Saturday, May 20, 2017

Skagit Valley Bird Blitz/NikonD500/Nikon 200-500

May 12-14 Skagit Valley Bird Blitz.

Skagit Valley Provincial Park.

The birds and birding has been non-stop since the weather brought in waves of migrating birds last week. There is no better place to experience the phenomenon than the Skagit Valley. Only 150kms east of Vancouver, the Skagit Valley it located south of Hope in the North Cascade Mountain Range.
An official bird checklist is available from park wardens and there are excellent campsites along the road to Ross Lake that lies on the Canada/USA border.
Here are some images from the weekend which was attended by about 30 birders and run by the Hope Mountain Centre. To see more of their excellent offerings including the upcoming Manning Park Bird Blitz event click below.

Here is another upcoming event with Al and Jude Grass

here are my pictures taken with the Nikon D500 and 200mm-500mm5.6 zoom.
The images are in no particular order. I missed the Lewis Woodpecker and the Western Bluebird but one can't be everywhere. Most of these birds were taken close to the campsite at Ross Lake while others were taken during the numerous walks where we did point counts. I can't quite remember but I think we saw close to ninety species over the weekend.

American Goldfinch at the picnic area at International Point day use area.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

I wan't expecting American Pipits but I found two where the Skagit River enters Ross Lake.

I just liked the backlight on this foliage as we searched the forest for warblers.
(Silvertip campground)

Black-throated Gray Warblers were way, way  up in the canopy, even so the 200mm-500mm did a great job.
(Silvertip campground)

Group leader Denis Knopp found this Calliope Hummingbird at Whitworth Meadow on Saturday
I went the next day and found the same bird along with a few rufous hummingbirds and a Townsend's Solitaire.
Rufous Hummingbird.
(Whitworth Meadow)
Townsend's Solitaire
 (Whitworth Meadow)

Yellow-pine or Townsend's Chipmunk at Silvertip Campground. I think the stronger contrast of the striping on the face makes it the former. Any thoughts?

(Silvertip campground)

Columbia Ground Squirrel.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Douglas Squirrel.
(Silvertip campground)

Fungi, where's Al Grass when you need him?
(Skagit Valley Trail)

Gray Jay collecting food for nearby nestlings.
(Skagit Valley Trail)

Hammond's Flycatcher.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Calypso Orchid..I think?
(Skagit Valley trail)

Purple Finch.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Female Red Crossbill.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Red-breasted Sapsucker.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Turkey Vulture.
The early morning sun creates a nice contrast in the wings of the bird.
(Ross Lake picnic area)

Female Varied Thrush or juvenile but isn't it way too early?
(Skagit Valley Trail)

Western Meadowlark (Ross Lake picnic area)

Western Tanager.(Ross Lake picnic area)

I hope you have enjoyed these images. Thanks for looking.

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon
BC Canada


  1. Nice collection John. I like the idea of putting in the locations. Dian and I almost made the gathering this year-maybe next year??

  2. Hi John, Nice report and photos. I'm no expert but I'll have a go on the fungi id. I think it is Red-belted Polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola). Remember the 'no expert' part :)

  3. Looks like an amazing Bird Blitz with rarities and gorgeous selection of common birds. So many great photos too John thanks for sharing.