The Pacific Northwest: A September Migration Birding Workshop: Sep 16—24, 2015

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Seattle
Tour Limit: 12
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (109.9 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Bob Sundstrom

Bob Sundstrom has led VENT tours since 1989 to many destinations throughout North America, a...


Erik Bruhnke

Erik Bruhnke has loved birds since he was a child looking at chickadees. In 2008 he graduate...

More Information

Black-footed Albatross

Black-footed Albatross— Photo: Barry Zimmer

The September Migration Birding Workshop coincides with autumn migration’s wealth of seabirds and shorebirds, and songbirds along Pacific Northwest shorelines and offshore, plus excellent mountain birding through stunning evergreen forests into the subalpine zone. Field sessions focus on aspects of migration as well as honing birding skills through direct experience with different families of birds—especially shorebirds and seabirds.

This workshop presents a special opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about birds, from new birders to more experienced observers. Field sessions will include time in distinct habitats that give us focused in-the-field experience with different families of birds—especially shorebirds and seabirds, but also landbirds such as sparrows. We will also talk in detail about the dynamics of the migrations we are witnessing firsthand.

A pelagic trip on a VENT private charter is a major bonus, a chance to visit offshore realms that host many thousands of seabirds in one of the most productive ocean areas in North America, and a great opportunity to study seabirds in their element. We should encounter scores of Black-footed Albatross, South Polar Skua, beautiful Sabine’s Gulls, three or four species of shearwaters (including Buller’s and Pink-footed), Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Northern Fulmars, Pomarine and Parasitic jaegers, and alcids including Cassin’s and Rhinoceros auklets. Laysan Albatross and Flesh-footed Shearwater are seen on about half the trips, and Tufted Puffin on most trips.

Wandering Tattlers, Black Turnstones, and Surfbirds forage over rocky shorelines, and this is one of the best points in the year to catch up with such North American rarities as Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, or Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Harlequin Ducks, Red-necked and Horned grebes, and scoters are returning to protected bays, and Pacific and Red-throated loons are often seen. The Strait of Juan de Fuca promises Brandt’s and Pelagic cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, and usually Black Oystercatchers.

Starting in Seattle, we bird the Puget Sound lowlands for such Northwest specialties as Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hutton’s Vireo, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Golden-crowned and “Sooty” Fox sparrows. Departing migrants may include Black-throated Gray Warbler and Violet-green Swallow among others. Sooty Grouse, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Varied Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, and Red Crossbill are often seen on the Olympic Peninsula.

Very good to excellent accommodations and cuisine; 1-2 miles of steady, level walking on most days; one full-day pelagic trip; comfortably moderate weather conditions.