Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge

Port Townsend, Washington

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Looking at Protection Island from Port Townsend or Sequim gives no inkling of what the island holds. Only when you get close to the sandy beaches and steep slopes of the island does its role in the biodiversity of this corner of the state become clear. The 3.5-mile-long island is the largest nesting ground for birds in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Nearly 70 percent of all nesting seabirds in the two regions, from Rhinoceros Auklet to Glaucous-winged Gulls, spend the breeding and rearing season on the island. There is only one way to see the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge— by boat. Habitats: Sandy Beach, cliffs, mixed forest, prairie. Specialty birds: Common Loon; Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants; Brant; Harlequin Duck; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Black-bellied Plover; Black Oystercatcher; Heerman’s, Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Western Gulls; Common Tern; Common Murre; Pigeon Guillemot; Marbled and Ancient Murrelet; Rhinoceros Auklet; Tufted Puffin; Northwestern Crow.

Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge Professional Review and Guide

"Looking at Protection Island from Port Townsend or Sequim gives no inkling of what the island holds. Only when you get close to the sandy beaches and steep slopes of the island does its role in the biodiversity of this corner of the state become clear. The 3.5-mile-long island is the largest nesting ground for birds in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Nearly 70 percent of all nesting seabirds in the two regions, from Rhinoceros Auklet to Glaucous-winged Gulls, spend the breeding and rearing season on the island. There is only one way to see the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge— by boat.

Habitats: Sandy Beach, cliffs, mixed forest, prairie. Specialty birds: Common Loon; Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants; Brant; Harlequin Duck; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Black-bellied Plover; Black Oystercatcher; Heerman’s, Bonaparte’s, Mew, and Western Gulls; Common Tern; Common Murre; Pigeon Guillemot; Marbled and Ancient Murrelet; Rhinoceros Auklet; Tufted Puffin; Northwestern Crow."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Port Townsend
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best spring, summer, and fall. Especially good during summer breeding season.
Trailhead Elevation: 10 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Driving Directions: Directions to Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge

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May 2018