If you are looking for some hot birding action in Washington, the winter bird population is hitting its peak in the San Juan Islands right now. The marine birds are especially abundant at this time of year and enjoying them from a sea kayak is a very relaxing and rewarding way of bird-watching in the San Juans.
Loons, grebes, cormorants, scoters, mergansers, harlequin & long-tailed ducks, shorebirds, murres, murrelets, guillemots, and gulls abound with each family represented by many species. Bald Eagles are at their annual mid-winter high of around 300 individuals in the San Juan Islands of Washington. Kayaking among this unique bird diversity is a special experience.
Much of this mid and late winter bird abundance is due to an influx of adult herring migrating through the San Juan Islands enroute to their spawning areas. The marine birds feast on both the adults and their roe once it is deposited in the shallows.
Another bonus of winter sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands is the quietude and lack of boating activity at this time of year. Although the orca whales are not often seen in the winter, sea lions are at their peak numbers, harbor seals are everywhere, and the river otters are easily seen during daylight hours.