Winter is the prime time for Eagle watching at the Squamish Eagle Run Park. I have been a student at Quest for 3 years and every winter I end up forgetting that I should go eagle watching. The area is home to the largest congregations of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). In fact, Squamish holds the world-record count of 3,769 eagles spotted in 1994. This year I had a close friend volunteering for the Eagle Watch Interpreter Program. The Program is a volunteer-run community initiative and was designed to help people better understand bald eagles and the salmon cycle. They are stationed at the park every weekend with huge binoculars helping us spot the eagles and take an even closer look at them.
In a conversation with my volunteer friend, she mentioned she was going during the weekend and invited me to join. I took the opportunity to finally go! I invited one of the exchange students from Amsterdam to join me, since she also had never been there. A five minute car drive was all it took to get from campus to the location.
Right away we all spotted a bald eagle just 4 feet above us on a tree by the river. We started looking around and talking to the volunteers, and the count of eagles for the area was 60 just that day! There was a salmon run going on and so all of the eagles were there. After walking along the margin of the river for a while we spotted something in the water, and after eliminating the possibility of it being a duck we figured out it was a seal. In only half an hour we saw many eagles and juveniles, ducks, Canadian geesese, seagulls, seals and other smaller birds.
It was pretty cold outside and we were getting pretty hungry so we decided to go grab some lunch at the Watershed, a restaurant that was a 1-minute walk alway from where we were chatting with the volunteers. We could still enjoy the gorgeous view in the background while eating delicious food and getting warm. We both decided to order a poutine since neither of us had this typical Canadian dish before. Turns out gravy, cheese and fries are a great combination, and we really enjoyed it. I would really recommend checking out the place, I had an incredible experience I will never forget.