Eagle Watching in Watcom County

In January of this year I made time to run up to the Nooksack River. This is near Bellingham, on the highway to the Mount Baker Ski Areas.

There are a lot of reports about large numbers of Bald Eagles being in the area. I confirmed that the reports are correct, but arriving at 8:30 in the morning without really knowing the best spot resulted in few keepers.

The Eagles have marked their calendars for the Chum Salmon run that occurs from about mid November to mid January on the river.

In addition to the Nooksack, you will find eagles along the Skagit as well. I think the Nooksack is better because you will be south of the birds so the morning light will be working with you. Pretty much all of the Skagit viewing areas are on the north of the river with lots of trees obstructing your lens.

Where to go

The best viewing location seems to be on or around the Welcome Bridge, and the Deming Homestead Eagle Park. Both of these locations are close to SR542 which is the road up to Mount Baker. The drive up from the SR512 Park and Ride will take about two and one quarter hours. About 135 miles.

When to go

The salmon run is from about mid November through mid January. The Eagles don’t hang around if the food isn’t coming up the river.

You will want to be there by dawn on a cloudy day. I was (as usual) late getting away and my first shots are at 8:30. By the time I found the bridge, most of the activity was done. The birds were basking in the sun with full bellies.


Here are some links to articles about this topic:

Three Tips for Eagle Watching with the Family

Eagle Watching On The Nooksack River

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