Quartermaster Harbor - Vashon side Quartermaster Harbor achieved designation as a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area in 2000 thanks to the efforts of islander Dan Willsie.
He censused the bird populations regularly in the 1990's to provide the documentation showing that as much as eight to ten percent of the wintering Western Grebe population in Washington State may be seen here in some years, totaling several thousand birds.
The south part of Vashon Island holds several good viewing areas for the inner and outer harbors: Portage and the sites below are good locations for viewing the harbor.
Quartermaster Harbor straightaway and Shawnee
Just south of Burton, along Vashon Highway, a number of pullouts exist with views of the main area of Quartermaster Harbor. These pullouts provide waterfowl viewing opportunities that rival or better Tramp Harbor.
Western, Red-necked and Horned Grebes are common, as well as loons, cormorants, ducks, shorebirds and gulls with at least thirty-five marine species seen regularly. At the west end before the highway climbs uphill, a stream delta forms at Shawnee, viewed from highway pullouts or from the end of Shawnee Road.
From fall through spring, a good number and variety of gulls roost at the delta during low tide. The waters off the delta make a reliable location most years for the uncommon Black Scoter. In winter, Sanderling often rest on the small square docks as do all three cormorant species. Bald Eagles often fly overhead or watch from high in the tall treetops lining the road.
From Birds of Vashon Island by Ed Swan, Vashon birding guide 206-463-7976