By Stefanie Donahue
In just a matter of three days, you can become a skilled bird watcher.
The 16th annual Wings Over Water NW Birding Festival is slated to take place from Friday through Sunday, March 16-18, in Blaine and will offer a look at the migratory birds that pass through Blaine and Birch Bay on the Pacific Flyway, which extends from Alaska to Patagonia.
The festival will feature a variety of activities, exhibitions, speakers and more.
Local bird watcher, writer and photographer Joe Meche said, “the rich tapestry of bird life in this area attracts birdwatchers from all over the country to experience a variety of birds close at hand.”
The event kicks off by giving guests the chance to join an all-day field trip to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta, B.C. on Friday. The trip costs $42 and includes the bus charter, entrance fee, bird seed and lunch. Guests will get to see many types of birds, including Sandhill Cranes.
In the evening, there will be a Wings Over Water opening and featured artist reception at The Vault Wine Bar, 277 G Street. The event will feature a buffet along with wine and beer. Guests will have the chance to participate in a silent auction, view art, meet featured artist Annie Moorhead and listen to a presentation by Ric Zarwell, a representative of Rockjumper Birding Tours.
The event continues on Saturday with a hearty pancake breakfast at the Blaine community center, 763 G Street, from 8 to 11 a.m. Guests are asked to pay $6 for adults and $4 for children to attend.
From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the public is invited to take part in an open water birding cruise by San Juan Cruises, running through Boundary and Semiahmoo Bay for $50 per person. A trained naturalist will be onboard to help guests spot nearby birds and wildlife.
Anyone can stop by the birding expo at Blaine Middle School, 975 H Street, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The expo is free to attend and will feature live raptor presentations, wildlife exhibits, arts and crafts vendors and a slew of activities for kids. Wildlife experts will speak at the expo and guests will have the chance to participate in a birding photography workshop to capture images of their own.
Starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Blaine Performing Arts Center, 975 H Street, Dr. Robert DeCandido will speak about his research of migratory birds that travel from the Pacific Coast to the Far East.
The next day, Allen will lead a presentation titled, “Birding in Special Places” from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Birch Bay State Park, 7878 Birch Bay Drive. The event costs $15 for adults and $10 for children to attend and will also feature a full breakfast buffet.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., guests can join local birders Chuck Kinzer and Wayne Diaz in a walk along Birch Bay Drive and in Birch Bay State Park to take photos. Avid birder and photographer Ken Salzman will teach a birding photography workshop at the park at 2 p.m.
Many more events and activities are scheduled throughout the weekend. To learn more about Wings Over Water NW Birding Festival, visit wingsoverwaterbiridngfestival.com.
Questions can also be directed to Blaine community and tourism development coordinator Debbie Harger at 360/543-9982 or email@example.com.