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Seabirds & Shorebirds of Coastal Washington

Program Number: 19427RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/28/2014 - 8/1/2014;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Whidbey Island, Washington
Price starting at: $1,130.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding
Meals: 10; 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Located on the Pacific Flyway and at the convergence of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the rich marine, estuarine and old-growth forests of greater Whidbey Island allow for unparalleled viewing of migrating and resident shore, upland and songbirds. With an expert ornithologist on this birding adventure, spot plovers, marbled murrelets, shearwaters, phalaropes, grebes and more. Our birding will take us from Dungeness Spit, to Deception Pass, Padilla Bay and more as we explore and bird for seabirds and shorebirds on Whidbey, Samish and Fidalgo Islands.




Highlights

• Spot shore and upland songbirds on ornithologist-led field trips to out-of-the-way seaside habitats and protected areas such as Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge, Deception Pass Gorge, Alta Spit, and Samish Island.
• Search for offshore and shorebirds aboard a special chartered boat excursion. Additional sighting opportunities aboard a ferry to Port Townsend.
• Go behind the scenes for a special visit to Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Established trails and observation deck provide ample opportunity for viewing many birds.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile in varied habitats.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.



Coordinated by Skagit Valley College.




Whidbey Island

Accessible by boat or via the soaring bridge over the breathtaking high-walled gorge known as Deception Pass, Whidbey Island is a long, narrow stretch of unspoiled glacial island roughly shaped like a seahorse. The island boasts peaceful, driftwood-strewn beaches, historic forts, old barns and rural wide open spaces where wildflowers abound.



Accommodations
Modern, Northwest-style hotel on Whidbey Island.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Harbor Plaza
  Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island 4 nights
 Best Western Harbor Plaza
Type: Hotel
  Description: This modern and well appointed Northwest style hotel is centrally located in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island providing the perfect launching point for our learning activities & adventures.
  Contact info: 33175 State Route 20
Oak Harbor, WA 98277 USA
phone: 800-927-5478
web: www.bestwestern.com/harborplaza
  Room amenities: All rooms are beautifully appointed and feature air conditioning, microwave, mini refrigerator, cable TV, data ports and free hi speed wireless internet, coffeemakers, hair dryers, ironing board and iron.
  Facility amenities: The Best Western Harbor plaza is a modern, beautifully appointed hotel featuring air conditioned rooms, seasonal outdoor pool & spa, conference center, room service, and its central Whidbey Island location is the perfect launching point for educational adventures.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Varies by season Please call the hotel directly at 1-800-927-5478 for extended stay rates and reservations.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Varies by season Please call the hotel directly at 1-800-927-5478 for extended stay rates and reservations.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
5:00 PM Orientation on Arrival Day You will be staying at Best Western Harbor Plaza that night.
  End of Program:
10:30 AM on Departure Day You will be staying at Best Western Harbor Plaza the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Complimentary off-street parking available at hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
  Nearest city or town:  Oak Harbor
  Nearest highway: Hwy 20
  Nearest airport:  Whidbey Island
  From End of Program
  Location: Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Seattle (SeaTac) Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Whidbey-Seatac Shuttle
phone: 877-679-4003
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$30-35
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 2.5 hrs 

 

Distance:

 

approx 90 miles

   

The Whidbey-SeaTac Shuttle provides 8 round trips daily between the Seattle Airport and Whidbey Island. Call 360-679-4003 (Local) or 877-679-4003 (Toll-free) for schedule, fare and reservation assistance, or book on line at www.seatacshuttle.com. When making your shuttle reservation, be sure to request a drop off at the Best Western Harbor Plaza in Oak Harbor, which is available only by advance request…and for minimal additional charge.

