Thank you to all my volunteers who came out and braved the rain, wind and cold (and some nice days, too!) meeting and talking to folks up and down the upper Skagit River.  Watching the eagles is fun, but for me the most rewarding part is the friendships I have made over the years standing on the river’s edge, binoculars in hand. Thanks ranger Matt for your guided walks, and thanks to the kind and wonderful staff of the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center for always extending a warm welcome. Thanks Rangers Amos and Don at Rockport State Park for hosting the discovery center and sharing the ancient forest.  They are still open on the weekends – check it out! Thanks to the rangers at Howard Miller Park for carving out a corner of their very busy parking lot for us to set up.  You are all appreciated!!

See you on the river,   -Ranger Tanya


Skagit Bald Eagle Interpretive Center Programs:

Visitor Center Open 10-4 Saturday and Sunday at Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Pete Haase, Skagit Citizen Science Forage Fish Survey Team: Forage Fish around Skagit County

January 20, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

WhatARE forage fish? Come and find out,and learn how forage fish play a vital role in our local ecosystem.

Mike Larrabee, N. Cascades National Park: Glaciers of the North Cascades

(This program may be affected by the federal government shutdown – check with the visitor center)

January 21, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

About one-third of all the glaciers in the lower 48 states are in the North Cascades National Park. These 312 glaciers are a critical part of the ecosystem: they influence soil development, vegetation distribution, flooding, and are dramatic indicators of climate change. They are also central to our region’s hydroelectric industry and efforts to sustain endangered salmon and trout.Perhaps most importantly, glaciers provide cold, fresh water during droughts,periods of low streamflow and high stream temperatures.

Eagle Fest In Concrete:

Saturday, January 20

Free Workshop: “Wilderness Photography”
Concrete Theatre – 45920 Main Street, Concrete
11:00 a.m.
Photographer Andy Porter (www.andyporterimages.com) will discuss subject placement,
the Rule of Thirds, use of leading lines, framing, reflections and much more.
Free admission.

Rockport State Park 

The State Park is open for business. Amos is offering ranger guided walks through the ancient forest all weekend and the Discovery Visitor Center is open 11-4. Also, they have popcorn!

Eagle Watch Stations

Accessible but unstaffed this weekend

For the Forest Service sites, it looks like the government shutdown is going to hamper our eagle watcher weekend. We won’t be running the scopes along the river.

Bring your own binoculars and come on out. Today during the count we found 41 eagles between Rockport and Marblemount. The most eagles are still at Marblemount Hatchery!

Have a great weekend!


Rockport, WA December 30, 2017

Good morning, as the sun is rising on a not-too-cold and only slightly misty day, I thought I would fill everyone in on this weekend’s activities. Sunshine is on the way tomorrow, or so the forecast says.

Eagle Watchers:

We will have all three sites open with information and scopes. Most of the eagles have been at Marblemount Hatchery the past few weeks.

The view waiting for you at milepost 100

National Park Service bald eagle count of the Rockport to Marblemount stretch of the river yesterday (Jan 12, 2018) was 41. USFS Count of Rockport to Sedro-Woolley was 30.

Eagle Festival Activities :

Saturday January 13th, 2018:

 Native American History, Storytelling and More

Marblemount Community Hall – 60055 State Route 20, Marblemount
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Indian Tacos and Fry Bread available for sale 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Native history, storytelling, and music featuring…
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm — Rosy Cayou of Guemes Island
Historian and Legend storyteller of the Samish Indian Nation, along with Indian Drummer Tsul-Ton from the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe / Samish Indian Nation Sharing History and legends of the Northwest Ecosystem through stories and song.
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm — Peter Ali of Berber and Yaqui Indian heritage (as well as Spanish and Italian descent)
A self-taught Native American Flutist, creating music not from notes but from a spirit within. Each performance is unique; he plays a variety of native flutes and shares their stories of his rich ethnic heritage.
Free admission. Donations appreciated.


Free Photo Presentation & Discussion: “A Walk on the Wild Side”
Concrete Theatre – 45920 Main Street, Concrete
11:00 a.m.
Leah Serna discusses her travels through Canada, Idaho, Montana and beyond to capture her images of grizzlies, moose, and wolves.

Skagit Bald Eagle Interpretive Center:

Every Saturday and Sunday: Guided walk at 11:00am

January 13, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

Jenna Friebel, WDFW hydrologist/project manager: Salmon Recovery Efforts in the Skagit River Delta: Recent Successes and Next Steps 

The Skagit River watershed is very important for Puget Sound chinook salmon recovery! The recently completed Skagit River delta habitat restoration project provides benefits to chinook salmon and teaches us about challenges associated with implementing large-scale restoration projects. Meeting recovery goals for the Skagit River and delta is an ongoing process, and WDFW is working with the local community through the Farm, Fish,and Flood initiative to advance recovery efforts.

