<< Back to All Programs

Skagit Valley Bird Blitz

May 9-11, 2014

A birding camp going into its fourth year that seeks to draw birders to this spectacular provincial park.  Early spring is a great time to visit, with plants coming to life and many bird species, including Harlequin Ducks, arriving in the Skagit to breed.

The Skagit offers novice and expert birders a beautiful mountain setting and a classic “U-shaped” glaciated valley bottom that is traversed by a widely-meandering river.  Healthy waterfowl populations are found here --- including Harlequin Ducks --- and lush riparian forests are alive with song birds.  There are also dry forests of Ponderosa Pine and open meadows where birds of prey can hunt.  And because the Skagit Valley runs north-south spanning the Canada-U.S. border, it forms a natural corridor for spring migrants --- an important area to study in the years ahead, as climate change continues to impact the timing of bird breeding and migration.  Human migrants come here too.  Both Americans and Canadians can enjoy birding in this trans-boundary wilderness.

The Skagit Bird Blitz seeks to replicate the success of the Manning Park Bird Blitz, which attracts large numbers of birders each year and builds on a growing database that now spans over 30 years of sightings.  It is hoped that in the Skagit, we can establish another successful birding tradition that reveals the park’s changing species diversity over time.

With 199 recorded bird species and a road and trail network that gives good access to a beautiful mountain landscape, Skagit Valley deserves to become a birding Mecca.


Co-Sponsorship of the Bird Blitz:

The Skagit Valley Bird Blitz is supported and delivered by two non-profit organizations – BC Nature and Hope Mountain Centre.  Both organizations share a commitment to nature appreciation and stewardship.  Important financial support comes from the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC).



BirdersFRIDAY, MAY 9

2:00 PM to 7:00 PM --- Birders arrive, check-in and set up camp at Ross Lake Group Camp in Skagit Valley Provincial Park.

7:00 PM --- Registration for birding groups begins at Ross Lake Group Camp.  Form birding groups, choose a trail, and receive your birding kits.  Late arrivals can register at the Ross Lake Camp until 10:00 PM Friday, or anytime Saturday morning.

8:00 PM --- Evening Presentation.

Morning --- Starting at various times through the morning, birding groups will hike different trails in the Skagit to record species and quantities of birds (by sight or call).  16 birding areas have been identified in the park, and birders are welcome to visit as many of these areas as they wish.

5:00 PM --- Birders gather at Ross Lake Group Camp for an evening barbecue with buns, salads, and drinks (bring your own protein!).

7:00 PM --- After dinner, birders will meet around the campfire for a quick run-through of the day’s wildlife sightings, sharing their thrilling moments and exciting debacles.

8:00 PM --- Evening Presentation.  

More birding will take place in those areas not covered on Saturday, with people leaving Sunday afternoon.

SapsuckerA few
from last year

Birding Data:

All data gathered during the weekend will contribute to a multi-year database on the Skagit’s bird population.  Similar to the Manning Bird Blitz, data will be compiled and shared with the public and interested researchers.  Hope Mountain Centre and BC Nature will share the Bird Blitz data via their Web sites and eBird.

Guest Speaker:

Greg FergusonGreg Ferguson

Greg is a Registered Professional Biologist with over 12 years of experience working and volunteering in the fields of ecology, environmental education and research, and natural resource management. He specializes in wildlife and habitat assessment, with an emphasis on Species at Risk, habitat enhancement and restoration, conservation planning, and community engagement.

Greg has worked as a biologist with federal, provincial, municipal, and aboriginal governments, private consultants, environmental non-governmental organizations, and academia throughout southern and central British Columbia. He holds a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation; a multidisciplinary degree focusing on the forest, grassland, and aquatic ecosystem ecology and management. He also possesses an Advanced Certificate in Habitat Restoration, with specialization in wildlife, fisheries, and watershed management, habitat restoration, and biophysical inventory techniques.

On his personal time, Greg enjoys hiking, bird watching, species at risk inventory, cycling, swimming, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Greg will be presenting research on barn swallow population and range decline in BC's Lower Mainland.

Event Leaders:

Kelly Pearce Kelly Pearce

Kelly is Program Director for Hope Mountain Centre and has coordinated the Manning Park Bird Blitz since 2000.  Kelly has delivered outdoor education in Manning Park and the Skagit Valley for 16 years.



Scott Denkers Scott Denkers

Scott is Administrative Director with Hope Mountain Centre.  He is a passionate birder and life-long student of nature and earth sciences in general. Scott is also a board director at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Society and an executive committee member with the Chilliwack Field Naturalists.

