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Bird Projects at North Cascade Institute

Updated on July 14, 2015

Day Trip on Hwy. 20. to The North Cascades - Mountains and Waterfalls, Rivers, Streams and Eagles

This and much more can be seen on the drive North of Sedro Woolley Washington all the way up to Diablo. Stay along the way, or drive it for just the day. Picnic in turn off historical spots of beauty. Drive just for the thrill of it, the road is full of wonderful curves. The mighty Skagit River turning ever with you on one side. The towering rocks and cliffs hold many a waterfall frolicking down the mountains on the other side. If you can manage to keep your eyes on the trees around the water, most likely you will see an eagle perched up high. Many a hawk and salmon too will show up, if you take the time to stop along the clear cold river.

A Mountain of Discovery

Pure Bliss
Pure Bliss | Source
Waterfall Kiss
Waterfall Kiss | Source
Do Clouds Hiss?
Do Clouds Hiss? | Source
Make a Wish
Make a Wish | Source

Learning Center at the North Cascades. Stewardship Weekend.

Flocks of Birds are coming, head north for the events!

Come spend the night or spend a vacation there. The learning center is full of enriching ideas to explore and learn about this summer.

We were reintroduced to the Hands At Work projects during our earth day celebration.

The cascade loop in Northwest Washington is a popular destination to learn about nature and how to care for it.

We wanted to hike up on the trails again, closer to the mountain.

We helped some friends with clearing projects on their new farm land, then headed for the quarry.

Along the way, we stopped for lunch at our favorite hamburger joint north of Sedro Woolley, Washington State.

Off to the Mountains to look for bird nests! We go inside now, mosquitoes are out quite strongly tonight.

"Good night", hoots the owl, "good night. Twitter, tweet, yaw, yaw, caw, caw, sing song, we have no words.

We listen and marvel at the the birds going to sleep. "The sun is going down, go to sleep, go to sleep."

Quiet, slowly, as the sun melts, slowly, it gets quieter, distant, we see the birds, disappearing into the limbs.

Flapping their wings, aha, in there must be a nest. "Do not disturb us though, let us get our rest."

The North Cascades Highway: A Roadside Guide
The North Cascades Highway: A Roadside Guide

My favorite scenic drive. Pick a beautiful day, grab your camera, be on your way. It isn't that long of a drive when you consider the view and the many stops along the way.

 

North Cascades Institute - Environmental Learning Center

We have followed them as they moved and grew higher and farther up through the North Cascades to this beautiful learning center. Six months of Adventures to choose from, how will we ever decide which ones to do this year?

Up Here the Waterfalls Do Echo

Environmental Learning Center, found off the roads of Hwy. 20 in what is famously called the Cascade Loop. Diablo, Washington, I love that name for the way it reminds me of the old westerns on television exploring and setting claim to some rock they rested upon, fell in love and made it home. This little neck in the woods has come a long way during the last 25 years.

Bald Eagles Fly and Feed All About the Skagit River - Northwest Meadows Are Shrinking. How Can Birds Survive? Can We Help?

Every year from November until February Bald Eagles and Salmon can be found along the Skagit River coming down the mountain and soaring through the towns of Marblemount, Rockport, Sedro Wooley, and Concrete. Not only is it a beautiful fall and winter drive, the flocks of eagles that can be seen never ceases to amaze me.

Institute Trees, by RHR
Institute Trees, by RHR

Time To Learn About the Trees We Love

Douglas Fir, Hemlock, Birch, Dogwood, Maple, Alder

"The old Indian teaching was that is is wrong to tear loose from its place on the earth anything that may be growing there. It may be cut off, but it should not be uprooted. The trees and the grass have spirits. Whatever one of such growth may be destroyed by some good Indian, his act is done in sadness and with a prayer for forgiveness because of his necessities..." ---Wooden Leg (late 19th century) Cheyenne

The trees along are path

Mountain Alder

Douglas Fir

Cedar and Hemlock forest

Pines grow out of this rocky soil. This forest is full of mixed conifers.

Spruce and elderberry, leaflets have saw tooth margins, tapered tips and small berries. Red and blue berries both were spotted along the path.

The mountain and vine maple make it worth it to come back again in fall to see the many splendid colors of their leaves tumbling to the ground. No other place have we found such a variety of yellows, reds, oranges, golds and browns.

Mountain Dogwood and black cottonwood stand around in huddles underneath the Douglas firs, with their mighty cones.

Pacific service berry rise up around the bends and curves as we follow sun beam glows trickling along for us to see through the limbs of the trees as we climb higher up the trail.

Sitka and Mountain Alder try to take over the last sun trying to shine on the well marked trail floor. Steeper the boulders loom out before us. Tighter the trail twists and turns, as the thick undergrowth sprawls up the next hill.

Even the grand foliage of the choke cherry doesn't stop us now, as we grab hold tighter our walking stick to pull us up these rocky slabs, around the sharp bends to the persistent calling of the woodpecker piercing the tree trunks.

