Spring Sights in the Pacific Northwest
I absolutely cannot wait for my UnCruise Adventure trip this spring on the Wilderness Discoverer.
April is my very favorite time of year in the Pacific Northwest. It’s such a unique place in the world, with the ancient forests reaching right down to the Salish Sea.
In spring, the forest is expectant with new life—native rose and berry buds, brightening mosses, unfurling ferns.
Resident woodland birds are starting to sing and are busy gathering nest stuffs. (In the forest we will see northwest birds that love the dark conifer habitat, such as Pacific Wren, Varied Thrush, and Chestnut-backed Chickadee.)
The very first migrant songbirds are on their way. Shorebirds are also migrating, pointing their feet westward as they stop to eat as much as they can, fueling up for their journey farther north to breed on the Arctic tundra. (If tides are right we should see large mixed flocks of migrating shorebirds.)
Seabirds are already mated for the season, bobbing on the waves, following their underwater food sources. Some of these breed here in the northwest, others, like the shorebirds, are on their way north. (We might see Tufted Puffin, Rhinocerous Auklet, Common Murre, maybe even Marbled Murrelet.)
The weather in April is wild and unpredictable. The sun might shine, the rain might pour, and it might be windy or mild. But it will always be beautiful. Watching the birds adapt to weather changes always makes me feel more connected to outdoor life.
I am a nature writer with a focus on birds, and have studied birds my entire life, all over the world. I used to call myself a “birder,” but these days I identify more as a birdwatcher and naturalist—instead of chasing rare birds, I focus on learning deeply the birds that share my Pacific Northwest home.
If you are coming to this cruise as a birder looking for Northwest specialties we will find them! But even if you don’t think of yourself as a birder at all, a bird-themed cruise is just as much of a delight.
Birds are a wondrous thread that connects us to all of nature—to the trees, the sea, the forest floor, and one another. Observing which birds are where, and a little of what they are up to is truly a window into the heart of the northwest world, whether you are good at identifying them or not.
Bring your binoculars and field guides. I am a nature writer and will always have a notebook with me (and I’m happy to have side-chats about writing on this adventure, as well).
One thing that is certain about birds is that there will always be surprises. You can never know for certain what birds will turn up.
What is certain is that no matter what level of birdwatching experience we bring, we will all learn something new, see something unexpected, deepen our connection to the unique Pacific Northwest landscape, and return with new and wild stories to share.
Join me on this adventure through the Pacific Northwest on April 21, 2018!