be able to stop whenever I want to bird along the trip, you know...since I’m the man of the house!!! (As long as it’s okay with my wife that is!!!! Most “birding stops” will be around 1-2 hours, so short and sweet. Except nation parks, and major stoping points, which I will have 1-4 days at each.  My path is looking like the following:

 

Start San diego, Drive to Las Vegas after work. Stay over night.

Day 1: visit Vegas, Stay over night

Day 2: drive to Salt Lake City, Utah...(any stops along the way, off of Interstate 15?) Stay over night.

Day 3: Visit Salt Lake City, Stay Over night. (Local Birding Spots???)

Day 4: Stay at Salt Lake?/or most likely head to Yellowstone National park trough Grand Tenton.

Day 5: stay in Grand Tenton or Yellowstone (most likely YellowStone)

Day 6-7: Visit Yellowstone

Day 8: Drive to Spokane Washigton

Day 9-12: Visit Spokane/idaho

Day 13: Drive to Seattle.

Day 14-15 Visit Seattle/Olympic National Park

Day 16 Drive to Crater Lake, Oregon

Day 17-18: Visit Crater Lake

Day 19-21: Drive back to San Diego, or spend more time at other locations throughout the trip.

 

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holy cow.  that looks pretty ambitious!  what are your goals?  to see the most species, to see ones we don’t have in San Diego, or just to get your kidlets interested in birds?

near Vegas is Henderson Viewing Preserve, i beleive in summer it’s only open till noon or 1 cause it’s so hot.  near SLC is Antelope Island, they have Chukars there.  i haven’t been to Yellowstone, but i know Great Gray Owls have been seen there.  Idaho Washington and Oregon are all good places to look for mountain birds like Gray Jays, crossbills, Black backed & 3 toed woodpeckers, grouse.  in Oregon if you go down the coast, you could stop at Haystack Rock to see Tufted Puffins.  for the last part, on the way back to San Diego, there are just sooo many places to stop.  especially if you go along the coast. near Big Sur is a place called Condor viewing spot, where you can usually see one fly by in the afternoon.  if you go down the 5 instead you could stop at Yolo bypass or Sacramento NWR.  anyways, there are so many options i think you should try to pick a couple important ones, in case you don’t have as much time as you expected (what always happens to me).

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Do you have any species in particular that you'd like to see, or would you really like anything that's not expected in SoCal? If you're able to put together a species target list, that could probably help with finding any specific locations. 

For locations with large numbers of birds, in SLC I would suggest Antelope Island. It's got lots of shorebirds, ducks, raptors, and others, and has plenty of mammals to keep the rest of the family happy (that's how it worked when I went -- they were photographing a close bison while I noticed my lifer Ferruginous Hawk circling straight above ;) ). The causeway especially has crazy numbers of ducks and shorebirds. 

I haven't been to the other locations, except Seattle when I was much younger, but I would expect that Seattle is quite similar to Vancouver in the summer. Along the coast you should be able to get quite a few shorebirds as they're right in the middle of migration, and oversummering songbirds should still be around but I imagine you would get most of those in San Diego. If you're going all the way around Olympic National Park, headed to the coast, then Neah Bay is probably worth a stop. It's a little early, but later in the fall it gets some really good rarities and still should have decent stuff for someone from SD. 

This might be out of the way, but I've also heard good things about Mt Rainier National Park. If you're lucky you could get ptarmigan, rosy-finches, or owls but I'm not sure how reliable stuff like that is. 

I'd suggest searching for other peoples' trip reports on here. I know some have done Yellowstone, and I'm sure there are others that include Las Vegas or the PNW. 

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Thanks! So great ideas and tips to start with. I’m going to start by looking at some others trip reports.

And since both of you ask, there is no real goal list right now...it’s a blank slate!!!!

Im good for seeing as many rare birds...or new birds...or birds not in San Diego! It all sounds good!

