2023 Oregon – Klamath Basin & the Coast
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Strenuous
Group Size Medium Group
Our Oregon adventure begins on the coast at Tillamook Bay, one of the prime birding areas in the entire Pacific Northwest. Tillamook and nearby Bayocean Spit will yield an incredible variety of seabirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, and related species.
A full-day pelagic trip with Tim Shelmerdine and Oregon Pelagic Tours will take us into the Pacific in search of tubenoses: Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, and many others. This trip has produced some incredible rarities including the Short-tailed and Laysan Albatrosses that we found on a previous tour.
After another day of coastal birding, we move inland to Crater Lake, the Klamath Basin, Tule Lake (in northern California), and a total change of pace. Now we’ll be looking at dozens of Bald Eagles, thousands of ducks and geese, and large flocks of Sandhill Cranes. There should be Ferruginous Hawks and hopefully a Short-eared Owl. Great Gray Owl is resident here, and we will make every effort to find one, as we have in the past.
A few of the more intriguing songbirds we will seek include Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Wrentit, Townsend’s Solitaire, Tricolored Blackbird, and American Dipper. Woodpeckers include American Three-toed, Black-backed, Lewis’s, and White-headed. Our final stops are Ankeny NWR and Sauvie Island near Portland. These are excellent songbird areas and great spots for scoping more waterfowl, raptors, and Sandhill Cranes.
Duration: 10 days
Limit: 4 – 8
Date: 01 October – 10 October 2023
Start: Portland, OR
End: Portland, OR
US$4320 per person sharing assuming 4 – 8 participants
Single supplement: US$735
We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail [email protected] for details.
- Guiding fees
- Entrance fees
- All transport while on tour
- Domestic and International flights
- Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
- Alcoholic drinks
- Personal insurance
- Laundry Service
Tillamook Bay and Bayocean Spit
Plan to arrive at Portland International Airport by early afternoon. Participants often prefer to arrive in Portland a day early, just in case of a flight delay. We’ll work our way toward the coast with our first planned stop being Tillamook Bay and Bayocean Spit, one of the prime birding areas in the Pacific Northwest. We should be able to find a nice assortment of Pacific seabirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, and then head south.
Overnight: Lincoln City
Birding the West Coast
Most of our day will be devoted to searching for coastal species, many of which will be different from those that we’ll see on tomorrow’s pelagic trip. Siletz Bay should yield some of our expected loons and cormorants. Lingering shorebirds congregate at Drift Creek, a great location to search for Baird’s Sandpiper and Marbled Godwit.
A flock of Pectoral Sandpipers could yield a big bonus, the rare Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Boiler Bay is good for Black Oystercatcher, Marbled Murrelet, Common Murre, and any number of pelagic species. We will make several stops around Yaquina Bay in Newport to look for Harlequin Duck, ‘jetty’ shorebirds, Western Grebe, and flocks of scoters and other sea ducks. We’ll also search for the elusive Wrentit. This area yielded a lingering Palm Warbler on a previous tour.
Overnight: Lincoln City
Pacific Pelagic from Lincoln City
The entire day will be spent at sea with Tim Shelmerdine and Oregon Pelagic Tours. Our offshore destination is Perpetua Bank. Tim says: “We have refined our route and timing to detect the most species and highest number of birds, including albatrosses and rarities.
Albatrosses will include Black-footed, and possibly Laysan and others. We encounter commercial fishing boats frequently that attract hundreds, and even thousands of seabirds, which we leisurely scrutinize at point blank range! Marine animals, including whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and other fish are often spotted. Our expert seabird guides help you spot and identify all the birds and marine life that we encounter.
Your fantastic bird watching trip starts in Yaquina Bay with abundant waterbirds and the chance for rocky-type shorebirds on the jetties. Then, on our large, comfortable charter vessel, you move along shore briefly, viewing Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, and other near shore specialties, including Gray Whales. Soon we’re heading offshore, while your guides point out pelagic birds flying by or sitting on the water ahead.
Our first chum stop is on the shelf break, 27 miles off Newport. After we’re satisfied here we head south 15 miles to the seaward slope of the Perpetua Bank sea mount. At this outstanding underwater feature we’ll again use chum to attract albatrosses and other seabirds right up to the boat for you to observe and photograph!”
What a day! We will return to a good dinner and a restful night.
