Bike Touring Shaw Island
After the nice camping and amazing baked goods, but basically birding-bust on Orcas Island, I was determined to find every bird on Shaw Island. With a land area less than 8 square miles I had high hopes.
Shaw Island is the smallest island served by the ferries. It has no restaurants, one general store, and a year-round population of 240 people. And Shaw County Park, the only public campground, is just under 2 miles from the ferry dock.
Bike touring is so easy.
After setting up camp, Tomas hammocked while I biked and birded along the few roads on the island.
It went okay. I found gulls.
A few other birds.
And I met a new crow, the Northwestern Crow.
Northwestern Crows average ever so smaller than American Crows and they have a lower, hoarser, and more rapid call. They are best distinguished by range (beaches, shorelines, coniferous forests from Kodiak Island, Alaska to Puget Sound, Washington). But the catch? They “may be only a subspecies of the American Crow.” In hindsight I wish I’d recorded their calls.
Other birds I found included Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Spotted Towhee, American Goldfinch, Red Crossbill.
All pretty familiar birds. Where were the Parasitic Jaegers? I had hoped we’d spend more time on the water, kayaking and finding rarities, but the timing and weather didn’t cooperate this time.
The Domestic Swan Geese on the other hand, were very cooperative.
The best surprise on this island came during the middle of the night.
I didn’t see the owl, but while in the tent trying to sleep, I heard high accelerating toots of a Western Screech Owl! It was even harder to get to sleep after that.
The next morning we packed up to head back to Anacortes. More rain was in the forecast, so we decided to end the trip on a sunny note.
I’m glad we did because the last ferry ride back to Anacortes was fantastic.
It even included an Orca pod escort back to the mainland.
I’m grateful for our time on the islands. In total it was 8 days, 4 islands, 5 ferries, and 125 bike miles. Lopez was my favorite for birds and biking. San Juan was the best for whales. Orcas had great hiker-biker sites and Shaw had the owl.
And I couldn’t ask for a better riding partner.
Tweets and chirps,
A fabulous adventure throughout the islands, thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your comment, Linda!
Amazing trip The hammocks are much better for sleeping than on the hard ground, but I have mastered being able to not do the death roll…I did not do the San Juan Islands when I visited the PNW but now I really want to do that.
Hah! So true! I haven’t figured out how to sleep comfortably in hammocks either. But I have mastered the art of lounging in them!
The San Juans were gorgeous! I would go earlier in the dry season (August), and try to spend more time on the water. Those with boats or kayaks gain access to other islands and beaches inaccessible to ferries.