 
Driving Directions
  From Seattle From Seattle follow Interstate 5 North to SR 20 West (Exit 230). Go West on SR 20 toward Anacortes. Follow signs to Whidbey Island and Oak Harbor. End at Best Western Harbor Plaza 33175 SR-20, Oak Harbor. Seattle to Oak Harbor driving distance is about 90 miles with drive time approx 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars and Birding Guide are essential. Other items are recommended. Birding Equipment List will be included in preparatory materials.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Orientation/Welcome and Get Acquainted
(Monday, July 28)
   
 Afternoon: Check in at hotel 4:00 PM; Program Orientation at 5:00PM, followed by a get acquainted session and program overview.
 Dinner: Our dinners are served buffet style so that you choose what works for you. Tonight’s dinner features NW green salad, grilled chicken, steamed veggies, and red potatoes or rice – topped off with coffee, tea, iced tea, water and dessert of the day.
 Evening: At an evening presentation, review and discuss "Rare and Unusual Sightings" for the area.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Harbor Plaza
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Ferry to Olympic Peninsula/Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge/Dungeness River Audubon Center
(Tuesday, July 29)
   
 Breakfast: Early Continental Breakfast Buffet: featuring a variety of fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals, assorted breakfast breads (toast, English muffin, bagel, etc.), cottage cheese, boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juice.
 Morning: We'll travel aboard the Washington State ferry (birding our way across the channel) to the neighboring Olympic Peninsula where we will visit Dungeness River Audubon Center and the Dungeness Spit, the world's longest natural sand spit. Walking Dungeness Spit enables one to see a spectacular array of sea birds and shorebirds. Large numbers of Brants and sea ducks, such as Scoters, Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and Long-tailed Ducks, are visible from shore. Offshore alcids, gulls, and Jaegers, plus an occasional Phalarope, Shearwater, or Storm-petrel might be spotted. Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlins, and Sanderlings feed in abundance on the inside shoreline during winter. This is a good place to spot Peregrine Falcons, and Gyrfalcons during winter.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch in the Dungeness River area. Since we’ll be out exploring, we’ll enjoy a picnic/bag lunch today. Our caterer will provide whole fresh fruit, chips, bottled water, and a chef’s choice fresh bakery treat for everyone. Each member of the group will build their own sandwich to their liking – choosing from an assortment of meats, cheese, breads, and condiments / accoutrements.
 Afternoon: Our afternoon field trip continues to the Birding continues to Discovery Bay. Expect to see varied diving ducks, loons, and grebes. In the winter season, large numbers of Ancient Murrelets and Pacific Loons occupy nearby waters Explore the historic Victorian seaport of Port Townsend in the late afternoon before return to Whidbey via the ferry with more off shore sightings possible. Return to the hotel in time for dinner.
 Dinner: Our dinners are served buffet style so that you choose what works for you. Tonight’s dinner features NW green salad, home-made lasagna (choose from meat or veggie lasagna), and garlic bread – topped off with coffee, tea, iced tea, water and dessert of the day.
 Evening: Take the evening off after our longest day of birding. Relax in the hotel's outdoor pool or hot tub or take the opportunity to update and compare checklists.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Harbor Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve / Samish Island Birding / Seabird Boating Excursion
(Wednesday, July 30)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet: featuring a variety of fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals, assorted breakfast breads (toast, English muffin, bagel, etc.), cottage cheese, boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juice.
 Morning: Begin the morning with a special insider's visit to the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. We'll bird at the Reserve for part of the morning and then explore nearby birding spots along Samish Island.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch in the field to extend and enhance our birding opportunities. Since we’ll be out exploring, we’ll enjoy a picnic/bag lunch today. Our caterer will provide whole fresh fruit, chips, bottled water, and a chef’s choice fresh bakery treat for everyone. Each member of the group will build their own sandwich to their liking – choosing from an assortment of meats, cheese, breads, and condiments / accoutrements.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we'll take to the water for a special boat excursion. Bring your binoculars to search for loons, phalaropes, mergansers, merlins, bald eagles, oystercatchers, harlequin ducks, murrelets, auklets, and more. Over 85 bird species and eight mammal species, including sea lions, elephant seals, whales and porpoises, have been sighted in the area.
 Dinner: Sample the local fare as you enjoy dinner on your own in Anacortes. Options are plentiful and the group leader will have lists of downtown Anacortes dining establishments for you.
 Evening: Upon return to the hotel, enjoy dessert as we compare and update birding checklists.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Harbor Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Deception Pass Birding / Rosario Beach Birding / Fidlago Island Birding
(Thursday, July 31)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet: featuring a variety of fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals, assorted breakfast breads (toast, English muffin, bagel, etc.), cottage cheese, boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juice.
 Morning: Our morning begins with birding en-route to scenic Deception Pass Gorge, a spectacular narrow saltwater passage on Whidbey Island's northern tip. It offers great scenery and wildlife watching, and is known for its picturesque historic bridge and ancient forests. The State Park is over 4000 acres, with 35 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of seashore and rugged cliffs that drop to meet the turbulent waters of Deception Pass.Birding continues to Rosario Beach and Bowman Bay hotspots.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch in the field to extend and enhance our birding opportunities. Since we’ll be out exploring, we’ll enjoy a picnic/bag lunch today. Our caterer will provide whole fresh fruit, chips, bottled water, and a chef’s choice fresh bakery treat for everyone. Each member of the group will build their own sandwich to their liking – choosing from an assortment of meats, cheese, breads, and condiments / accoutrements.
 Afternoon: Afternoon birding continues to Alta Spit and then on Fidalgo Island and Washington Park, with its lowland coniferous forest habitats and exposed rock shoreline. It provides the opportunity to see a number of waterbirds, shorebirds, and resident forest passerines. Return to hotel in the late afternoon to update your checklists and relax in the pool or hot tub.
 Dinner: Our dinners are served buffet style so that you choose what works for you. Tonight’s dinner features NW green salad, baked salmon/fish (as locally available by season), rice , and steamed veggies– topped off with coffee, tea, iced tea, water and dessert of the day.
 Evening: Evening Lecture: review and discuss "Northwest Superlatives" with our Expert's impressions and knowledge of the great Northwest.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Harbor Plaza
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Departure & Farewell
(Friday, August 1)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet: featuring a variety of fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals, assorted breakfast breads (toast, English muffin, bagel, etc.), cottage cheese, boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juice.
 Morning: Ornithologist "week in review" with group discussion of sightings. After discussion, program concludes to allow comfortable travel time to greater Seattle area and points beyond. Check out of hotel by 11:00 AM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island Central Whidbey Island Chamber of Commerce
Central Whidbey Island Chamber of Commerce offercs a variety of information and resource for Oak Harbor and Coupeville areas of Whidbey Island. For additional information, visit www.centralwhidbeychamber.com
  Washington State Tourism
Excellent resource for state wide travel. For additional information, visit www.experiencewa.com/
  Whidbey and Camano Islands Visitors Guide
Enjoy year-round vacation getaways on Whidbey and Camano Islands located in Puget Sound just a short drive north of Seattle--and only a two hour drive south of Vancouver, Canada. For additional information, visit www.whidbeycamanoislands.com/
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Birder's Guide to Washington


