Outstanding Birding in Langlois
Home to ranchlands and also the rich bottomlands of New River and to Floras Lake, Langlois is an outstanding place to watch the great migrations of shorebirds and waterfowl that fly along the Pacific Coast in spring (late April/early May) and fall (late September). Most notable are the tens of thousands of Aleutian Cackling Geese that can be seen from the Floras Lake Loop Rd. in early April; here, on private ranchlands, the birds rest and stage for their long, oversea migration to the Aleutian Islands, where they breed and nest. Also in April, at peak migration, birders can view thousands of shorebirds flying north up the coast. During spring and summer, the remote spit of sand beach West of New River provides some of the best breeding habitat for snowy plovers on the West Coast (please honor posted closures to protect these imperiled birds). In fall, the mudflats along New River (accessible from a trail that leads north from Boice Cope County Park at Floras Lake) are a great place to view shorebirds returning south. During both migration periods, the attractive habitat at New River bottoms and at Floras Lake serves as what birders call a “vagrant trap” –meaning that unusual, far-flung, vagrant species show up here more often than one might expect. Even in winter, Floras Lake is a great place to view waterfowl, including Tundra swans that seek refuge in its protected waters.
New River bottomlands are best accessed from a trail that leads north from Boice-Cope County Park at Floras Lake. To reach Floras Lake, from downtown Langlois, take the Floras Lake Loop Road and follow signs.
Just north of Langlois, the Bureau of Land Management's New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) has been officially designated as a globally important bird area by the American Bird Conservancy. The New River ACEC offers excellent walking trails that lead to views of the unusual dune-constricted New River, where you can see migrating waterfowl, and also to a lake with a "blind," where you can watch birds without being seen and under the protection of a roof, which can be nice on a drizzly day. To reach New River ACEC, from Langlois, take Hwy 101 north approximately 4.5 miles, turn left on Croft Lake Lane, and follow the signs.
Submitted by Ann Vileisis, Kalmiopsis Audubon Society