Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located about 27 miles south of Tillamook along Highway 101 at the intersection of Highway 101 and Christensen Road. The entrance is signed.

The Refuge consists of several distinct areas.

The main visitor area is the Nestucca Bay NWR–Lower Parking Lot and Goose Viewing Deck (45.162094, -123.950761)From the junction of Highway 101 and Christensen Rd. turn right (west) on Christensen Rd. and proceed 0.4 mile up to the lower parking area. The goose viewing deck and restroom are located at the parking area.

The Pacific View Deck Trail (45.164434, -123.95408) and Two Rivers Trail (45.168184, -123.952565) share the upper parking area. To reach the trails exit the lower parking area. Turn right (west) and travel for 0.4 mile up to the upper parking area with trailheads and restroom.

Little Nestucca River Road (45.16403, -123.92986) is reached by returning down Christensen Rd. to Highway 101. Turn left (north), travel for 1.2 miles to Highway 131, exit right (east) and proceed 0.1 mile to an informal turnout on right. Portions of this area can also be viewed from the Little Nestucca Boat Ramp (45.15984, -123.93523) on Meda Rd.. The boat ramp is a Tillamook County Day Use fee site with a restroom.

The Highway 101 Pastures (45.172451, -123.931550) are located west of Highway 101. They begin at Christensen Rd. and extend northerly for about 2.5 miles to Brooten Rd.

Martella Pastures (45.209439, -123.950924) are located east of Pacific City. To reach the area from the intersection of Highway 101 and Christensen Rd. turn left (north) on Highway 101 travel 2.7 miles to Resort Rd. Turn left (west), travel 2.2 miles to Reddekopp Rd. The Martella Pastures are on the left for the next mile.

Oregon Birding Trail: Choose the Oregon Coast Birding Trail, click on the North Coast tab and go to section 41.


Habitat and Birds

The main attractions at Nestucca Bay NWR are the Canada and Cackling Geese, which include Semidi Islands Aleutian Cackling Geese and the only coastal wintering population of Dusky Canada Geese. Birding the open pasture habitats from the covered Nestucca Bay NWR–Lower Parking Lot and Goose Viewing Deck is a good place to sift through these species and subspecies. The deck has excellent interpretive signs to guide your study. Additional species found in the pastures include Greater White-Fronted and Snow Geese, White-tailed Kite, Rough-legged Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, and Northern Shrike. The first Oregon record of Tundra Bean-goose was found here in 2014 by Lee Sliman. The buildings to the south of the parking area are housing for refuge employees and are not open to the public.

The forested habitats along the road to the upper parking lot are good for a variety of sparrows, hummingbirds, vireos, kinglets, warblers, and Band-tailed Pigeons. Birding this road on foot in spring can be good.

The Pacific View Deck Trail is a 0.5 mile paved trail, through open restored grassland habitat to an observation deck. The deck features views of the ocean, Haystack Rock, Cape Kiwanda, Nestucca Bay, the Coast Range, and the Little Nestucca tidewater. The meadows along the trail are an Oregon Silverspot butterfly restoration site.

The Two Rivers Trail passes through forest habitat to an overlook of Nestucca Bay. Passerine birds found along the trail include Swainson’s Trush (spring/summer), Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Hermit Warbler (spring).

The Little Nestucca River Road site overlooks restored tidal wetlands habitat. Waterfowl and raptors are found in the winter. Summer brings a small nesting population of Purple Martins. Purple Martin nest boxes can be viewed from the dike at the east end of the Little Nestucca Boat Ramp.

The Highway 101 Pastures are open pasture habitat. They are excellent goose viewing. Look for species (or sub-species) missed elsewhere and raptors. Note that viewing this 2.5 mile area is done from alongside Highway 101 using informal turnouts.

The Martella Pastures area is a good place to look for the small (in size and numbers) wintering Semedi Island population of Aleutian Cackling Geese. Rough-legged Hawks and Peregrine Falcons also use these pastures.

eBird Hotspot Checklists:

eBird Hotspot checklist for Nestucca Bay NWR–Lower Parking Lot and Goose Viewing Deck

eBird Hotspot checklist for Nestucca Bay NWR–Pacific View Tr

eBird Hotspot checklist for Nestucca Bay NWR–Two Rivers Trail

eBird Hotspot checklist for Nestucca Bay NWR–Little Nestucca River Rd

eBird Hotspot checklist for Nestucca Bay NWR–Reddekopp Rd (also known as Martella Pastures)