Quiet saltwater park hosts goldeneyes, other sea birds
You’ll likely see more birds than people at remote Penrose Point State Park on South Puget Sound.
Birders’ Top Spots
Penrose Point State Park, Site 26 from the “Puget Sound Loop” of Audubon Washington’s Great Washington State Birding Trail.
Location: On quiet Key Peninsula, near Lakebay, Pierce County
Habitat: 152 acres of mixed shrubs, woods; 2-mile saltwater shore.
Best seasons for birding: Autumn through spring
Birds commonly seen: Harlequin ducks, Pacific loons; common and Barrow’s goldeneyes; hooded mergansers. Forest sustains black-capped and chestnut-backed chickadees; brown creepers; Bewick’s and Pacific wrens.
Viewing tips: Walk 0.2-mile Touch of Nature interpretive trail; 1.0-mile Penrose Point loop; half-mile sand spit at low tide. Explore 2.5 miles of woodland trails. Bonus: harbor seals.
Getting there: From Highway 16 take Purdy/Highway 302 West/Key Center exit. Drive 1.1 miles. Turn west onto Highway 302/Key Peninsula Highway. Drive 5.3 miles. Veer left onto Key Peninsula Highway/Gig Harbor Longbranch Road. Drive 9 miles. Turn left onto Cornwall Road. Drive 0.4 mile. Turn right onto Delano Road. Drive 0.8 mile. Turn left onto 158th Avenue. Drive a half-mile. At T, turn right. Drive 0.1 mile. Park at interpretive trail. Discover Pass required.
Source: Audubon Washington, Great Washington State Birding Trail maps. See maps online (or order hard copies, $4.95, or apps, $2.99) at wa.audubon.org.