Will travel for birds!
I'm not a birder (yet), but some of my favorite trips have involved seeing birds in the wild. Do you have any favorite destinations for birds or other wildlife?
Today I went to the Skagit Valley, an hour north of Seattle, to see the Snow Geese that winter there every year. It was thrilling to see flocks that must have numbered in the thousands: they would rise in unison and fly right over our heads, then come to light in a muddy field where many thousand of their fellow geese were busily pecking at the sparse grass. We also saw a dozen or so groups of Trumpeter Swans (huge!), and maybe 10 eagles (many of whom were flying around harassing the Snow Geese). It was fun to listen to the sounds of the geese and swans; they seem very social with one another.
The Skagit Valley is famous for its tulip and daffodil fields, but if you are ever in Seattle in January-March, you should consider a visit to the birds. Here's a link of photos from our local paper: The Seattle Times: Snow geese wintering in Skagit Valley
Essential birder gear: FJN, small, lightweight and powerful binoculars, sunglasses, hat, water and Synapse. (You might already have some or all of those) :D
Mini birding guides: WESTERN COASTAL BIRDS (POCKET NATURALIST).
I have many of those little guides and did a search in order to find them for you.
It is really late as I type this but I can tell you that in the U.S, you can find the best birding areas by going to each state tourist page and search for bird protection areas.
About two hours from Seattle is the city of Sequim and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge provides habitat for 250 species of birds and 41 species of land mammals. The hike out to the lighthouse on the Dungeness Spit is a great one. And nearby is the Dungeness River Audubon Center.
I really enjoy seeing blue herons, but have only seen one or two at a time. Yesterday, there were about two dozen circling over us as we left the animal shelter (in Kent, WA, off S 212th ST). It was amazing!! There is a nature reserve right there, and I noticed many nests in the trees. I may go back down there to experience it again! There are a few trails, including a viewing stand (if that's what it is called ... a platform with a ladder up to it).
That's a whole lot of blue herons!!! We used to have a creek in our back yard and had a resident heron. The power when he flew overhead was impressive, so I love imagining a couple dozen!
Darcy, yes, I love Dungeness Spit. It's a great place to camp with kids, but I've never done the birding thing there. Great to know about.
backpack, thanks for the recommendations!
:) Glad to be of help! :)
Originally Posted by kmcg