Monday, January 11, 2016

A Fine Day in the Skagit Valley, part 1

This may run to several days, if not all week, since I took over 300 photos yesterday.  I was able to reduce that down to fewer than 100, and am busy processing those to get down to the best of the best.

Tina and I headed north to the Skagit Valley on Sunday, a beautifully sunny day with no wind, no fog, no clouds, and a high in the upper 40s.  Perfect conditions for bird watching.  The main draw of the Skagit Valley is the annual arrival of Snow Geese by the tens of thousands, who winter over in the farmlands.

One doesn't always find the geese, though.  And even if you do find them, they may not be near a road for easy viewing.  Luckily, there are many, many other fabulous birds in the winter months, and we found plenty of them.

Our first stop was Jensen Access, from which we could see Skagit Bay and lots of lovely mud flats that attract shorebirds.

In the opposite direction, we had this view of Mt. Baker:

You could drive around just admiring mountains and have a fine time.

We found small flocks of Dunlin here, swooping around, landing here and there for a bit to forage, and swooping off again.

There were also Great Blue Herons about -- I especially liked this shot I got of one taking flight against the mountain backdrop:

Next we headed farther north, randomly turning down farmland roads in search of Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans.  More about that tomorrow, though here is a teaser: