Wildside Weekender

WASHINGTON: Bald Eagles of Washington

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PHOTOGRAPHY

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SCHEDULED TOURS

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $2,650 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Seattle, WA (SEA)

GROUP SIZE

4-6 Participants

AVAILABILITY

2024: 6 SPACES AVAILABLE

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of WASHINGTON: Bald Eagles of Washington

  • Hands-on photography instruction from an award-winning, professional nature photographer: Dawn Wilson, a member of Nikon Professional Services
  • Head to the Puget Sound to experience the frenzy of bald eagles and other predatory birds, like great blue herons, during a spawning season of midshipman on the oyster beds of western Washington.
  • The timing correlates with the low tides, sunrises and breeding season of the midshipman plus the green up of the forest and bloom of the rhododendrons in Olympic National Park.
  • This workshop is ideal for those interested in learning about and photographing bald eagles in flight plus other large birds, like great blue herons, crows and gulls. The trip into Olympic National Park gives a quick overview experience of this lush rainforest park along the Pacific Ocean.

Description of WASHINGTON: Bald Eagles of Washington

Western Washington has long been known for its large population of bald eagles. Year-round residents in the Evergreen State, about 900 pairs of bald eagles primarily nest along the western regions of the state with a large influx of migratory eagles arriving in winter.

Not far from Seattle along Hood Canal, oyster beds blanket the watery bottom of the channel. As the tide goes out, the midshipman get caught in the oyster beds. This attracts the opportunistic bald eagle that will snatch the trapped fish or even steal them from other birds, like great blue herons, gulls and American crows, also enjoying the seafood buffet. It makes for a lot of action, all set against the dramatic mountains of the Olympic Peninsula.

Our trip is timed to align sunrise and sunset with low tide. Accessing the beach near the oyster beds can only be done during this four-hour window of time and it is also when the most eagles visit the area.

Outside of the eagle frenzy, we will search for bald eagles in the surrounding area as well as photograph scenic locations in the region. On the first afternoon, our group will return to the oyster beds to photograph at low tide again. On the second afternoon, we will take a trip to Olympic National Park to photograph waterfalls and the blooming rhododendrons. Spring is a wonderful time to explore this area when the flowers are blooming, the landscape is in fresh green and the water is quickly flowing.

Overall, this three-night, four-day weekend tour immerses photographers into the world of bird photography with one of the most beautiful birds to capture with a camera. The national symbol of the U.S., bald eagles are large and predictable, making them a perfect subject to learn how to photograph birds in flight. And because this location offers dozens of subjects with beautiful backgrounds and up-close opportunities, it is an ideal tour for anyone wanting to just add more eagle photos to their library of images.

Length of Tour

4-days/3-nights

Brief Itinerary

    • Day 1: Arrive in Seattle, Washington (Dawn will meet the group in Seattle)
    • Day 2: Morning shoot at the oyster beds, scenic drive along Hood Canal, afternoon shoot at the oyster beds
    • Day 3: Morning shoot at the oyster beds, afternoon exploration of Olympic National Park
    • Day 4: Morning shoot at the oyster beds, depart to Seattle for flight home

Detailed Itinerary

Day One: Arrive in Seattle and check into hotel in Silverdale/Seabeck area

  • Dawn, who will already be in Seattle, will meet the group at the airport to pick up luggage and take everyone to our lodging in Silverdale/Seabeck area
  • Settle into rooms and, if flight arrives in time, meet for dinner for a meet and greet and discuss the plans and expectations for the week.
  • Stop at the local grocery store to pick up snacks for the outings.

Day Two: Photograph bald eagles and scenic locations along Hood Canal

  • We will start the day at sunrise at the oyster beds to photograph bald eagles and other birds taking advantage of this seafood buffet at low tide.
  • As the tide rolls in, we will move out to look for eagles in the region as well as stop to photograph some of the scenic beauty of the area before stopping for lunch and a break.
  • After an afternoon break, we will return to the oyster beds to photograph bald eagles and other birds during the afternoon low tide.

Day Three: Photograph bald eagles and Olympic National Park

  • We will return to the oyster beds for an early morning shoot, catching the beautiful morning light at low tide.
  • We will stop for lunch before driving to Olympic National Park for an afternoon exploration and shoot in the park. Potential locations include Madison Falls, Marymere Falls and Sol Duc Falls. We will also keep an eye out for Roosevelt Elk in and near the park.
  • After exploring Olympic NP, we will return to our lodging in the Silverdale/Seabeck area.