We are catching glimpses now of how high we are, looking to the east we know the lake is below, nothing but trees all shapes and sizes for miles around. Open, closed, short tall, shelter, this hill side is full of living creatures big and small.

We can't even hear most of them, as the wind from the top of the cliffs picks up. Almost to the top, we will have to almost run down to get to lunch on time. Totally worth it!

Washington Fir Trees - Many Different Kinds

We love being in a state that you can drive east over one mountain full of high snowy cliffs of water falling over dragged edges.

Snuggled into these mountains this part of the learning center lives. Next drive through warm valleys of orchards and dry tumbleweeds on the east side, where the temperatures rise at least 10 degrees from the hot drying sun.

Go south for a thrill of winding your way along a golden brown countryside. Head west, takes us back home to the cities, through a wider mountain of freeways setting sun blinding in our faces.

Back to our industrialized blues and greens, served with white snow whipped cream from the towering mountains gleaming over the water. No wonder whatever the time of year, we are wearing sunglasses. Once again our sweet northern homes by the sea welcome us in the bright darkness of the full moonlight.

Nest Watch Research

by Cornell Lab

Take part in Cornell Lab nest watch project. Learn the secrets to finding nests. Monitor the birds In their natural habitat. You will get to see how amazing birds are. Come and learn, the secrets will be revealed as we take part in this project.

My Memories Have Been Ignited - This Year, What Month Do I Go?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Markings of a much larger animal shown here.  Be careful, be aware.Our teachers are proud to show us the knowledge in the woods.Waterfalls in gallant speed after heavy rains and snowfall, covering up the rocks, splashing with glee.I could stand here all day, watching, listening, seeing the day change, looking for the mountain range, too early in the morning.About 7 ducks flew out on the water, talking noisily.  No matter which way I looked, I couldn't get a view of them through the brilliant trees.Now you see them, now you don't, feisty little hummingbird.Miraculous tree you are, even with this much bark damage; you grow bright green leaves again this year, making dark green again, the forest.
Markings of a much larger animal shown here.  Be careful, be aware.
Markings of a much larger animal shown here. Be careful, be aware.
Our teachers are proud to show us the knowledge in the woods.
Our teachers are proud to show us the knowledge in the woods.
Waterfalls in gallant speed after heavy rains and snowfall, covering up the rocks, splashing with glee.
Waterfalls in gallant speed after heavy rains and snowfall, covering up the rocks, splashing with glee.
I could stand here all day, watching, listening, seeing the day change, looking for the mountain range, too early in the morning.
I could stand here all day, watching, listening, seeing the day change, looking for the mountain range, too early in the morning.
About 7 ducks flew out on the water, talking noisily.  No matter which way I looked, I couldn't get a view of them through the brilliant trees.
About 7 ducks flew out on the water, talking noisily. No matter which way I looked, I couldn't get a view of them through the brilliant trees.
Now you see them, now you don't, feisty little hummingbird.
Now you see them, now you don't, feisty little hummingbird.
Miraculous tree you are, even with this much bark damage; you grow bright green leaves again this year, making dark green again, the forest.
Miraculous tree you are, even with this much bark damage; you grow bright green leaves again this year, making dark green again, the forest.

Northwest Bird Lovers - Collect All Sorts of Things

Collectors will have a field day helping out with this project. Learning to identify different species is half the fun. Birds have such an amazing way of taking care of themselves, thanks to help from the trees. Food is found there and many birds wouldn't have a place to call home if it wasn't trees.

Woodpecker, by RHR
Woodpecker, by RHR
Birds of the Pacific Northwest Mountains: The Cascade Range, the Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Coast Mountains
Birds of the Pacific Northwest Mountains: The Cascade Range, the Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Coast Mountains

A great little book to help you identify those crafty little birds that like to sit up high and sing their sweet melodies in your ear.

 

So Many Birds At Risk

Hopefully This Research Will Help The Scientists Find Out Why.

This project helps scientists understand the causes of some birds decline. Hopefully this research will help reverse the process. Our research as volunteers helps the database to track the causes of decline.

I think it will be fun to help, and learn the secrets, for the survival of our North American birds. Birds are amazing creations. With the variety of birds in our yard I have not seen any nests.

It will be fun exploring the woods after I come back home. We have finches, robins, hummingbirds, owls, to name a few. I wonder what nests we will find? Will the nest's in bushes be easier to find than the ones up in the trees?

Freedom to explore at your hearts content. Classes we can hardly wait to start. Going to and fro, all about the place, feeling our skin ripple in excitement from the crisp air.

— MJ Martin

© 2012 MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose

Share Adventures! - From May to October, So Many Choices.

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  • MJ Martin profile image
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    MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

    @CampingmanNW: Thanks for the inspiration. We really love going up to Marblemount for Eagle Watching this time of year. I love your mountain photo.

  • CampingmanNW profile image

    CampingmanNW 3 years ago

    I always enjoy reading lenses from the home turf. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I have a special affinity for anything about the area. Thanks for the memory popper. Having grown up in a lumber family, I also truly understand the value of timber and it's effect upon our forest ecosystem.