I drove to the Skagit River flats last weekend. The area had flooded and I heard that the bald eagles were congregating in trees on high ground. It was a grey day, drizzly and dark. The reports were true. We found 15 eagles in a tree, and as soon as we stepped out of the car, we saw why. Voles swam in the flooded fields, scurried under the car, hid in the tall grass. A few drowned voles lay on their sides in the water. It was a buffet for eagles, and they acted showed no interest in further dining. I never touched a camera. Exposing for the black backlit eagles would have pegged the histogram to the right, blowing out the sky. Without light, natural or artificial, there is no shot. Sometimes the experience is enough.

9 Responses to “Skagit”

  1. Dean Forbes says:

    I drove up to the Skagit River flats on Monday, Jan. 19, under sunny skies and no flooding. I was looking for snow geese, especially the big groups of hundreds of birds. No luck finding a big group close to a road, unfortunately. I did see a couple of juvenile eagles in the trees.

  2. terrybreedlove says:

    I plan to hit the beach this weekend maybe Ozzett or Rialto. Ozzett has some native petroglyphs carved in rock I want to shoot plus the animals are so tame. When things warm up I plan to hike down Rialto beach past the hole in the wall and there are some rocks that seals haul up on. Later this summer we always hike up the Soleduck river and over the high divide where bears and goats are sometimes closer than you want them to be. We do live in a very beautiful part of the world here in the NW and just being here is reward enough.

  3. Chris Mullins says:

    Hi Art,

    Many of us are heading up to the Bald Eagle Festival in Skagit this weekend. None of those going have ever been to that area before, and really don’t know what to expect.

    Do you have any recommendations in terms of specific areas to visit? Clearly going during the Festival isn’t ideal for photography, but we’re trying to make the best of the date…

  4. Richard Wong says:

    Sounds like an amazing place, Art. The only time I’ve seen a Bald Eagle in the wild was on the road to the Salton Sea. It was feeding on some carcass but flew off before I could stop the car much less take a photo. The experience was enough.

  5. Mat Hayward says:

    The eagle’s gather up there every year in December and January for the 2nd largest gathering of Bald Eagles in the US. It truly is an amazing site. I love to read that the experience was enough for you as you’ve clearly had some incredible experiences Art! Right here in our backyard is some of the most amazing Wildlife in the world in my opinion. The Eagles and the Orca’s are two reasons I love to live in the Seattle area! We tried to make it up to the Skagit this year but the flood, then the snow kept me from making it 🙁 Next year for sure!

  6. Sherrie Tallman says:

    One thing to remember when heading up the Skagit – if you don’t see eagles in the trees, check out the skies overhead. Once I drove all the way up there and was disappointed that there were no eagles – until I looked overhead to see over 100 eagles soaring in the wind currents above the Skagit River. No good photos that day, but it was an amazing sight. I made the trip last Sat. – didn’t expect to see much, but hit the jackpot with a group of seven a few miles past Marblemount. The highlight of the day was a bald eagle, perched low in a tree about 50 feet from the road, just across the river at Rockport. I’d never been so close to an eagle in the wild!

  7. Jim Gilbert says:

    Thanks for that, Art. It took me some time to figure out that I couldn’t throw “skills” at a situation to make a shot where one didn’t exist. A day out in the field when I don’t touch the camera still feels a bit like a personal failure though. It’s helpful to read this.

    Great work at the recent NANPA summit, BTW. I don’t know how I could have missed that three-man substitute “Chippendales” performance I heard so much about, though…

    Thanks again,


  8. Cory Kenward says:

    Hello Art i also love to go up and see the eagles. I wanted to know where in Washington State do you think is the best place to get photo’s. Thanks for your time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.