For all you bird enthusiasts, or shall I say birders, there isn’t a more perfect place to come to see many species of birds in the Pacific Northwest. San Juan Island has more than 200 species of birds. Birders consider San Juan Island some of the best bird watching in the state of Washington.
One reason is that the volume of water that flushes from the Strait of Georgia through Haro Strait, and the Salish Sea is a rich environment for birds. Currently you can see, common murres, Cassin’s auklets and the occasional forktailed storm petrel.
On American Camp’s rocky shorelines you can find, black oystercatchers, surf scoters and rafts of seabirds on the open water. Shorebird migration begins around July 1, when birds such as black-bellied plovers stop to feed in the prairie grasses. Fourth of July Beach and Jakle’s Lagoon are big wintering spots for ducks, including buffleheads and Harlequin ducks as well as common loons.
In the woodlands of American Camp and English Camp, you’ll find winter wrens, chestnut-backed chickadees and rufous hummingbirds. On the prairie, look for American goldfinches, great horned owls, and 18 varieties of raptors, from merlins to peregrine falcons to northern harriers. In spring you’ll see Savannah sparrows and vesper sparrows, and winter is a good time to see migrating seabirds.
It has been a spectacular year for seeing orca whales in the San Juan Islands! Many of our guests return from whales watching trips or from LimeKiln State Park, “Whale Watch Park” and have wonderful stories of seeing mother and baby orcas feeding together or some orcas putting on a breaching and jumping show. Stay with us at Harrison House Suites and have a chance to see the orca whales this season!
J pod arrived in the Salish Sea May 29, followed soon by some of L pod members June 3 and a month later on July 2 K pod showed up. So for well over a month now some combination of J pod with Ks and/or Ls has been found almost every day shuffling up and down the west side of San Juan Island or points north into Georgia Strait. Reports have been filled with wonder and appreciation for the opportunity to witness these whales’ graceful moves and intense socializing.
Transients/Bigg’s whales are still here as well, mainly near Victoria and Nanaimo.
Strawberries are ripe and ready for picking! This year our strawberries have been bountiful and extra sweet. We are so lucky to have a garden full of delicious strawberries. We have been hard at work picking, freezing and creating delicious recipes for our guests.
The heart-shape of the strawberry is the first clue that strawberries are good for you. They protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer.
Packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving — about eight strawberries — provides more vitamin C than an orange.
Check out our recipe using stawberries, it is divine!
Mini Cheesecakes with Strawberries:
30 oz Cream Cheese
10 oz Fresh Chevre
12 oz of sugar
Pinch of Salt
10 oz eggs
1 oz Egg Yolk
5 oz Cream
1/2 oz Vanilla Extract
1) Cream cheeses with sugar and salt, until smooth, about 3 min
2) Whisk together eggs, add to cheese mix in 4 additions
3) Add cream and vanilla
4) Pour into cupcake pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 min
5) Refridgete till cool, then peel baking cups off and decorate with strawberries!
In 1859 the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of the island, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. The territory in dispute was the San Juan Islands, and the confrontation began when an American farmer shot a pig that belonged to Britain’s Hudson Bay Company. The “Pig War” ended 12 years later with the American’s gaining control of the San Juan Islands. English Camp also known as British Camp, is situated on Garrison Bay on the northwest corner of San Juan Island.
Bell Point Trail is one of Grover’s favorite hiking trails, mainly because it’s shaded and a leisurly walk. Make a 1-mile loop around Bell Point under big madronas, taking in splendid coastal scenery. No need to hurry along this splendid loop, the resident eagles, ravens, and kingfishers don’t mind if you linger.
There is also a splendid garden that was once a vegetable garden for the English soilders, but then was turned into a victorian garden to please the officer’s wives that had accompanied their husbands to the San Juans, leaving the comforts of home behind.
The Harrison House Suites and the Tucker House Inn offer complimentary kayaks to our guests. This is a great family adventure activity! The San Juan Islands offers some of the best sea kayaking in the world. For novice kayakers or those with small children, launching at Jackson’s Beach is a nice way to spend your day paddling. For experienced kayakers, launch from San Juan County Park on the west side of the island, where you might spot orca whales! Our kayaks are available on a first come, first served basis and we have a single and two doubles. We provide tie downs so you can easily load the kayaks onto your car or if you prefer a cab will happily take you and the kayaks to Jackson’s Beach for $30 each way. Sign a waiver and you and your family are off to sea!
If you prefer a guided trip or more of a group experience, there are many outfitters on the island that we work with. Let us know the type of trip you are looking for, whether it is an afternoon sunset, family outing or daylong adventure that you are seeking, and we will take care of all the booking details for you. What a way to create many fond family memories.