Birding Hotspots Around Manzanita

Birdwatching is a wonderful pastime, experienced from the warmth of a building, car or during a wonderful walk out of doors. Birds are everywhere, especially in the Manzanita area. Don’t get me started on the variety, I could be calling off bird species for longer than you care to listen!
Here are a few of the best spots in the area.
Alder Creek Farm at Underhill Lane, off Hwy 101 going south just before you climb to Nehalem, offers a variety of settings. Formerly a dairy farmThis property was donated to the Nehalem Land Trust. Open to the public The Farm offers gardens, wetlands, meadows and forests, which attract a plethora of birds and animals from shorebirds in migration, Year round birds such as the Northen flicker and often a herd of elk can be seen here. Bring your boots as this trail is soggy much of the time.

One of my favorite loops that combines walking and driving is just south of Nehalem on Tidelands Road. First I park at the boat launch, walk under the highway and along the dike between the river and the water treatment ponds. This can produce Purple martins and nesting Spotted sandpipers in the summer, lots of waterfowl during migration and there is always a raptor hanging around. Then back into the car to continue on Tidelands Road, (watch for snipe in the fields) looping though farms and fields to Hwy 53. A right here takes you back to Hwy 101. A left, takes you to Hwy 26 and other adventures.
Venture just a few miles north of Manzanita to Cannon Beach for the spectacular birds on and around Haystack Rock, especially during the summer. Easily seen Tufted puffins nest here (April thru August), along with Common murres, guillemots, mergansers, gulls, ducks.

And don’t forget the beaches! This year the endangered Snowy plovers started nesting on the beaches south of downtown. Watch for the signs denoting the protected plover areas. Even with restircted access to parts of the beach during nesting season, many hours can be spent seeing shorebirds(Western sandpipers), seabirds(Pacific loons) and soaring birds (Bald eagles) to name just a few.

For more information on birding at the coast check out this link to the Oregon Coast Bird Trail
Be sure to bring your binoculars when you come to the coast and happy birding!

Story and photos submitted courtesy of Susan Boac of KMUN radio in Astoria.
Susan has spent her life enjoying the great outdoors from the lakes and woods of Northern Minnesota, Mt. Adams in Washington and now the Oregon beach environs. After spending many pleasurable hours driving her avid birder parents around, she has taken up birding as a passion, to the mixed emotions of her husband Scott. The Boacs reside on the Neawanna Creek in Seaside where their backyard is a birder’s paradise.

Dan Haag
Born and raised in the great white north of Minnesota, Dan Haag felt the pull of the north Oregon Coast in the early 90s. Finding that rain never needed to be shoveled, he married an Oregon girl and settled in Manzanita, where he works as director of the Manzanita Visitors Center. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of state and national publications. He spends his free time wandering the area’s many trails, supporting the Oregon wine and beer industry, perusing coastal bookstores, and chasing his black Labrador, Lilo, along the beach.