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Skagit Valley Bird Blitz 2024
Skagit Valley Bird Blitz 2024

Fri, May 10


Skagit County

Skagit Valley Bird Blitz 2024

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Time & Location

May 10, 2024, 1:00 p.m. – May 12, 2024, 12:00 p.m.

Skagit County, Ross Lake, Skagit Valley

About the event

After a long forced hiatus due to the pandemic followed by the flooding of 2021, we are excited to host the Skagit Bird Blitz once again!​Inaugurated in 2011, the Skagit Valley Bird Blitz was created by Kelly Pearce with help from Denis Knopp, Al and Jude Grass, Scott Denkers and other birding enthusiasts. It was also co-hosted with BC Nature with special help from Bev Ramey. The event seeks to replicate the Manning Park Bird Blitz, a successful event that now spans 41 years of ornithological sightings!Early May is a great time for novice and experienced birders alike to visit the Skagit – the birds are singing and nesting; spring wildflowers are in glorious bloom; and the infamous Skagit mosquitoes have not yet achieved their full blood-sucking majesty!With 199 recorded species, the Skagit offers a beautiful mountain setting and a classic “U-shaped” glaciated valley that is traversed by a widely meandering river. Healthy waterfowl populations are found here, including harlequin ducks and the lush riparian forests are alive with songbirds. There are also dry forests of Ponderosa Pine and open meadows where birds of prey frequently hunt. All in all, a thriving web of diverse ecosystems to attract our birds.​As the Skagit Valley spans the Canadian-U.S. border, it forms a natural corridor for north-south migrants, an important corridor to study in the years ahead, as climate change continues to impact the timing of bird breeding and migration. Human migrants enjoy the Skagit Valley lands too, both Americans and Canadians can enjoy birding in this trans-boundary wilderness.


Friday,  May 10, 2024

  • 01:00 - 7:00pm – Birders arrive and set up camp at Ross Lake Group Campground in Skagit Valley Provincial Park - Download MAP - Check-in at the registration tableParticipants must arrange their own transportation.
  • 07:00pm – Form birding groups, choose a trail, and receive your birding kits. Late arrivals can register at the Ross Lake Campground until 9:00 pm Friday, or early Saturday morning
  • 8:00pm – Presentation by Denis Knopp​ on the "Birds of the Skagit Valley"

Saturday, May 11, 2024

  • Morning – Starting at various times through the morning, birding groups will hike different trails in the Skagit to record species and quantities of birds, doing so both by sight and call. Sixteen birding areas* have been identified in the park, and birders are welcome to visit as many of these areas as they wish
  • 09:00am – Beginner's group walk begins
  • 05:00pm – Birders gather at Ross Lake Group Campground for an evening barbecue with buns, salads, condiments, and drinks (bring your own protein!)
  • 07:00pm – After dinner, birders will meet around the campfire for a quick run-through of the day’s wildlife sightings, sharing their thrilling moments and alarming debacles.
  • 8:00pm – Kelly Pearce will present an introduction to the Skagit Valley, exploring topics from its natural history, human history, as well as the marvels of its valuable habitat.​Sunday, May 12, 2024
  • Morning – More birding will take place in the areas not covered on Saturday, with participants leaving Sunday afternoon.Please note that some birding areas might be inaccessible due to flood damage. HMC team will assess the areas as soon as the Silver-Skagit Road is open.​Be aware that times are approximate! Start and end times may vary slightly depending on speed of the group, weather and road conditions, etc.​


  • Full Weekend Birder – $75 Fee covers Friday & Saturday camping fees, Saturday barbecue (bring your own protein), guest speakers' Friday and Saturday evening presentation, birding kit and field data information, educational materials, and company of friendly, like-minded birders!
  • 1 Night Camping Birder – $60 Fee covers Saturday night camping fees, Saturday and/or Sunday birding, Saturday barbecue (bring your own protein), guest speakers' Friday and Saturday evening presentation, birding kit and field data information, educational materials, and company of friendly, like-minded birders!
  • Day Birder + BBQ – $45 Fee covers Saturday birding with birding kit and field data information, use of educational displays and materials, and company of friendly, like-minded birders! Fee also includes the BBQ on Saturday evening (bring your own protein) and Saturday evening presentation .
  • Day Birder (no BBQ) – $35 Fee covers Saturday OR Sunday birding with birding kit and field data information, use of educational materials, and company of friendly, like-minded birders!
  • Young Birder – $0 FREE for children and youth aged 18 and under, must be accompanied by an adult participating in event.​Fee applies to all birders; those camping and those staying at other fixed roof accommodation.For those attending the barbecue, please bring your own protein.  We will provide a variety of salads, buns, coffee/tea, fruit juice and various condiments.  Bringing your own cutlery and plates to help with our cleanup!

