To many who live in the Northwest, Winter is synonymous with hibernation and dormancy. Those who live in the islands tend to let Winter weave her wondrous spell. The stunning ordinary in the simply overlooked.
The San Juan Islands are fortunate to be blessed with a spectacular array of birds that only visit between Fall and Spring. Trumpeter Swans are the most obvious as they are the largest and most conspicuous of water fowl and are commonly spotted on ponds, lakes, and marshes. To see them flying in V-formation is a sight to behold.
But, there are other Winter birds that may not be quite so obvious. Their colors tend to be subtle, although stunning. Some border on extravagant! Great beaches to spot these birds on San Juan Island include Fourth of July Beach, Cattle Point, South Beach, Roche Harbor, Jackson Beach, False Bay, Jakle’s Lagoon, and Lime Kiln Point State Park. The spit of Fisherman Bay Preserve on Lopez is good as well as Crescent Beach and Waterfront Park on Orcas.
All of nature seems to be at peace. This is the time to dream. In the natural world, Winter is typically the season of rest, restoration, and reflection. But, not for the Winter Birds in the islands!
Soon, the sun will shine and the temperature will rise above freezing. Grab your binoculars and maybe a bird book, then head out to explore for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.