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Audubon Birding Day: The Lower Columbia River

This is a drive-yourself day trip. We will encourage and facilitate carpooling.

*This is a drive-yourself day trip from the Sauvie Island Bridge Parking Lot to Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria, Oregon. This is a long day with quite a bit of driving, and carpooling will be highly encouraged to limit the number of vehicles in our caravan.

Join Greg and Erin to explore several well-known birding areas along Oregon Highway 30 and the Lower Columbia River. We will meet at the Sauvie Island Bridge Parking Lot while looking for Peregrine Falcon.

On the way out to the coast, we will stop briefly at a convenience store in Clatskanie, Oregon. If the Wahkiakum County Ferry is operating, we will cross the Columbia River ($5.00 per person) to Cathlamet, Washington, and continue west along the Washington side on Highway 4. We may make a few brief stops along the way to Ilwaco, Washington, as opportunities arise.

We will bird the Washington coastline in the vicinity of Cape Disappointment, on the lookout for wintering saltwater-associated waterfowl, shorebirds, and gulls. Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, and Heermann’s Gull are likely.

From Ilwaco, we will cross over the epic 4-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge back into Oregon and arrive at Astoria. We’ll visit Fort Stevens State Park, where we may encounter elk and sea lions, waterfowl, shorebirds, and gulls.

Then we will stop briefly in Astoria at a convenience store. Heading back towards Portland on Highway 30, we will make stops at Svenson Island and Brownsmead for bottomlands, birds of open sky farmlands, and marshes and bird Trojan Park (Tundra and Trumpeter Swan possible here). 

  • Meeting Location: Sauvie Island Bridge Parking Lot (no permit required). We will form a caravan from the lot and proceed west. Carpooling will be highly encouraged.
  • Bring water, snacks, or lunch, and dress for the weather.


Distance: 1.0 – 1.5 miles on foot total.
Elevation changes: None. All birding will be done from relatively level ground.
Trail tread and width: Sandy trails, ocean beach, gravel, rural road shoulders. We will bird near our vehicles, generally from asphalt-paved rural roads and flat gravel shoulders. We will traverse a few sandy paths at Fort Steven’s Park and the sandy beach near the south jetty of the Columbia River and Estuary.
Exposure: Full sun exposure at all stops.
Pacing: Slow, with frequent stops to view and listen for birds.
Amenities: Outhouses will be available at the Fort Stevens State Park and Ilwaco, Washington. We will make at least one formal rest stop visit on the way out and at least one on the way back.
Public transit: None.
Rest stops: At least two formal convenience stops, as described above. We’ll always be on the lookout for restroom opportunities and can make additional comfort stops upon request.

Bird the Lower Columbia with Us!

Join Greg and Erin to explore several well-known birding areas along Oregon Highway 30 and the Lower Columbia River, from Sauvie Island to Fort Stevens State Park.


Trip Details

Fee: $105 members / $125 non-members
When: October 27, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Location: We will meet at Sauvie Island Bridge Parking Lot, off Highway 30, about 10 miles northwest of Portland.
Leaders: Greg Baker and Erin Law


October 27
7:30 am - 5:30 pm
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