Day Four: Photograph bald eagles & head for home

  • For our last and final morning, we will return to the oyster beds for one last photo opportunity with the eagles.
  • We will check out of the lodging and then head back to Seattle for flights home.

Cost

Cost is $2,650 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Seattle, WA (Airport code SEA.
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).

The cost of the workshop includes transportation from SeaTac Airport to photography destinations, expert photography instruction and guiding, lodging, and commercial permit fees.

The cost of the workshop does not include transportation to Seattle, meals/beverages, park entrance fees (park passes can be used to cover each other), tips, items of a personal nature, and trip insurance.

 

Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $360 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.

 

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

 

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

This trip includes standard hotels.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

There is some hiking on this trip. The majority of this photo tour will be standing on a beach along Hood Canal. There is a rock wall to climb down to access the beach. The rocks and the beach can be extremely slippery due to the beach being covered by water at high tide. While visiting Olympic National Park, there are short hikes to access the waterfalls, ranging in round-trip length of a few hundred feet to 1.8 miles. The trails are well maintained and have minimal elevation gain. The area around waterfalls can also be wet and slippery, so caution will be taken to keep participants safe and comfortable while accessing the best photo locations.

Note: The Northwest is notoriously wet, rainy and humid. This can actually add drama to photographs and can extend our shooting time with softer, cloudy skies rather than bright sun. These are rain or shine photo outings, so please prepare appropriately for being outdoors.

You will want to have a good selection of lenses with you on this trip.

  • (Required) Telephoto Lenses: The bird photography will need a minimum of a 400mm lens, with a recommendation of longer for better photos. Dawn utilizes a Nikon 500mm with a 1.4 teleconverter, a Nikon 80-400mm lens and a Nikon 180-600mm lens. Zoom lenses can be helpful for taking advantage of closer eagles as Dawn does not recommend switching lenses on the beach due to sand and salt air potentially entering the lens and camera body.
  • (Required) Wide-angle lenses: This is also a must for this trip with scenic beauty everywhere you look. The waterfalls are tall so wide-angle lenses in the range of 14-24mm, 15-35mm and 24-70mm are ideal.
  • (Recommended) Macro lenses: The rainforest will be bursting with spring color. A macro lens can be a fun tool to have to capture unique images of the plants, ferns, moss and lichen.
  • (Required) Tripod: Tripods are also helpful if you are waiting for wildlife to do something so that you don’t have to hold your camera and lens as well as long exposure landscape photography, like for blurring water on a waterfall. The eagles on the beach approach from all angles so having a lens that can be handheld to track with the bird works well but for slower times or for longer lenses that are more difficult for handholding, a tripod relieves the weight and strain of holding the lens and camera. A gimbal mount is also helpful for tracking the eagles. The tripod should be sturdy for handling slippery ground cover and soft sand.
  • (Recommended) Accessories: A circular polarizer will be a good option to help intensify the colors of the tundra and to cut the glare off of ponds and lakes. Bring a remote shutter release if bringing a tripod for images at Olympic National Forest. Rain covers for your gear will also be good to have as Washtington weather can frequently be wet.
  • (Required) Plenty of batteries and cards are required as there we will be more than 90 minutes from the closest camera store. (Shipping via Amazon is available but may not reach you in time due to the short length of our trip over a weekend.)
  • Clothing: The weather is typical Washington but very pleasant — cool (40s to 60s) and damp, making those cooler temperatures feel even cooler. Bring a layered coat, rain jacket, warm hat, gloves, warm socks and hiking boots that can get wet as we will be on wet ground. Something like a neck buff can be helpful too if the cold bothers you. A pair of fleece-lined pants and at least one warm base layer shirt will be helpful if the temperatures drop during our trip. Remember sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat as well for the long days in the field. Wool or synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics are best. Avoid bringing jeans. Waders can also be an option to allow you to sit in the sand.
  • (Required) Wind and rainproof outer shell top and bottom in case of rain and/or high winds, an outer shell is required to keep you warm and dry.
  • (Recommended) A lightweight, compact folding chair, like a camping stool/chair, that can fit in your suitcase can be an option as well for sitting on the beach and photographing while not sitting in the sand.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map