The Palouse to Pines Loop is the newest link in Audubon Washington's Great Washington State Birding Trail, a series of guides to the state's best birding sites.

Audubon Washington this week released its sixth map and guide to the state’s most popular birding sites, this one covering the far eastern part of the state and some of its least populated lands, from Pend Oreille County to Asotin County, and taking in Spokane.

The Palouse to Pines Loop, the newest link in what Audubon calls The Great Washington State Birding Trail, includes 51 sites in 12 counties.

Birding “trails,” now offered in more than 30 states, are self-guided driving tours to places where birds are likely to be seen. Washington’s Audubon Society and local chapters produced the first of its maps in 2002, the Cascade Loop. It has since added the Coulee Corridor, Southwest Loop, Olympic Loop, and the Sun and Sage Loop. One additional route, covering the Puget Sound area, will complete the birding trail by 2011.

All maps contain information about habitat, bird species, access and best seasons for birding. Signs marking birding trail sites are planned for coming years.

All the maps, including the Palouse to Pines Loop, may be viewed online (and hard copies may be ordered for $4.95) at wa.audubon.org.