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.