We walk down to the spit and always find a variety of gulls in the marsh, along with dowitchers, Great Blue Herons, sanderlings, sandpipers, and terns. Bald Eagles sail overhead while kingfishers call raucously as they fly by. It’s a wonderfully bird-rich island. Unless we’re leading a bird walk. And then, there’s nary a bird to be found. (Except for the gulls, who are ever-present.)
Last summer, as part of our job as Interpretive Hosts, we came up with the idea of offering a weekly morning bird walk in the park. To lure campers out of their cozy sleeping bags and tents, we provide freshly brewed locally roasted coffee (kids get hot chocolate). The title of our program, naturally, is “Coffee With The Birds.”
This small island boasts more than 200 species of birds. There’s habitat to suit all preferences—forested areas, open grassland, marshes, ponds, rocky shorelines, and beaches. In addition to the wealth of birds that reside in Spencer Spit State Park, we’ve found the exotic-to-us Rhinoceros Auklets and Tufted Puffins offshore at Iceberg Point; and Common Loons, Black Oystercatchers, and Surf Scoters while kayaking in the bays.
“Coffee With The Birds” has been a resounding success, both with campers in the park, visitors to the island, and locals. We begin with a 45-minute slideshow of Lopez birds, compiled from the best of our photos taken over the past four years. (It’s a good thing we have the photos to prove that there are, indeed, birds on Lopez.) We then stroll through the woods and down to the marsh on the spit, searching for birds along the way. Despite the fact that we rarely see more than a few birds on the bird walk, everyone loves the program and leaves with a good idea of the birds that call Lopez home.
Absolutely fantastic, gorgeous bird photography. Thank you, thank you to both of you. I will save and cherish this one. I move to Indiana on Sept. 24, to a Senior retirement community. Cannot afford one here. My E-mail address will remain the same.Hugs.
So happy that you enjoyed this post, Barbara — I thought you might, given that you’re such a devoted birder! I hope your move to Indiana goes well; we’ll definitely stay in touch. Hugs to you from both of us. :-)
Great blog and wonderful pictures.
We trying to entice you and Jo for a visit next summer. ;-)
Sounds like you’ve developed a lovely program. I may have to visit Lopez Island just to attend. Seeing a Puffin is high on my must see list.
We’ve had a lot of fun creating programs, Ingrid. We’re wanting to get a closer look at the puffins, too — we have photos, but none that I thought were worthy of posting. Maybe next year!
This is soooo great!!! Doing & sharing what ya love. You’ve collected some amazing photos. I think I’ll put the kettle on & take another look…
Thanks, Judy — wish you could have come up this summer — maybe next year? Can’t wait to see you in Ashland! xo
No wonder this state park loves you two with the programs you have devised. Those are some of the best bird photographs I’ve ever seen. The bald eagle, the loon and the auklet are professional. Do you ever enter any of these pictures you take in contests or to magazines? If not, you should. Really loved the surf scoters. I’ve never seen them before. Wish I could be a camper in your campground. Sadly I’m headed in the opposite direction.
I wish you could be here, too, Sherry. In fact, we wish you and David could be our co-camp hosts! This is the perfect place for you guys with all of the hiking, biking, and kayaking. I appreciate your kind comments about our photographs.
Love the loon and the owl:) But those surf scoters are too cute with that adorable bill.
What a clever and very inviting idea…Coffee With The Birds!”
Thanks, Pam — everyone seems to enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate on the typically cool island mornings — the smell of coffee lures them in. :-) I think the surf scoters are my favorite, too.
What a neat idea! You guys are not only great nature teachers but also great photographers! Those surf scoters are so darn cute, I want to see them one day with you!
MonaLiza, it would be so much fun to explore Lopez with you and Steve! You guys would enjoy all of the adventures here, and you would love the birding. We’ll show you all the best spots.
Spencer Spit must be delighted to have found you and Eric. What great programs you two have designed.
I have always loved the pileated woodpecker and that surf scoter is adorable.
We will definitely be exploring this part of Washington after seeing your posts. Thanks!
Thank you, LuAnn! We feel so fortunate to have made this connection. I hope you two can make it to Lopez — you will love it.