Wally World: Ride for the Birds

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Date and Time: 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 11:00am
Start Location: 
Fir-Conway Lutheran Church
20990 Skagit City Road
Mt Vernon, WA 98273
Contact Information: 
Lawrence F. Baum
36.80 miles
Elevation Gain: 
160 feet
Weather Cancellation: 
Ride Description: 


Every year tens of thousands of snow geese, several thousand trumpeter swans and many other waterfowl and raptor species spend the winter on Fir Island.  When I pre-rode the route on October 22 I encountered two large flocks of snow geese, several kestrels (sparrow hawks), merlins (marsh hawks), red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and great blue herons.  The snow geese photo was taken on that ride. The first trumpeter swans have been report and my fingers are crossed that we will see them. If we spot a flock of birds at a good viewing distance, we will stop to observe and photograph.  It is suggested that you bring binoculars and possibly a camera with a zoom lens. 

This is a LEISURELY paced ride (10 – 12 mph) crisscrossing very low traffic volume Fir Island in hopes of encountering flocks of snow geese and other birds.  The route is through farm land that is flat as a pancake.  Fir Island is near Conway, WA (I5 exit 221).  We have been given an ok to park in the church parking lot (except on Sundays) but we need to park away from the building. The route is essentially 3 loops which pass the start location at the beginning of each.  As a result, we will have an opportunity at miles 16 and 23 to shed layers of clothing.  There also are ample opportunities to "bail out" if a rider wishes to shorten their ride.

Neither water nor restrooms are available at the start.  However, as you enter Conway both are available at the Union 76 and Chevron stations provided you purchase something. A honey bucket is publicly available in the Union 76 parking lot.  An I5 rest stop is available just north of exit 206 coming and going. During the ride, restrooms are available at mile 14 when we stop at the Skagit State Wildlife Refuge and at mile 21 when we stop for refreshment at the “Field of Beans” café (see hyperlink below).

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the ride to sign the liability waiver if you didn’t register online, and to hear the safety (SMART) briefing. Please register for this ride using the Register Tab.  If you cannot make the ride, you do not need to unregister.  Be sure to bring a spare tube as well as the tools and knowledge to fix a flat a flat – we will stay with you while you fix a flat.  If the roads are wet please have fenders or plan on riding at the end of the line.

Carpools: The ride is far enough north that you may want to carpool.  Please feel free to use the comment section for initial contact communication if you would like a ride or offer to drive.

Ride Cancellation: Should conditions require ride cancellation, a notice will be posted on this site by 8:00. If cancelled, the ride leader will not be at the start.

We hope you can join us!


I wish we could guarantee that the birds will be where we ride.  Unfortunately, the migrating snowgeese and swans move around a lot in the Skagit Valley and one cannot ever be 100% sure that they will be where we will be.  But, we try!

Fir-Conway Lutheran Church
20990 Skagit City Road
Mt Vernon, WA 98273
Ride Leader(s)

Registrations so far...
Leisurely: [10-12mph]

2 rider(s)