Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Owls and Eagles of Boundary Bay

I decided to start the New Year off with two of my favorite activities-traveling and getting outside with Nature.  A week or so ago, my brother had taken a trip to Boundary Bay to see the Snowy Owls.  The pictures he posted on Facebook got me excited about seeing the owls and we started planning our road trip.  We kept watching the weather and unfortunately our two choices were 40% chance of rain or 60% chance of rain.  We opted for the 40% and until we reached the Canadian border it looked like we were going to have 100% chance of rain.  The skies were dark and overcast; the rain coming at us sideways as we drove north on I5.  As we pulled into the Border crossing,the rain stopped.  We could see small slivers of what looked like clearing skies in the direction we were heading.  Unfortunately, they never really cleared,the day remained grey,overcast and windy; but thankfully the rain stopped.  And thankfully the owls and eagles could have cared less about the weather !

How have I lived in the Pacific Northwest and never discovered Boundary Bay Regional Park ? Ladner Trunk Road gives you access into the park.  And even before we got to the park we were like little children oohing and ahhing at all the Bald Eagles that lined Ladner Trunk Rd.  It seemed like everywhere you looked there was one on telephone pole or five in a tree.  We were awestruck.

We parked and started the hike along the dike that parallels the bay.  It's a very nice walk ,a gravel road that sits slightly above water level so that you can look out across the shoreline spotting all sorts of birds. But we were on a mission-to see the owls.  We were not disappointed   We felt so fortunate and so blessed to see them, we didn't care what the weather was doing.

This is the short eared beauty who perched himself on a fence post-just feet away from us

We weren't the only ones on the dike trail,but considering it was a Saturday we only saw about two dozen other nature lovers checking out the owls.

These two snowy owls had been sitting on this stump with three others who flew off looking for food.

And this one sat all alone in the middle of the field,constantly turning his head looking at us and whatever lay beyond him

The eagle was in a tree that lined that dike trail, about twenty feet away-I could have stood there and watched him all day

This one and the tree filled with seven others was outside of the park in someones front yard-amazing !

From what I have read Snowy Owls only head south to the lower 48 about once every 5-10 years.  Last year they arrived in record numbers an occurrence called an "irruption".  And apparently these incredible creatures have returned for what everyone is now calling an "echo irruption year".  What a rare opportunity to see these magnificent birds in the Pacific Northwest. 

I plan on returning one more time before the owls leave Boundary Bay and recommend you do the same.
It's a good day trip from Seattle or you can combine it with a visit to Bellingham or Vancouver, BC. (Don't forget your passport or WA enhanced driver's license).  If the weather cooperates a little we will take Ruby out and head to Park Canada, an RV park only fifteen minutes from Boundary Bay, and spend the entire weekend seeking out the Snowy Owls.

I hope your New Year started out as peacefully and as blessed as I felt mine did.  What more could I ask for, a day outside with my family,everyone in good health viewing the beauty of Nature.  Peace, love and happiness to all of you where ever you may be.