Another of our favorite nature areas is the Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island in Tillamook county. My sister, who lives in the area, took me there a few years ago and I treasure that memory and the very special place it is.
Rain describes it lovingly and well in her blog at http://rainydaythought.blogspot.com/2010/04/whalen-island.html
A wonderful "secret", it's one of the most beautiful and unusual spots along the coast, with a myriad of eco-systems, including mixed woodlands, grasslands, fresh and saltwater wetlands. Only in winter's high tide is it an island, but birds and other wildlife are plentiful year round.
We visited the area again in September this year (April and September are the best if you love birds).
A GOLDEN CROWNED KINGLET greeted us when we started our walk, he was part of a good-sized flock that included kinglets, warblers, nuthatches and chickadees.
CHESTNUT BACKED CHICKADEES filled the small pine trees.
A HAIRY WOODPECKER was busy across the path.
As we walked further, we could hear the ocean as well as the YELLOW RUMPED WARBLERS high in the trees.
This one posed at the very tip of a tree branch, but nicely revealed his yellow rump.
We saw a COYOTE, and heard the yip of pups - didn't catch them with the camera, though.
At one lookout, we could view a large meadow, with GREAT EGRETS and other birds.
Finally the trail took us to a more heavily wooded area, with larger deciduous trees. A PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER caught our attention (note, these are tricky to ID - if I got it wrong, please let me know).
This photo of an AMERICAN ROBIN gives a pretty good idea of the fauna in this area of the park.
When we emerged from the trail, we walked toward the parking lot, where I grabbed another photo to show the diverse landscape. Most of the WESTERN CROWS took off when we approached, but one remained to pose in the distance.
A GREAT BLUE HERON sitting on the far edge of the water casually ignored us as we drove out of the parking area.
The area is also well known for the migrating shorebirds, especially in the fall. All in all, it is a beautiful place, a casual walk (even in my flip-flops), priceless in serenity and treasures.
It's a moderately easy walk, not much more than a mile. There is an adjacent campground as well.