Just about the whole Vashon list and more might be expected to turn up at Pt. Robinson at some time or another. At any time of year, some vagrant wanderer might show up. Spring migration seems to be the best bet, but unusual birds appear in all seasons. The reason for all the rarities is two-fold: First, Pt. Robinson sticks out from the island into Puget Sound and acts as a migrant trap akin to Discovery Park in Seattle. Second, the park includes a good mix of habitats attracting a wide variety of resident birds.
The area next to lighthouse on the south side of the point makes the best place to look for interesting marine birds. Migrant warblers, vireos and thrushes appear especially noticeable in spring and fall along the bluffs to the south, viewed from the beach. The same species, joined by sparrows, utilize the brush at the base of the bluff by the lighthouse. The woods and thickets surrounding the parking lot at the top of the bluff offer additional opportunities to find neotropical migrants.
The park holds 12 acres with about a half-mile of gravel and sandy shoreline, clay bluffs, some grassy areas, two areas of thickets and Red Alder forest. Pt. Robinson attains its greatest species diversity from September through mid-May, especially during spring and fall migrations. Many loon, grebe, waterfowl, shorebird, gull and tern species stop to forage or stream on by. Rarities along the shore and out into the water include Short-tailed Shearwaters seen during an invasion of the Puget Sound area in 1977 (Hunn 1982), Black Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Red Phalarope and Sabine's Gull.
The entrance to the park at Pt. Robinson is 3.2 miles from the intersection of Quartermaster Drive and Dockton Road. Follow Dockton Road about half a mile and then go straight at the Y intersection with Pt. Robinson Road, Dockton Road turns to the right. Follow Pt. Robinson Road to the end. From the park entrance one can drive in and park either at the top of the bluff or down at the bottom closer to the lighthouse keeper buildings. Port-o-potties are available at both parking lots.
From Birds of Vashon Island by Ed Swan, Vashon birding guide 206-463-7976
Photo by Terry Donnelly
Vashon Park District info