Forum Index > Trip Reports > Skagit Valley spring, 3/28-4/11
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Gil
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Gil
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 6:30 am 
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Haven't been getting out much of late, but did have a nice afternoon in the Skagit Valley on Monday.

I drove up I5 and took exit 221, left across the freeway and right onto Fir Island Road at Conway. I stopped first at the small Skagit wildlife preserve on the left side of the road just before the big corner. The parking lot is way in there, but I walked back out to the main road and took a few shots of snow geese in a field. Then some other folks stopped, got out and tried to approach them, sending them off.

Went back to the car and drove the mile or so to Snow Goose Produce, where there was another big flock quite a ways from the road. There's a red barn in the distance that I wanted to try to get some birds flying in front of. So I took my 400mm across the road and sat down on a stone wall. Then I realized the birds were slowly eating their way toward me. Closer and closer, then more and more began to fly in. To heck with the red barn, there was a much closer barn, and the birds were practically landing on top of me!

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The old Soligor 400mm lens I have only focuses down to about 25 feet, so I couldn't even get the closest ones. I was wishing I had brought the 300mm Nikkor with me from the car but didn't want to spook thousands of birds. After a while, the main portion of the flock had moved about 50 feet away, so I carefully got up and made my way back over to the car. I switched to the 300mm just in time to see the whole flock lift off and fly away.

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What a thrilling experience to sit among that many beautiful birds!

I drove on to the Rexville store and had a lovely TNT sandwich, then meandered down into the flower fields. There were daffodils out, but nothing else. Some of the fields that I've visited before didn't appear to have been planted -- rotation or recession? A really cold wind blowing hard out there -- I didn't envy the photographer and her model working in the flowers!

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Skagit Valley, Wash. Soligor T4 75-260mm, Nikon D300.
Skagit Valley, Wash. Soligor T4 75-260mm, Nikon D300.

Anyway, flower season is approaching!

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marta
wildflower maven



Joined: 07 May 2003
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marta
wildflower maven
PostTue Mar 29, 2011 9:16 am 
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Beautiful pictures and thanks for the flower report. I was wondering how the fields were coming. The daffs are just blooming here in Seattle so sometimes the Skagit is a little bit behind us. It looks like a late bloom again this year.

Excellent job on the snow geese. They were in that same field across from the Wildlife parking a couple of weeks ago. They came right up almost to the road. It was pretty dangerous with all the cars that ignored the No Parking sign.  I love listening to their quiet quacking sounds of the flock.
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Davidą
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Davidą
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 10:05 am 
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Inspiring photographs  up.gif  All that more impressive since they were taken this month.

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Quark
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Quark
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 10:09 am 
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Gil, sweet photos. I love the one with the winged beasts above the barn roof - that one ought to be a famous one for sure. up.gif

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dicentra
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dicentra
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 4:31 pm 
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up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



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GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostTue Mar 29, 2011 4:33 pm 
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I can't tell you how envious I am.

Really, really nice shots (my favorites are the 2nd and the last one). I also like your non-standard take on this oft photographed place.  up.gif

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Gil
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Gil
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 10:14 pm 
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Thanks for the comments. The more I think about it, the more I feel lucky to have been in that spot at just that time. Sometimes better to be lucky than good!


Snow geese in the Skagit Valley. Soligor T4 400mm, Nikon D300.
Snow geese in the Skagit Valley. Soligor T4 400mm, Nikon D300.
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Hiker Mama
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Hiker Mama
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Very nice!!  I was wondering today if the daffodils are blooming yet.  And, wow, all those birds - what an experience.

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kite
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kite
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PostWed Mar 30, 2011 8:18 am 
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Very Nice, I like the person in the field of Yellow
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Hikingqueen
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PostWed Mar 30, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Gorgeous shots! Loved it! hockeygrin.gif
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Gil
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Gil
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PostTue Apr 12, 2011 8:52 am 
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Adding some images rather than starting a new report. I had the privilege of watching some hard workers in the Skagit Valley on Monday. I drove up to see if the tulips were out, and yup, they're really starting to come on. I watched a group of workers picking in a field -- talk about tough, they went non-stop for the couple of hours that I watched until their quitting time.

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Worker in Skagit Valley flower field. Those people really work hard.
Worker in Skagit Valley flower field. Those people really work hard.
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Some of the fields were at their height, but others were just starting to bloom. Next weeekend should be really good.

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Skagit Valley flower fields
Skagit Valley flower fields
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Then I drove over toward Bay View State Park, but stopped at the little parking area to walk on the dike. About a quarter mile along, I spotted a great blue heron fishing on the inland side close to the dike. I thought it would spook as I approached on the dike, but it just walked up the bank on the opposite side of the channel. I sat down, and after a few minutes, it walked back down to the water and went about its paces. It disappeared around a bend, but I could see the channel was a cul-de-sac, and I suspected that the bird was making a circuit around this elbow-shaped pool. So I made my way down the bank and lay in the grass with the lens propped on my backpack, and sure enough, he came around on the far side! At one point, he was only about 30 feet away. He passed me, then came back on MY side of the channel. My 400mm lens only focuses to about 20 feet, so I couldn't even shoot! He passed and went back around the bend out of sight. I switched to a 300mm, and he came back and did the same thing -- but this time when he passed on the far side, I carefully got up so as not to disturb him and went back up on the dike. At which point, he flew over the dike and landed on the saltwater side. I walked down the dike and sat, and watched him for another hour! He was pulling out the biggest worms -- some a foot long. Anyway, with the sun setting, he finally flew off, but an extraordinary experience.


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stacymarie
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stacymarie
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PostTue Apr 12, 2011 1:04 pm 
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this are all simply lovely photos. they perfectly capture what I saw when I went up there last week. great job!

where is the best place to see the geese? I went looking but couldn't find them.

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Gil
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Gil
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PostTue Apr 12, 2011 7:22 pm 
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Best place to find the snow geese (I've found) is to take the Conway exit off I5 and drive past town. they're often in the fields on that first long straightaway or after you make the curve that takes you past Snow Goose Produce.

After that market but before the bridge that comes up soon after, there's a little spur road that heads off right. Sometimes they're in the fields beyond that.

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back_to_basics
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back_to_basics
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PostThu Apr 14, 2011 2:22 am 
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What a wonderful story and those photos! Those are not green horn photos by any means. With such a skillful eye, you could easily become a professional photographer. Eloquent, fluid writing skills and capturing the essence through your lens. Kudos!

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back_to_basics
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PostThu Apr 14, 2011 2:47 am 
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With that kind of artistic acuity, you should consider becoming a contributing writer and photographer for an outdoor publication  up.gif

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