I went for a run there this morning. I nearly went to the gym because it was so cold, but I'm so glad I didn't. My run took forever, because I kept stopping to watch birds or admire the scenery.
Spencer Island is a treat anytime, but it's especially magical in this clear, cold weather.
The mountains are sparkling in the distance, and the waters around the island are covered in a thin layer of ice. Anything not in direct sun is still covered in thick, sparkling frost.
Birds are everywhere, song sparrows especially. And they're not shy. You'll be able to get a nice, close look at them. Spotted towhee are also darting around, some with particularly bright red feathers. The waters on the south end of the area are covered with many species of ducks.
I saw a bald eagle perched in a tree and later saw two red-tailed hawks circling. I saw and heard a number of blue herons, too. I watched for but never did see the peregrine falcon I saw last time I was there. If you do go, keep an eye out for it. If the songbirds suddenly vanish, look up.
While I was there, the tide was going out. The area is close enough to the Sound to be affected by the tide. The waters all around the island were frozen. As the tide retreated, it left ice by the shore unsupported. I kept hearing the ice tinkle and then crash down. It was magical.
Really, you should go. Take advantage of this stunning sun and take a walk. In the bright sunlight and still air, it actually feels much warmer out there than it really is. Of course, you're still going to need some warm layers.
How to get there: From Everett, go north on Broadway, Highway 529, over the Snohomish River. Turn right on 28th Place NE. Follow the signs for Langus Riverfront Park. Follow the road past the animal shelter and a couple parking areas. Follow the road until it bends left and becomes gravel. Near the water treatment plant, there is a parking lot on the right-hand side. (Bonus: In the cold weather, I could smell nothing from the treatment plant.) Park there, and then walk the short road to a bridge. Cross the bridge and explore. You can go north (left) for roughly a mile. If you go south, there's a loop that's roughly 1.5 miles. I did both. I saw more songbirds to the north and more ducks and herons to the south. If you'd like more walking, you can follow the paved trail that heads south from the bridge. It eventually loops back around to the paved parking areas near the animal shelter.
Note: Duck hunting is allowed on the north end of the island. It is not allowed on the south end. No dogs are allowed on the south end of the island.
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