Joining friends of the Whatcom Land Trust and the North Cascades Audubon Society on a four-mile bird walk through the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, even though I recently hiked these trails (see Hike 31 – Stimpson Family Nature Reserve), I enjoyed the opportunity to view the reserve from this slightly different perspective.
At times proceeding slowly along the trail, with ears carefully tuned to the sound of the birds in the forest, we frequently stopped to make identification by birdsong alone.
Peering into a canopy of thick branches high above our heads, we then carefully watched for the slightest sign of movement in hopes of spotting our often ellusive feathered friends.
Very enjoyable during this hike was hearing about the history of this reserve and how the trails had been originally designed. One of the fellows with us had been responsible for planning the lay-out and building of these trails. He told us about becoming familiar with the ridges and ravines, wetlands, ponds, beaver dams and trees in the reserve, and how with colored pencils and grid paper he sketched out the trails in order to best preserve the land itself and provide the public an opportunity to see and appreciate its wonderful features. Passing a series of old growth trees as our trail took us up and over a ridge, he told us how they had counted the growth rings on some of the downed trees in that area and determined their age to be over 450 years.
After completing the hike through Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, we headed over to Scudder Pond. A most appropriate picnic spot after a birding hike, we were entertained by a pair of red-winged blackbirds and a couple of mallards as we ate, and delighted as their resident beaver swam by.