Cape Disappointment

Ilwaco, Washington

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When the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached Cape Disappointment in November 1805, they made little mention of birdlife at the mouth of the Columbia River, except for a gathering of California Condor feeding on a dead whale, and that members of the expedition shot a Brant on the Oregon side of the river. They reveled in reaching the Pacific Ocean, but they were more concerned about the endless winter rains and finding shelter than bird-watching. Habitats: Saltwater marsh, freshwater marsh, sandy beach, mixed forest, cliffs. Specialty birds: Common Loon; Brown Pelican; Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants; Brant; Greater Scaup; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Black-bellied Plover; Ruddy and Black Turnstones; Surfbird; Rock, Baird’s, and Pectoral Sandpipers; Heerman’s, Bonaparte’s, Mew, Thayer’s, and Western Gulls; Common Murre; Pigeon Guillemot; Band-tailed Pigeon; Shorteared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Rufous Hummingbird; Pileated Woodpecker; Red-breasted Sapsucker; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Hutton’s Vireo.

Cape Disappointment Professional Review and Guide

"When the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached Cape Disappointment in November 1805, they made little mention of birdlife at the mouth of the Columbia River, except for a gathering of California Condor feeding on a dead whale, and that members of the expedition shot a Brant on the Oregon side of the river. They reveled in reaching the Pacific Ocean, but they were more concerned about the endless winter rains and finding shelter than bird-watching.

Habitats: Saltwater marsh, freshwater marsh, sandy beach, mixed forest, cliffs. Specialty birds: Common Loon; Brown Pelican; Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants; Brant; Greater Scaup; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Black-bellied Plover; Ruddy and Black Turnstones; Surfbird; Rock, Baird’s, and Pectoral Sandpipers; Heerman’s, Bonaparte’s, Mew, Thayer’s, and Western Gulls; Common Murre; Pigeon Guillemot; Band-tailed Pigeon; Shorteared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Rufous Hummingbird; Pileated Woodpecker; Red-breasted Sapsucker; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Hutton’s Vireo."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Ilwaco
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 15 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Local Contacts: Fort Canby State Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Cape Disappointment

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May 2018