There was a great front page story today in my local newspaper, the Skagit Valley Herald on the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts in the county. Skagit County is one of the best places in Washington state for bird watching and this region is known for its thousands of wintering snow geese, trumpeter and tundra swans, and bald eagles. But, there are lots of other interesting species here to observe and enjoy as well. Snowy owls, short-eared owls, brandts, and dunlins for example. Want to see the latter? Head over the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and hike the family-friendly and completely flat Padilla Bay shoreline trail.
Interested in seeing snowy owls? While they frequent the Skagit flats, I have had better luck seeing them just to the north at Boundary Bay. Boundary Bay is actually one of my favorite places for bird watching and I usually make a couple of trips up there each holiday season. My upcoming book has a section on the hikes in this region; some of my favorite winter wandering spots in the Northwest. So, if any of you are doing a little bird watching and counting within the next few weeks, I wish you a very Merry Christmas Bird Count and a Happy New species or two to your life list!