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Walla Walla River Delta

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Walla Walla River Delta

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When the water is low these mud flats host a huge variety of shorebirds, gulls, and waterfowl. The list of rarities is huge including Steller’s Eider and Garganey. Other more likely rare birds are Parasitic Jaeger, Sabine’s and Franklin’s Gulls, and any of the rare shorebirds. In 2007, a Brown Pelican was seen here. The Walla Walla Delta is currently part of McNary NWR.

Take Route 12 southeast out of Pasco, pass over the Snake River into Burbank and Walla Walla County. Continue south on Route 12 past the Wallula Pulp Mill and on past the tiny hamlet of Wallula. Turn right off Route 12 onto an unnamed and unmarked dirt road, opposite North Shore Drive and the entrance into Madame Dorion Park. Follow this single-lane dirt track to the end, and park. Walk west over the railroad tracks to reach the Walla Walla River delta. (There are plans to construct an observation/ information platform on the bluff to the northwest of the current parking area. This will change current access to this site by 2006.)Warnings: This site hosts ticks in April and early May, a few western rattlesnakes during the warm summer months and ground-nesting yellow jackets from late summer on into the fall. During summer and fall, there will be yellow-star thistle thorns to contemplate. These thorns are nearly an inch long and will puncture even the thickest-skinned birder, so long pants are advised. In winter, ice may form on the delta and out over the Columbia River. It is not a good idea to traverse this ice! Also you may be crossing the Union Pacific Rails, use caution on these tracks. Trains come through, sometimes at high speeds. They do not stop. Please use common sense, and enjoy this very special birding area.


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