20 Mar Skagit Wildlife Area
The Skagit Wildlife Area contains a little over 16,700 acres of wildlife habitat which is mostly scattered throughout the western half of Skagit County.
This is prime bird watching territory as is most of the Skagit Valley, a beautiful agricultural region in Northwest Washington that is bordered by Padilla Bay and the San Juan Islands to the west and the dramatic views of the snow-covered Cascades to the east.
This area is widely known for fields of tulips and daffodils that cover the land in the spring, but not to be overlooked is the prolific bird population that you will find here throughout the winter. Shorebirds, sea ducks, raptors, and eagles abound, and Trumpeter and Tundra Swans and Snow Geese graze on winter wheat across many of the prime grain fields scattered throughout the valley.
We visited the Skagit Wildlife Headquarters which is situated on a 190 acre tidal marsh on Fir Island. A pathway along the top of a dike provides access to a two-mile trail. Here you will see a tortured landscape of dead trees stretching out before you, their roots drowned in bogs and surrounded by their flotsam and jetsam. All life seems bleached out of the landscape, the perfect purgatory. Birds are everywhere though and the views are wonderful, particularly the Olympics far off in the distance and the Cascade range, nearer and rising proud to the east, glistening in the afternoon sun.
In March this place is visually dramatic yet stark, all monotones. Returning a few weeks later when life has filled in with color is worth another visit.