January 14, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

Jennifer Sevigny, Wildlife Biologist, Stillaguamish Tribal Nation: North Cascades Elk Herd Monitoring and Management

Learn about the herd’s history and the Tribal perspective on how to manage and protect the North Cascades elk herd, including data collection approaches and preliminary results.

Rockport State Park

Discovery Center open 11-4. This is a super fun place for kids and adults.

Take a selfie with a wolverine!

Deep Forest Walks by State Park Rangers all day! See you up there!

New Years Weekend Events

View from Highway 530 bridge in Rockport on Saturday, December 30.

Publishing from the field again today. Eagles have been in motion here at Howard Miller Park in Rockport, and not staying perched close by for good scoping. The river has risen a bit since yesterday, probably why eagles are not feeding at this spot at the moment. Fantastic eagle action at the Hatchery today. If you are thinking of coming to the Skagit Valley tomorrow, that is a must stop location. Upriver communities lost power last night and it is still out. Many homes and businesses are firing up their backup generators. The eagle visitor center was closed today due to the power outage. Hopefully it will be restored by tomorrow in time for Dr. Steven Glenn’s talk about local winter birding, scheduled for 1pm. Eagle watcher stations will be open from 10-3 tomorrow. Dress warm! The weather is forecast to be sunny with temperatures in the 30s. Wind chill will cool things down quite a bit, with a feel more in the teens and twenties.

Friday’s eagle count number is 86 from Rockport to Marblemount.

Eagle Watch-2

Two bald eagles perched near Hwy 530 bridge in Rockport on December 17, 2017 (photo by Steve Payne)

Hello eagle fans! After a soggy weekend last weekend, we are looking forward to some sunshine and beautiful fresh snow on the mountain peaks. So far, the past two weekends, the volunteers and I have enjoyed great numbers of eagles (5-10 at a time) at all three viewing sites. With water levels in the Skagit River relatively low, carcasses of spawned out coho have been exposed, and the eagles are taking full advantage.


Adult bald eagle eating a salmon carcass in Rockport Washington, below Highway 530 bridge Deecember 10, 2017 (Photo by Bob Schneider)

During the Thanksgiving floods, coho that were returning to Marblemount fish hatchery ended up spreading out over a large area, rather than strictly swimming to the trap. Many young eagles are camped out up there at the buffet, making sightings virtually guaranteed for hatchery visitors. During Friday’s eagle count, a subadult eagle landed on this fish carcass right in front of us and started eating, allowing me to take this quick cell phone video. Wow!

The DOT has completed repairs on Highway 20 near Cascadian farm (MP 101), so there are no longer delays.

The Skagit Bald Eagle Interpretive Center (inside Howard Miller Park) will be offering a guided walk at 11:00am Saturday. Guest speaker programs will resume next weekend.

Rockport State Park Discovery Center is open 11-4 on weekends. Have you visited this fun center yet? There are many things to see and touch and create – it’s a great place for adults and kids. State Park rangers are also offering guided walks – check it out!

As far as eagle watcher stations, we will be out at all three sites Saturday (hope to see you!) but taking the day off Sunday for Christmas Eve. Happy Holidays! -Tanya

Ranger Tanya, posting live from milepost 100 on the upper Skagit. What a beautiful day. Eagles are out and active – feeding perching, flying.

The Hatchery is lively as well. Plenty of eagles and other bird friends, coho spawning, etc. By January the salmon run will be over so now is a good time to go.

Tomorrow’s weather forecast is great as well, so come on up, take in the views, maybe call up a boat guide service and take and eagle float. Get it while the getting is good!

Eagle watch volunteers will be out every weekend through January 21 (we are taking Christmas Eve off.)

Did our usual road and walking -based eagle count from Marblemount to Rockport yesterday and counted 74 bald eagles. Last week Skagit Guide Service counted 40, so numbers are up.

See you on the river!

As maples and cottonwoods are turning yellow and dropping their leaves, salmon are making their way up the Skagit River to spawn. In the next month, migratory bald eagles will be working their way down from the far north for their winter vacation down here in the lower 48 states. Given enough spawned out fish carcasses to feed on, a concentration of bald eagles will be here on the upper Skagit feasting on the river bars while conserving energy for the trip back to their nesting areas next spring. Eagles will travel to rivers throughout the region looking for areas with the easiest food supply, and rotting fish is a particular favorite.

Photo by Don Knutzen

Which river will have the most fish and the greatest concentration of eagles this season? For years, the Skagit was king, with the largest fish runs and the most eagles.  For the past few years, that distinction has gone to the Nooksack. We will have to wait and see what the salmon and eagles do this year.

Eagle Watcher volunteers will be out in public parks here on the Skagit River on weekends beginning December 8th, scanning for eagles and offering the public an opportunity to view them close up through high quality spotting scopes and binoculars. If you are making a winter trip up the Skagit, stop in Rockport at the Skagit River Bald eagle Interpretive Center, located at Howard Miller Steelhead County Park and at our eagle watching base outside in the day use area. 

We are happy to give you the latest info and get your questions answered.