Pre-Registration and payment:

 Full Weekend Birder - $50.  Fee covers Friday & Saturday camping, barbeque (bring own protein), guest speaker, learning and field data materials and company of friendly, like-minded birders!  

Day Birder + Saturday BBQ & Guest Speaker - $40.  Fee covers Saturday camping, barbeque (bring own protein), guest speaker, learning and field data materials and company of friendly, like-minded birders!

Day Birder - $25.  Fee covers Saturday OR Sunday birding with field data materials and company of friendly, like-minded birders!

Young Birder - $0.  FREE for youth aged 18 and under, accompanied by an adult. 

We ask that all participants register and pay in advance online through our website - www.hopemountain.org.  If online payment is not possible for you, please arrange payment by cheque with us well before the event.  This will help us plan for the weekend, purchase food and arrange supplies for support/educational materials!  Please contact Hope Mountain Centre at 604-869-1274 or send us an email at
info@hopemountain.org if you have questions or need help registering. 


The $50 birding fee includes the following:

*  Two nights camping at Ross Lake Group Campsite noon Friday to Sunday.
*  Guest speakers and barbecue, with salads, buns, and drinks
    provided (bring your own protein!).
*  Birding Kit --- including park map, bird checklist, tally sheet,
    nesting record, and pencil.
*  Educational displays and materials.


Camping --
Ross Lake Group Campsite has camping areas for tents and RV’s.  No electrical or sewage hookups.  Facilities include pit toilets, drinking water, a covered cook shelter with wood stove, and a group campfire ring.  Bring your own table and chairs if possible, as picnic tables and seating are limited.

There are no fixed-roof accommodations in the Skagit, so birders must come prepared for tenting or RV camping.  The nearest accommodation is in Hope, which is a 60 min. drive from Ross Lake.


From the WEST on Hwy 1

Map to Ross Lake Group Camp

* Take exit 168 just before reaching Hope
* Turn RIGHT onto Flood Hope Rd.
* After 300 metres, turn RIGHT onto Silver
   Skagit Rd.
* Follow Silver Skagit Rd. approximately 58 km.
   to Ross Lake Group Campground.

From the EAST/NORTH on Hwy 3/5

* At Hope, continue onto Hwy 1 going west
* Take exit 168
* Turn LEFT onto Flood Hope Rd.
* Turn RIGHT onto Silver Skagit Rd.
* Follow Silver Skagit Rd. approximately 58 km.
   to Ross Lake Group Campground.

Click on "Directions" in the Additional Info box (upper right on this page) for a printable map.


What to Bring:

Be prepared to camp and provide your own food and cooking stove.  An exception is the Saturday night barbecue, when you can just arrive with your choice of protein for the grill.

Come prepared to hike in a variety of weather conditions, with temperatures ranging between +20 C during the day and +5 C at night.  Recommended items to bring:

  *  Water container (at least 1 litre)
  *  High-energy lunches and snack food
  *  Hiking boots or sturdy runners
  *  Warm clothes and rain gear 
  *  Sunglasses, hat, camera, binoculars, guide books


If a registration is cancelled 14 days or more before a program starts, HMCOL will refund the program fee and equipment rental fees (as applicable) minus an administrative cost of $20 per person.  Program and equipment rental fees will not be refunded if a cancellation is received less than 14 days before the start of a program.  A program may be cancelled at the discretion of HMCOL.  If a program is cancelled, participants will receive a full refund of program and equipment fees.

A note about liability:

Hope Mountain Centre carries liability insurance and maintains excellent safety records.  Due to the nature of outdoor programs, these trips do involve some personal risk.  Hope Mountain Centre assumes no responsibility for personal injury or damage to personal property and we will require each participant to sign a liability release and assumption of risk form before participating in this program.

Please be aware that activities typical of this program involve many risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to: accidents which occur during transportation or travel to and from events; slips and falls; impact, cold water immersion; repetitive strain injuries; dislocated shoulders; hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration, sunstroke and heatstroke; changing and inclement weather conditions including storms, high wind and lightning; landslides and falling objects; encounters with domestic or wild animals; bites from insects, including ticks with the possibility of leading to disease; poisonous plant contact; campfire or fuel burns; and negligence on the part of other participants.

While we love animals of all kinds, we ask that you please leave Fido at home.

Reserve a spot now by registering through this website, or call us at 604-869-1274 or by email at info@hopemountain.org for more information.

Get social with us!  visit us on facebooksee us on flickrsee us on youtubetweet us on twitter

Apr 23, 2014