It was a wet and blustery morning Oct. 13 when Whidbey Audubon Society leaders met at the Keystone underwater park and boat launch to celebrate the completion of the Great Washington State Birding Trail.
The project began a decade ago. Its seven loops cover 3,000 miles within 2 million acres of protected habitat, supporting nearly
350 species along the Pacific Flyway. It is the season of heavy bird migration, and birders were invited from near and far to visit Whidbey Island this weekend in a “Welcome the Birds and Birders” event, funded by Island County Tourism.
Whidbey Audubon members Steve Ellis and Bill Bradkin coordinated volunteers who worked on the seventh and final piece, the Puget Loop. Birding Trail program director, Christi Norman of Audubon Washington, coordinated the entire decade-long effort.
Despite the weather, a ceremonial red ribbon was cut by Sherrye Wyatt, of Island County Tourism, to officially open the Great Washington Trail loops. Norman arrived bearing signs to plant at each of the trail sites. She was assisted by Whidbey Audubon Society President Ann Casey and other Whidbey Audubon members.
In addition to the seven maps come three new products: a new app to access the Great Washington State Birding Trail on iPhone or iPad; an ebook version of the maps; and signs for the sites around the state. Directions to the sites are free on the Puget Loop eBooklet at wa.audubon.org or wa.audubon.org/sites/default/files/documents/puget_booklet_8_7_2012.pdf; or buy the iPhone app at iTunes.apple.com/ca/app/bird-trails-washington/id527097759?mt=8.