Migration Season, by Rebecca Lexa, MA, OR Master Naturalist
Waterfowl are probably the most noticeable winter birds at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. Willapa Bay and other waterways play host to a variety of ducks, geese, and swans. Watch for magnificent trumpeter swans and their slightly smaller but still impressive tundra swan cousins. Gaggles of geese abound, including greater white-fronted geese, cackling geese, brant geese, snow geese, and more. And of course there are over a dozen duck species to be found, from buffleheads and goldeneyes to northern shovelers, pintails, and both American and Eurasian wigeons, among many others. Make sure that you head for the bay and its tributaries when the tide is high, as that is when waterfowl are most in evidence.
Of course, low tide has its wonders as well. Shorebirds flock to the tidal mudflats in search of food. Look for big flocks of dunlin and other little “peeps”, as they are the most abundant shorebirds to be found. They may be mingling near both lesser and greater yellowlegs, semipalmated plovers, and red-necked phalaropes.
For a complete list of birds that may be found on or near Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, click here [link to https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_1/NWRS/Zone_2/Willapa_Complex/Willapa/Documents/Willapa%20Complex%20Bird%20Checklist%20March2021.pdf ]
Rebecca also offers foraging and natural history classes and can be found at: http://www.rebeccalexa.com