PHYSICAL DEMAND Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition, but there will be plenty of opportunities to rest and enjoy the birds and surroundings–you’ll be on your own schedule!  It’s also your choice of birding trails, from flat and easy to steep and strenuous.  Please be prepared for all weather conditions. May conditions can be cold or hot, or anything in between! Temperatures at camp typically range from -3C to +20C. Snow may be encountered at higher elevations.

WHAT TO BRING Whenever you are hiking, you should always carry The EssentialsRecommended items: Backpack to carry all your belongings Sturdy boots and gaiters Water (at least 1 litre) High-energy food Warm clothes and rain gear Binoculars/spotting scope, camera Bird ID guidebooks and/or apps downloaded for offline use on phone Headlamp First aid kit Firestarter Emergency shelter/blanket Map and compass (and/or GPS navigation + spare batteries/powerbank and cord) Multitool Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, Chapstick

Be prepared to camp in shoulder season conditions (potential for cold and wet) and provide your own food–an exception is the Saturday night barbecue, when you can just arrive with protein for the grill.​Come prepared to hike in a variety of weather, with temperatures ranging between +25 Celsius during the day and +5 at night.Gortex Gaiters are helpful to keep mud and snow out of your boots.


Event Camping

Group Camping will be available at Ross Lake Group Campground with plenty of room for our group. Come prepared for tenting or RV camping.  There are 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.

AMENITIES There are no fixed-roof accommodations in the Skagit, so birders must come prepared for tent or RV camping. The nearest accommodation is in Hope, which is an hours’ drive from Ross Lake.Program Partners: We are grateful for the financial support provided by the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission and the Province of British Columbia.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 Park Bird Blitz, data will be compiled and shared with the public as well as many ornithological researchers. Hope Mountain Centre and BC Nature will share the Bird Blitz data via their respective websites.


Denis Knopp, Guest Speaker Denis Knopp is the principal of B.C.'s Wild Heritage Environmental Consultants. He has thirty years of experience focusing on biological resource inventories of rare flora and fauna, site environmental assessments, and environmental monitoring in B.C. Denis is a well-known naturalist with skills that cover a broad range of vegetation and wildlife species although he is best known for his work with rare plants, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies. Dennis played a key role in helping to create the Skagit Valley Bird Blitz back in 2010, helping Hope Mountain Centre staff to create a detailed bird checklist for Skagit Valley Provincial Park, and to designate the 16 distinct birding areas found within the park.

Scott Denkers, Group Leader

Scott's interest in birds and natural history began early in life. His post-secondary education led to degrees in biology and physical geography. Following university, he worked at various natural resource organizations over a couple of decades in the U.S. In 2006, Scott moved to Canada with his wife, Connie, and soon after began working with the nascent Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning. After helping grow Hope Mountain Centre for 13 years with an outstanding group of people, Scott retired from his job as Administrative Director in 2021. He is a passionate birder and although retired, he remains involved with Hope Mountain Centre's bird blitzes and other events. His deep interest in birds and nature in general also keeps him active with Nature Chilliwack, an affiliate club of BC Nature, and BC Field Ornithologists. Scott also loves to spend time with gardening, nature photography, family and the most amazing grandkids.

Kelly Pearce, Group Leader

Kelly has enjoyed working as an outdoor educator in the North Cascades for 31 years. He helped to establish the Skagit Valley Bird Blitz in 2011, working in collaboration with Jude and Al Grass, Denis Knopp, and Scott Denkers. While it has been frustrating to see the Skagit Blitz sidelined in recent years by pandemics, fires, and floods, Kelly is excited to see the event make a dramatic comeback in 2024!


 Sorry no refunds! You can pass on your spot to someone else who meets the physical demand of the program, just please let us know, as we need registration information from everyone.A program may be cancelled at the discretion of HMCOL. If a program is cancelled by HMCOL, participants will receive a full refund of program fees. Please be aware that our programs run regardless of weather conditions, unless HMCOL determines that it will affect the safety of participants.


Liability WaiverEveryone ages 19 & over must sign a liability waiver form in order to participate in this program. Please take the time to read this form because you must understand and agree to it when you sign it. By signing it you are waiving certain rights, including the right to sue. These forms will be available to sign when you check in. Please seek legal counsel if you have any questions.

Informed Consent Form Everyone, age 18 & under must have an informed consent form signed by their parents or legal guardian in order to participate. Please contact us if you need this form prior to arrival at this program.


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