A pair of migrating trumpeter swans fly gracefully through the blue skies of a crisp winter day in the Skagit Valley. Photo ©Jerry Eisner

La Conner: See Who's Flocking Here This Winter

By Audrey Fraggalosch

Looking for a fun outdoor experience to brighten your winter days? One of Washington’s most spectacular events is the arrival of migrating birds to the Skagit Valley. Here you can see the largest winter gathering of Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans in North America. These magnificent birds annually migrate southward by the tens of thousands from nesting grounds in Siberia and Alaska.

The Skagit Valley is one of their major wintering grounds (December to March) and the avian numbers are jaw-dropping…+50,000 migrating snow geese, 7,000 trumpeter swans and 3,000 tundra swans. Imagine watching an aerial ballet with hundreds of swans dipping and soaring together like a shimmering wave of white light…this is winter birding at its best.

Hundreds of other bird species also find vital feeding grounds and winter habitat in the Skagit’s open fields and wetlands.  From the Upper Skagit River to the Skagit Flats to Fidalgo Bay, you can explore 20 different birding sites and see a wide diversity of species, including spectacular birds of prey and flocks of waterfowl and shorebirds. Don’t miss the large population of wintering bald eagles  that gather along the Skagit River to feed on spawning salmon.  BirdsofWinter.org has detailed information on what birds you will see where and directions on how to get to the Skagit’s many different birding locations.  So grab your camera and binoculars and be prepared for an awe-inspiring experience. 

Bald Eagle

See majestic eagles at the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center. Photo ©Joe Beeman

Snow Geese

Snow Geese take to flight! Photo ©John Lough

Explore La Conner

LaConner Waterfront

Stroll the boardwalk along the Swinomish Channel. Photo ©La Conner Chamber of Commerce

Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge spans the Swinomish Channel connecting downtown La Conner to the Swinomish Tribal headquarters.


Many shops and eateries line the colorful streets of downtown La Conner. Photo ©Aimee Beckwith

“Being on the waterfront, we have a gorgeous view of the boardwalk so you can walk the entire length of town along the Swinomish Channel,” said Heather Carter, Executive Director of La Conner Chamber of Commerce.

Plan your winter birding adventure with La Conner as your home base. This charming waterfront town is not only located close to  great birding spots, but is a relaxing and romantic getaway too. Enjoy exploring the quaint, walkable town, covering an area of about one square mile. Folks are friendly. Discover dozens of locally owned restaurants, cafes and shops.  For more information on planning a visit go to LoveLaConner.com

Tulip & Daffodil Time Is Just Around The Corner!

Daffodil Dance

Due to current COVID restrictions we are unable to say exactly how this year's flower celebrations will look. Please follow www.lovelaconner.com for updated information. Photo by ©Rachel Joy

Hope to see you in the spring to celebrate the millions of daffodils and tulips bursting into bloom! As with all things governed by Mother Nature, the flowers bloom according to their own schedule, with April being the usual peak blooming month. As part of the Tulip Festival Activities, there is a designated driving tour since there is no single 'site' to enter. The fields of tulips and daffodils are scattered throughout the Skagit Valley. 

Go to tulipfestival.org for more information, maps and updates on the 2021 Tulip Festival.