The Baby Hawk, The Eagle, The Bridge and The Gift

Does that sound like a good children’s book title?  Nope…  it describes what I found on my latest adventure at the City of Seattle’s Seward Park and Lake Washington.

This lovely place has been in the park system since 1911.  Yup more than 100 years and she has a lot to give from some historical items to nature in the midst of a big city.

My impromptu trip to the park started off a little rocky when I discovered that the parking lot was still closed due Covid-19.  First clue was the streets approaching the entrance were full of parked cars.  I got lucky and found a spot not too far but this certainly changed my plan of attack.  That plan was going to start with parking in the middle of the park and then walking certain trails along the lake and through the woods.

Told myself this new twist would give me more steps on my Fitbit so off I went along the southern water’s edge.  Next I took a path up towards where I was going to park.  Down by the water’s edge it was busy with lots of people walking, sitting and in general enjoying the lake and park.  Up in the fields and woods it was nearly deserted and what a haven of quiet it was.

Near where my trail of choice would take off from the parking area I heard a bird screeching off in the brush. You know I could not resist tracking down what I am hearing. I figured it was either a baby eagle or some other large bird due to how this bird was just belting out his cry.

Then I found him & was not disappointed.  It was a young Cooper Hawk calling for food and attention from his parents.

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That was a super start to my day!!  After that I found my way to the beach road.  The park is a big peninsula and has a one way road that goes all the way around. Years ago we could drive along it and it became a place teenagers would cruise in their cars looking for love and fun.  Alas, many years ago it was closed to through traffic and now is just for pedestrians and park maintenance.

The park years ago had a fish hatchery that is now closed and being re-imagined. Right where the entrance to that is I saw a man just standing there. He seemed to be looking into the trees. Hot Dog he had spotted one of the resident bald eagles. I had heard there are at least 3 to 4 families and nests in this park.

The third tree from the right has a big white headed bald eagle in it.

If you look close in the photo above you can see the little speck of white.  How about a closer look?

Bald Eagle surveying Lake Washington from high up in a Seward Park Tree

And even close… you can even imagine how his feathers are blowing in the wind.

Proud bird posing for us

I am on a roll now & took off down the road looking for more adventure.  Serendipity was on my side today.

When I got to the northern end of the peninsula there were a lot of teenagers and families enjoying the grassy area next to the lake. Some had boards and small kayaks.  A group of swimmers and their coach walked by all wearing masks. I overheard the girls talking about how boys had done this or that to them.  Not much has changed since I was that age.

From this vantage you can see the Lake Washington Floating Bridge. Hence “The Bridge”.  Being a bit of a history nut I could go into detail on this old bridge that was first built in the late 1930’s.  But instead you can read a prior article ob –   Lake Washington Bridge History & Post

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Moving along I hiked up through the interior of the park and again found quiet and how it was deserted due to the closure for cars.  Now in search of a place to eat lunch I entertained several options and eventually decided to visit a special place at the entrance.

Here is an excerpt from Seward Park History that is published by Seward Park Audubon Society.  They reside in what was the “Ye Old Seward Park Inn”.

In 1931 Seward Park was the proud recipient of an 8-ton. This gift was sent by the city of Yokohama, Japan to thank Seattle for it’s assistance after the Great Kanto Earthquake. This terrifying earthquake struck the Kanto Plain and leveled the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama on September 1st, 1923. The Lantern is a replica of a stone lantern at Momoyama Palace in Kyoto, Japan. As a gesture of gratitude, the city of Seattle sent the city of Yokohama one thousand roses. Ancestors of those roses can still be found today in the Yokohama Municipal Children’s Botanical Garden.

From that history article I found an old photo of this Stone Lantern that I would end up eating my lunch next to.

What caught my eye is how today the vegetation is so much more grown up around this entrance piece. Plus the Old Inn is much more visible from the street.  Check out what it looks like today.

Taiko Gata Stone Lantern at Seward Park Entrance

A closer inspection revealed that it had at one time had light bulbs in it.  What a sight that must have been when you approached the park to see that glowing.  The openings face away from the entrance street so I imagine it cast a wonderful light.

Lantern at Seward Park that was gift from Yokohoma

There are two plaques telling the story of how this was given the city almost 100 years ago and a gift of cherry trees from Japan.  This was all before World War II. Look at how decades have brought us back full circle to be friends with Japan.

Plaque explaining the Taiko Gata Stone Lantern gift from Japan
Now you know where all the wonderful cherry trees came from

That wraps up “The Baby Hawk, The Eagle, The Bridge and The Gift”.  Hope it brings a little smile and happiness to your day.

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