BIRDWATCHING IN SKAGIT IS AT ITS BEST FALL THROUGH SPRING!
The Salish Sea is home to sea ducks (murrelets, scoters, buffleheads, goldeneyes, harlequins and long-tailed), mergansers, loons and grebes. Beaches and bay shores harbor dunlins, sandpipers, sanderlings, plovers, killdeers, turnstones. Shallow, brackish and fresh waters provide habitat to wigeons, mallards, pintails, teals and scaups. These birds (and more) add a potpourri of diversity to the resident oystercatchers, kingfishers, gulls, pigeon guillemots, cormorants, great blue herons, bald eagles, hawks, owls and open field species.
Perhaps most impressive, and awaited of all, are the thousands of snow geese and swans (both trumpeter and tundra) that winter in Skagit Valley.
In Winter, the Skagit River hosts one of the largest concentration of bald eagles in the continental US. Eagles from as far as Canada and Alaska fly here to feast on the winter salmon run.
Add one of these Birdwatching Eco Tours to your Visit Skagit Valley Adventure!
The 3-hour SKAGIT VALLEY GEESE & SWANS ECO TOUR takes you around Skagit Valley’s farm fields in search of the thousands of snow geese & smaller flocks of tundra and trumpeter swans. They overwinter here grazing in Skagit Valley’s farm fields, moving from field to field throughout the day and from day to day. We’ll also be on the lookout for bald eagles, other raptors and open field bird species. Time and interest permitting, stops will be added to search for shorebirds and other waterfowl near the farmlands.
The 6-hour SKAGIT BIRDWATCHING ECO TOUR includes the 3-hour Geese & Swans Eco Tour itinerary. After having lunch at one of the fabulous restaurants in La Conner or Anacortes, we’ll checkout a couple of other excellent birding spots in Skagit and Padilla Bays to look for waterfowl, shorebirds and great blue herons. Ever been to a heronry? The two largest and most important heron nesting grounds in the US are located right here, in Skagit County’s Padilla Bay! Time and interest permitting, we’ll go bird watching in Anacortes and/or Deception Pass State Park, both at the edge of Salish Sea.
The 6-hour Skagit River Bald Eagles Eco Tour takes you to experience the wilderness along the Skagit River during December & January. It is here that hundreds of migratory bald eagles congregate to feast on the winter salmon run!
As you watch, listen and learn about the regal bald eagles during our crisp winter days, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the snow covered mountains of the North Cascades, as well as the moss & lichen covered forest trees. The incessant glacial meltwater of our life sustaining Skagit River will serenade you all along.
During the Skagit River Bald Eagles Eco Tour, you’ll also learn about the life cycle of salmon, the different species, and their importance in sustaining not only the bald eagles, but also bears, orcas, the PNW fisheries and ways of life. You’ll also understand the role our magnificent temperate rainforest plays in sheltering the entire Skagit River watershed system on which its wildlife, and humans, depend upon.
Included in the Skagit River Bald Eagles Winter Tour are a visit to the Skagit Bald Eagle Interpretive Center, a salmon hatchery and a short forest walk.
Meander through the enchanting PNW rainforest guarded by its centuries-old giants. Follow alongside lakes, rivers, streams and waterfalls incessantly fed by glacial meltwater and rainfall. Saunter around tranquil lakes. Zigzag up mountain sides to admire mountain peaks and glaciers. Cross expansive sub-alpine and alpine meadows. Hike on the edge of the Salish Sea. All the while being silently nurtured by nature.
Fall hiking in Skagit and the North Cascades is simply breathtaking! High mountain meadows are colored with a palette of intense yellows, oranges, reds and browns. At lower elevation, oaks and maples along with river-side stands of alder and cottonwoods offer stunning fall views.
Winter brings colder, crisper days for enjoying easy hikes along lakes, streams and waterfalls sheltered by our magnificent evergreen rainforest.
Hiking along the edge of the Salish Sea offers expansive views of the San Juan Islands and its sheltered waterways; of the Olympic Peninsula and Washington’s westernmost mountains; and of Mount Baker and its endless North Cascades skyline.
All Guided Day Hikes use well-maintained trails around Mount Baker, the North Cascades and Skagit coastal parks. All are dirt trails, with varying degrees of muddiness, rockiness and rootiness that accommodate all hiking levels.
From Seattle or Vancouver, hop on the Amtrak Cascades to the Mount Vernon station pickup to enjoy one of these day adventures. Or, stay longer in Skagit for a multi-day experience “Re-Wilding” Your Spirit in NW Washington!