I’ll start checking out ebird to and see if I can make a goal list!

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Do you know where specifically you want to go in Olympic NP? It's a BIG park and there's no through roads so many destinations are hike-in only. Depending on where you want to go, it can be a 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 hour trip from Seattle plus summer tourist traffic. Unless you want to do things in Seattle (beautiful city with lots to do) or hit up Mt. Rainier (totally worth it, by the way, but you definitely need at least a full day to appreciate it), it might be worth making Port Angeles your base camp because it's closer (and also cheaper!) Port Angeles itself also has some good birding spots - the waterfront and pier, Ediz Hook, and the nearby mouth of the Elwha River. Salt Creek County Park to the west of the Elwha mouth is also a good spot. Farther out of the way to the east is the Port Townsend area, the Sequim area, and the area around Dungeness NWR.

Some popular and car-accessible ONP locations with my top 4 bolded: Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls, Sol Duc Hot Springs, Sol Duc Falls, Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rainforest, Lake Quinault, Elwha River Valley, Lake Ozette, Rialto Beach, Ruby Beach, and the Kalaloch Beaches.

Some specialty birds I don't think you have much or at all in San Diego: Varied Thrush, Black Swift, American Dipper, Harlequin Duck, Sooty Grouse, Red Crossbill, Evening Grosbeak, Gray Jay, Chestnut--backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Black Oystercatcher, Bald Eagle, and Ruffed Grouse. Keep in mind that August is one of the quieter times of the year for us, barring shorebird migration from mid to late August - good places for that on the coast include all around Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.

If you're up for the trip and one of the scariest roads in the state, Neah Bay is always worth a visit. It's on the Makah Reservation and you'll need to buy a $10 Recreation Pass, good for the calendar year, to park near the beaches. You can buy the pass at Washburn's General Store and the Makah Mini-Mart. Watch out for dogs in the road, lots of them roam free. You can find Tufted Puffins at Cape Flattery in August, possibly the most reliable place in the state. Hobuck Beach, the Wa'atch River Valley, the Tsoo-Yess River Valley, Bahokus Peak, and just the waterfront of the bay itself are all good areas.

I lived in Clallam Bay on the western end of the Olympic Peninsula for a year and I still know the area decently well, so let me know if you want specifics for anywhere! For that matter, I've lived in various places in Western WA most of my life and I've been all over, for birds and school and otherwise, so any questions about the greater area at all are welcomed - I'm guilty of blabbing about WA geography (and birds) for hours, if allowed.

Mt. Rainier is your best bet if you want to go for any alpine and subalpine species like Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, Pine Grosbeak, Northern Goshawk, Townsend's Solitaire, Clark's Nutcracker, or White-tailed Ptarmigan. Boreal Owls and Spotted Owls are around but hard to find. The big draw in late summer is the spectacular wildflowers so expect big crowds. Sunrise and Paradise are the two biggest spots, with Sunrise at 6400 feet being the highest point on the mountain you can reach by car. Ohanapecosh is a large tract of intact old-growth forest and would be your best bet for Spotted Owls.

I could type so so so much more but I think this is enough of an essay for one post already!

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@Corvus caurinus Thanks for the great info...I will digest what you given me and come up with a pseudo plan, then we can hoan in on the details. I definitely want to visit Mt Reiner,  I’m just worried about the family... so I’m gonna check travel times....

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Corvus caurinus has given you an excellent synopsis of birding on the west side of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. I live in Yakima, on the East side of the mountains, which is about 30 miles from your I-90 route from Spokane to Seattle. If you would like, I can recommend some birding stops between Spokane and Seattle. Just send me a message. 

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That time of year you can take a pelagic bird trip off the coast at West Port,  WA or possibly a bird watching trip out to the Straits of Juan De Fuca.   If you go out to Neah Bay and take a short hike to see Tatoosh Island there should be some bird viewing there also.  It's incredibly remote and so beautiful you'll just stand there and stare at it. 

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