In the United States, the Pacific Northwest is generally considered to be the area covered by the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, sometimes the Canadian Province of British Colombia is included. The area has some spectacular scenery and habitats ranging from beautiful rocky coasts with secluded beaches, high snow-capped mountains, wetlands, woodlands, and farmlands as well as the dry desert-like sagebrush. The whole area has some excellent places for bird photography. With such diverse terrains, you are sure to see spectacular birds of all colors and sizes.
There are some great places for bird photography in the area including Mount Hood National Forest, Olympic National Park, Mary’s Peak, Neah Bay, Malheur NWR, Oaks Bottom Wildlife, and Ridgefield NWR. Yet, you can see great birds in a lot of general parks and the beaches along the coast to the west. The beaches located in this area are often called “the North Coast”. This area includes parts of the historic Columbia River south to Cascade Head, an area of broad tidal estuaries. Owen shot over 25 species at Cannon Beach. In this stretch of beach, there are many smaller birding hot spots where birdwatchers and bird photographers alike can be seen enjoying the sights.
One of the special bird photography moments that most bird photographers hope for when visiting the coast is spotting a Bald Eagle soar over the rocks and pose for a picture. The best bet for one of these moments is during the height of the birding season which falls April through August. While photographing Brandt’s Cormorants at Yaquina Head Lighthouse Owen was able to photograph many eagles as they flew by at eye-level. Although the summer might be popular for most birds, and tourists, rare birds are known to come to the area in the winter because of storm situations that push them south. Species you may be able to spot in the chillier months are Red Phalaropes and Black-legged Kittiwake
Owen shot photos of the Hermit Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Red Crossbill, Thick-billed Fox Sparrow, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Varied Thrush, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Pygmy Owl, Pinyon Jay, and more while in Oregon and Washington. He visited this area in Summer 2023.