Overnight: Lincoln City
NOTE: We may have to adjust our tour schedule slightly to accommodate any change in the pelagic trip schedule.
Seal Rock State Park and Fern Ridge Lake
Our morning starts along the coast, returning to some intriguing areas visited on Friday and stopping at a few new ones. Seal Rock State Park is our most reliable location to look for Surfbird and Wandering Tattler, plus sea ducks and gulls, and pods (herds) of Harbor Seals and Sea Lions.
Then we turn inland toward Eugene and an afternoon at Fern Ridge Lake. Raptors may include Cooper’s Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, and White-tailed Kite, with the chance of a Short-eared Owl quartering over the grasslands. We’ll look for shorebirds, rails, and bitterns in nearby marshlands and mudflats, and check the hedgerows for Golden-crowned Sparrows and perhaps an Orange-crowned Warbler and Bewick’s Wren.
Crater Lake, Oregon’s only National Park
Our first stop is majestic Crater Lake, Oregon’s only National Park. This will give us our best opportunity for high elevation species such as Canada Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. A past tour yielded Say’s Phoebe, Prairie Falcon, and a flock of Evening Grosbeaks.
Lodgepole and pine-hemlock forests contain Sooty Grouse, Black-backed and American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, and Townsend’s Solitaire. Extensive Ponderosa Pine stands to the south are home to White-headed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Red Crossbill. Today’s birding may not be easy, but the birds that we find will be very rewarding.
Overnight: Klamath Falls
Upper Klamath Lake and Fort Klamath
Today we explore Upper Klamath Lake and Fort Klamath, with their forests, fields, and beautiful streams. This is one of the best areas in North America to see large numbers of waterfowl and raptors; nearly 350 species of birds have been identified here.
The weather can be expected to be beautiful, with 300 days of sunshine annually. We will make a special effort for the magnificent Great Gray Owl: there are several especially good areas near Fort Klamath for this majestic species. We heard one and then had close looks at a second one on a previous tour. You can expect Mountain Bluebird, White-headed Woodpecker, California Quail, and Ruffed Grouse.
Overnight: Klamath Falls
Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Lake NWRs
Today we make the short drive south to Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Lake NWRs in northern California. There are so many varied habitats that the birding opportunities are almost endless. You will probably see larger numbers of waterfowl today than you have ever seen in your life!
New species that we may find include Black-crowned Night-Heron, Tricolored Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Clark’s Grebe, Ferruginous Hawk, and Sandhill Crane. We may find Canyon Wren and Rock Wren on the same rocky cliff, with Townsend’s Solitaire, Loggerhead Shrike, and Yellow-headed Blackbird nearby.
Overnight: Klamath Falls
Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge
We’ll have part of the day for more exploration in this incredible area, looking for any species that may have eluded us during the past few days, perhaps Lesser Goldfinch or a difficult woodpecker. Then it will be time to drive north to Portland with stops at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge along the way. Ankeny NWR is always on the agenda for Acorn Woodpecker, Cinnamon Teal, and Greater White-fronted Goose.
Sauvie Island in the Columbia River is just a short drive from Portland. Past highlights here have included hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, thousands of waterfowl of many species, a wonderful variety of songbirds, and often Merlin and Rough-legged Hawk. We’ll have the entire day to explore Sauvie and several additional areas along the Columbia River.
We’ll shuttle to the Portland International Airport for our flights home.
COASTAL OREGON & KLAMATH BASIN TOUR
29 September – 8 October 2006
Top 10 lists are voted upon by the participants at the completion of each tour.
1 – White-headed Woodpecker
2 – Sabine’s Gull
3 – Tufted Puffin
4 – Ferruginous Hawk
5 – Black Oystercatcher
6 – Red-breasted Sapsucker
7 – Harlequin Duck
8 – Prairie Falcon
9 – Black-footed Albatross
10 – White-tailed Kite
Will we do any birding the first day?
Yes! We have birding planned if time allows and everything is on schedule.
How should I dress for the tour?
Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.
Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?
There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.
What language are tours conducted in?
Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.
Can you help me book flights?
Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!
Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?
While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.
NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.
Do you provide trip insurance?
No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.
Are meals included?
For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.
Will I get seasick on the boat?
Most people will not get sick, although you should take precautions if you are prone to motion sickness, as the weather can dictate how rough the ride will be. There are various remedies sold at local pharmacies which can help relieve motion sickness and will make your trip more enjoyable.