• [CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL PICTURE] Joe Ordonez captured this early snowfall at Rainy Lake, up on the summit of the North Cascades Highway. Snowfall in the mountains means that winter is approaching. Winter typically brings the bald eagles to the Skagit and Nooksack Rivers to feed on the late salmon runs. Photo Copyright: Joe Ordonez

2022/23 Update by Joe Ordonez


This photo was taken by Joe Ordonez right in front of our Interpretive Center in Rockport, WA the morning of November 19th, 2022. Salmon are in the Skagit River and this attracts fishermen as well as bald eagles. Most salmon runs along the coast of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska are long-finished by December, and the eagles are hungry! Wherever there are salmon, the eagles congregate in the winter. The Skagit, Nooksack and Fraser Rivers host a late run of chum salmon in December and January. These late salmon runs provide an important source of nutrition during a challenging time of year for bald eagles.

Last year, the winter salmon runs along the Skagit were weak and the eagle numbers were low. We are unsure how big the winter chum salmon run will be this year. While we don’t know how many eagles there will be this season nor when they will arrive, we do know that our opening weekend is December 17th and 18th. 2022. Regardless of eagle numbers, we plan to offer high-quality natural history walks along the river. These one and one-half hour nature walks explore the rainforest, wetlands and the Skagit River environment. The walks utilize a beautiful, well-maintained nature trail in the Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Rockport.

In preparation for the season, Joe Ordonez, Education Coordinator, hosted a naturalist training session this past Saturday for eight volunteer guides. Six of the volunteers live in the Skagit Valley, one drove down from the College of the Environment at Western Washington University and the other drove all the way up from Bellevue, Washington to attend the traiing! Joe was impressed with their knowledge as well as their engaging personalities. They will be excellent guides and hosts.

This promises to be a great year for our nature walks along the Skagit River! Walks depart at 11am and 1:30pm. No advance sign-up is required.

Exciting News for the 2022/2023 Winter Season!

Our Education Coordinator, Joe Ordonez, is back! Joe just returned from a summer season leading bald eagle education tours in Haines, Alaska. Joe is a photographer and guide who has spent over thirty years exploring the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  A graduate of WWU College of the Environment, Joe has worked as a naturalist guide and interpreter on all seven continents. Joe is author of the book, Where Eagles Gather, the Story of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Haines, Alaska.

Volunteer training day: November 19th, 2022
We will offer a volunteer training day November 19th, 2022, starting at 10am at our Interpretive Center in Rockport, W|A. This four-hour training is for those who are interested in helping lead guided nature walks outdoors along the Skagit River. Those who would rather work with the public indoors in our Interpretive Center are also invited. No prior experience is necessary; Joe has years of experience training naturalist guides. Contact Joe at Skagit River Interpretive Center’s email address: srbeatic@frontier.com to sign up.

Please Save These Dates: We now have the dates for our 2022/2023 programming!

Guided Walks: December 17, 2022- Feb 19,2023 (Every Saturday and Sunday except Dec 24 and 25)
We will offer two- hour guided nature walks along the Skagit River. Walks will take place weekends along the Skagit River beginning mid-December and continuing through mid-February. There will also be some guided walks over the Holiday break. Walks depart the Skagit River Interpretive Center headquarters located at Howard Miller County Park in Rockport at 11:00am and 1:30pm.

Interpretive Center Open: Our Interpretive Center will be open this year weekends and over the holiday break (same dates as above).

School and Group Tours: We are available to assist with school and group visits during the months of December, January and February during weekdays. If you have a group interested in an educational visit, please contact Joe Ordonez at our email address: srbeatic@frontier.com

Fog Bow

Fog bow along the upper Skagit River. Photo credit Joe Ordonez.

Fog held on last Sunday in the lowlands of Puget Sound but lifted up here at our Interpretive Center in Rockport. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. As they fog lifted, a “fog bow” appeared during the first nature walk of the day. Fogbows are also called “white rainbows.” They are similar to rainbows, but appear when the sun shines through very small water droplets, like those found in fog.

We had our best participation of the year, with great turnout for all our nature walks. There are two days left, January 29th and 30th. where you can join one of our free nature walks. These interpretive walks last about two hours and depart at 11am and 1:30pm. Bring shoes that can handle mud, snow and puddles. There is no need to sign up in advance.

The Skagit River Bald Eagle Awareness Team (SRBEAT) is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates the Interpretive Center.

The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center at Howard Miller Steelhead Park, Rockport, WA offers opportunities to better understand the Skagit River ecosystem with an emphasis on the winter migration of bald eagles, salmon, and the vital role each play in our environment. Each weekend in December and January we offer Guided Nature Hikes along the scenic Skagit River and a Speaker Series. Our educational programs include a K-12 & Home School Program and Community Group Tours.

Rockport
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