Author: Hal Opperman


Description: A Birder's Guide to Washington details hundreds of birding routes and sites in the state and adjacent areas in British Columbia, together with year-round access instructions and birding advice. Over 220 maps pinpoint the most productive destinations in the field and offer regional overviews to help with trip planning. An annotated checklist of 478 species recorded in the state through 2002 gives information about status and habitat associations, while the seasonal abundance/regional occurrence bar graphs will assist birders in locating regularly occurring species. Authoritative lists of Washington's mammals, herps, butterflies, and dragonflies are provided.



Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest


Author: Martyn Stewart and Stephen R Whitney


Description: Identify Pacific Northwest birds by song and by sight with the help of this audio CD and companion field guide.



Birding Washington


Author: Rob and Natalie McNair-Huff


Description: As the first stop in the continental U.S. for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway, Washington offers a wide range of birding opportunities and species, from the typical fall migrations of ducks and geese to the convergence of millions of shore birds in Grays Harbor each spring.



Birds of the Pacific Northwest Coast


Author: Nancy Baron and John Acorn


Description: More than 200 species of common birds are grouped and color-coded for quick identification. Beautiful illustrations accompany the insightful text on behavior, seasonal occurrence and local range of species.



Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest


Author: Dennis Paulson


Description: A well-researched and superbly illustrated publication on the identification and general biology of shorebirds. The author has successfully developed a new model for guides to other groups of birds by skilfully blending technical and popular information with field and teaching experience. This guide will be extraordinarily useful to ornithologists, biologists, enforcement officials, environmentalists, and birdwatchers at all levels.





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