Sunday, December 20, 2015

Skagit in December

One of my favorite things is to go for a drive around the Skagit in the winter, looking for birds. Someday perhaps I'll take the photography aspect of things more seriously.

I haven't done a really long run in a while, but on just about every weekend in the last month or so I've spent a bit of time hiking Skagit dike areas, Fragrance Lake, Fir Island, or some other local place.

The migratory birds in the Skagit are fantastic this time of year. Swans, snow geese, eagles, and all sorts of smaller birds. The days are short, which can be a downer, but also seems to bring the horizon nearer towards the end of the day. There's something edgy about the air on a clear afternoon day in December. Now, if it is raining, that's usually not as interesting, unless the rain is doing something different.

I'm hoping to do a few shorter races in January.  I'm also working on lining up a few winter hikes.

Here are a few photos from around the Skagit this year.

Heavy rainfall in November and December have resulted in near flooding of the Skagit.  This picture is from Freeway Drive near downtown Mount Vernon.  In the summer, there is a sandbar across the way here, where many sit in lawn chairs, fishing for salmon or just relaxing.

This is the Padilla Bay trail, which covers about 2.2 miles along the estuary. Herons are routine sightings, along with many other smaller flocks of birds. The trail is flat--a great place just to walk and reflect. Anacortes and the San Juan islands are viewed from here. I've long enjoyed going here. Friend Rich and I hiked this trail a few weeks ago.

These two above are from the Padilla Bay trail as well.

This I think is from the Fir Island viewing area, which is accessed at the Conway I-5 exit. Right now the government is doing some "improvements" here, which will improve habitat and provide more viewing opportunities. I saw my first snowy owl in the Skagit at this spot.

Looking out towards LaConner.


Two swans. I understand they mate for life, which is something like 25 years, migrating to Canada and the Arctic, and then back to the Skagit in the winter.

Eagles, swans, and a hawk, above.

Fragrance Lake, yesterday, as is the top photos with the ornaments.  Technically this is Whatcom County, but the drive up Chuckanut is Skagit, and part of the fun of it all.

Happy holidays to all my friends. Peace on Earth, peace be with you.