Southern Tillamook County

Last weekend Jacob and I decided to head north to southern Tillamook County to check out some areas I had only driven by before.  Our first destination was supposed to be a forest road I found on the map but it was unfortunately gated on what seemed like private property.  Just up 101 from there is the Neskowin fire station with a little driveway that offers views of the Neskowin Beach Golf Course which has excellent bird habitat.

Kiwanda Creek and Butte Creek

 Coyote keeping an eye on us.

Two Killdeer families were hanging out

After scanning for a bit we continued on north to another area I was curious about, a boat ramp on the Little Nestucca River.  Unfortunately that was closed for the coronavirus.  We went north over the river and turned right on Little Nestucca River Road, much of which is part of Nestucca National Wildlife Refuge.  This road is an eBird hotspot so I hoped it might be birdy.

We stopped at a couple of pull-outs to scan for birds and quickly found my county Purple Martins visiting some nest boxes by the river.

A bit further east we saw a small gravel parking area with a sign that said River Access and no signs saying closed. Very promising! 

Anna's Hummingbird
We walked down the muddy trail till the mud got a little too muddy and then we turned around.

Common Yellowthroat

It turned out that the trees by the parking area was where all the action was anyway.  Hermit and MacGillivray's Warblers were singing, Rufous Hummingbirds were fighting, Bushtits were going in and out of a nest, and Evening Grosbeaks were calling loudly from the low branches of some pines.

Hermit Warbler

 Purple Finch

Evening Grosbeak
 MacGillivray's Warbler

Rufous Hummingbird
We spent a long time walking back and forth along the trees and shrubs to the west of the parking area trying to make sure we didn't miss anything.  Eventually we got back in the car and continued east along more fields, stopping when we got to this barn and cows:

A Black Phoebe was catching insects and bringing them inside the barn where it is probably hopefully nesting.

Phoebe-shaggy cow combo

Our complete eBird checklist from this spot here.  I definitely recommend this little drive if you're in the area! 

We continued east along the river as the habitat changed from farms and fields to typical coastal forest.  We stopped so Jacob could take some river photos and I poked around checking the roadside wildflowers.

 Jacob by the river (I still don't understand how he got down there without falling in the water)

Pacific waterleaf and Piggy-back plant (Hydrophyllum tenuipes and Tolmiea menziesii)


After a bit we headed back to 101 and stopped on a small road next to the bridge over the Little Nestucca. A crow was pissing off a bunch of Barn Swallows under the bridge while Brewer's Blackbirds collected snacks.

 Back on 101 driving south we pulled off at the Winema Overlook, another eBird hotspot that was new to me.  There is a nice view of the ocean and a lake below.

 In the trees close to the parking area were plenty of birds including Bushtits, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Swainson's Thrushes, Yellow and Wilson's Warblers, a Wrentit, and Rufous Hummingbirds. 

 Chesnut-backed Chickadee

Swainson's Thrush

Every year I wonder if this will be the year I start obsessing over odes (dragonflies and damselflies) as it seems inevitable.

My ID guide is not with me so I'm not even going to try

Down on the beach we could barely make out a couple of Whimbrels and a bunch of gulls.  It seems like a nice quick birding spot and it's not heavily birded (Jacob and I are now #4 and #5 for the hotspot behind Max Smith) so I will try to add it to my regular rotation. 

Our last stop wasn't so much a stop as a drive through the town of Neskowin, the area we had viewed from the fire station earlier.  This is a very small beach town with very little going on aside from the golf course and the Neskowin Trading Company (coffee/ice cream/groceries/bistro).  The houses are crammed together and rather pricey.  We drove the road that borders the golf course to get better views of the water and were rewarded with a pair of Blue-winged Teals and a calling Sora.

Good bird for this area!

This town is a popular eBird hotspot, maybe due to people renting the houses here for beach weekends, or maybe because it's easy to drive around quickly and right off 101.  Either way, now I know this nice little spot exists just ten miles north of us. 

After that we headed back south to Lincoln City.  It was a great way to spend a grey and drizzly morning with the bonus of 9 new Tillamook County birds for me and 29 for Jacob.  Looking forward to spending more time up there.  Good times!


  1. That's great you found some new birdy areas! A lot of nice scenery and birds, and I always love seeing your coyotes. Also, great phoebe + cow combo!

  2. Lovely photos, Jen! It’s always great to go exploring.
    Greetings from Sri Lanka!


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