Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Elusive Brown Creeper in Seattle Park

Here I was this week back in Fauntleroy Park to pull some invasive ivy. The area is off trail in the northern section near the Forest Court SW entrance. Months ago, while working on my cedar tree survey I saw it climbing one of my trees. I yanked it down and vowed to return to get more of it.

So, here I was approaching one of the cedars when I caught some movement on it’s trunk. To my surprise and delight it was a very elusive and quick small bird of the forest – the Brown Creeper.  Here is the tree I found this little bird on.

Cedar tree with a Brown Creeper spirally upward on.

He was moving so fast most of my still photos are a blur. I moved to video mode and had better luck but this little dickens moves upward so fast it was a constant shift.  First here is one of my few good still shots.

Brown Creeper moving upward on cedar tree

Wondering what the Brown Creeper is all about?  Here is what The “Cornell Lab of Ornithology – All About Birds” website says about them. You can find more by following this link.

Brown Creepers are tiny yet lanky songbirds. They have long, spine-tipped tails, slim bodies, and slender, decurved bills.

 

Streaked brown and buff above, with their white underparts usually hidden against a tree trunk, Brown Creepers blend easily into bark. Their brownish heads show a broad, buffy stripe over the eye

 

Brown Creepers search for small insects and spiders by hitching upward in a spiral around tree trunks and limbs. They move with short, jerky motions using their stiff tails for support. To move to a new tree, they fly weakly to its base and resume climbing up. Brown Creepers sing a high, warbling song; they also give a high, wavering call note that sounds similar to that of a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

I leave you with my video of the little rascal as he climbs upward. Be sure to listen to his high pitched call too.

Posted in Forests

Coal Creek Waterfall Visit

Between storms I went to visit the Coal Creek Waterfall.  With all the rain we had it surely would have a spectacular flow. During the summer it was a trickle so I wanted to see how it looked now. As you can see it was a gusher.

I could hear her before I even saw her and then one rounds the trails corner and there she is in the distance.

Coal Creek Waterfall rumbles away up in Cougar Mtn Natural Area

As you get closer the bridge across the creek comes in to view. Some other nature lovers give you a good perspective on the size of the area.

Bridge, hikers and falls treat those that hike a couple of miles.

Up onto the wooden bridge I went. From there I got this nice shot of the two falls. First the creek shoots off the top of the rock-wall and then it pours over the boulder. She is a pretty thing when you concentrate on the falls itself.

Double falls up-close from bridge

It was time to eat lunch after I mucked around a bit.  I went back up the trail and crawled up into the forest. There I found a flat and fairly dry spot under a large cedar tree. I could see and hear the falls from there plus anyone coming thru the trail would probably not see me. Here is a little shot of my view while I ate my ham sandwich.

View from lunch spot under cedar tree

That is the falls for you. But don’t go!!  I have two other topics to share with you about my visit.

The forest is not just the living trees that you see. It is a cosmos of the living and the remains of their ancestors.  Today’s forest is here at Cougar Mountain Park is certainly not old-growth. Some of the trees are approaching that age since they for some reason were passed up but the granddaddies of these trees were either logged a hundred years ago or fell naturally before man arrived.

Behind my lunch spot were a few mammoth old stumps and downed logs.  I am talking about a log that is huge laying on the hill-side. Next to that is a pretty huge stump. Since cedar has a slow rot rate they are here to show us what was.

Old Stump and downed log – they were really big old growth

This got me thinking about all the stumps around the falls and the logs lying around like littered tinker-toys. See how in this picture you have the two stumps. You can tell they were logged vs a natural end by the straight cut top and foot hold holes on the sides.

Coal Creek Falls and cedar trees cut a century ago. – The view in this perspective is a bit cluttered and not so pretty.

This next stump is across the bridge and it gives a clear view of how logging before chain saws was done. Plus these were big trees so they cut footholds to either stand in or put planking to stand on. Then they used a big manual saw and cut the tree down.

Old logging technique cutting foot holds to get the saw up high enough

Now that we have looked at the stumps let us move to the logs lying around. Around the falls were several larger trunks. Here is the one that lays close to the bottom of the first falls but behind the pool on the bank.

Huge log beside Coal Creek Falls
Close up of rotting log next to falls

What a magnificent tree it must have been when she lived. I could not triangulate her stump so maybe years ago she was pushed down the creek and over the falls.  That would be a ton of water to do that. or was she one of the cut trees and the men who fell them gave up getting them out of the wilderness?

More logs are around this special place to entice my imagination. Here is one that was laying over the ground where the trail was pushed through. The builders just cut through her and give us a glimpse at her size and how she is preserved for us.

Log cut thru on trail. She was a big one!

Then we have the really big log that is by the bridge. This log is so big that the side trail to get up closer to the falls one has to skirt her up a slippery muddy round about. Guess one could climb over but it would be a bit of an up and over.  The photo does not give you a true feel for size, but know it came to my thighs when I walked around her.

Downed cedar log next to Coal Creek Falls

Now my imagination went looking for the stump of this gigantic old growth tree trunk. I think I found it but then who would really know.  Here are two photos of that stump. She is a beauty!

Huge Stump on hill above falls – is this the tree that fell next to the bridge? (the stump is between the two small trees and is bright orange.)
Stump viewed from my lunch spot. She was a big one!

Last as I left there was this stump of a really really big tree that was cut down long ago. What is left of her was taller and wider than I am tall.

Clear cut cedar stump of old. She was over 6 feet wide and taller than me.

Now I leave you with the second cool thing I found at the falls. It was a wildlife moment. As I was standing on the bridge a small squirrel or chipmunk appeared at the creek on a log. Then he proceeded to run and jump across to the other side. He moved so fast he is a blur on my photos.  I have circled him so you can see his progress in the three photos.  Enjoy!!

Squirrel crossing log over Coal Creek.
Squirrel at Coal Creek Falls got across and is on the rock now
That little creature is about to disappear into the brush as he climbs the old stump.
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Look UP

This may look like a tangled mess at first glance. Look a little deeper and the beauty of the view will grow on you. Can’t miss the summer sun brightening this cedar’s day.

View sitting under cedar tree

Better yet, sit under a tree and look up yourself to see how the world looks differently in the boughs. There is a life surrounded in lace.

Time goes by slower for this cedar tree who is many 100s of years old. It breathes the sun, the birds, the bugs, the rain and anything that comes along. It is a perspective of standing still and patiently awaiting versus rushing into time and missing most of what flies by at high velocity.

That waiting payed off with a bit of summer sun peeking through.

Aura of Sun on Cedar branches

Next a lovely sight is to be seen. The sun is being hooked by the tree’s arms and shines right through to me.

Cedar hooked the sun & surrounded it in her lacy boughs
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Father Cedar

Father Cedar shows himself
Father Cedar shows himself

Have you ever seen a person or creature out of the corner of your eye beside the road or in the forest?   Then to turn in that direction and only see a piece of wood or rock.  What I learned years ago is you just saw an elemental.

They are the spirits of the natural world who can be good or evil.   Generally in my interaction with them they are more benign.  They didn’t cloak themselves fast enough and I caught them for a fraction of a moment. Periodically, I see a face in wood like this live cedar today.   Another form is in driftwood or dead branches.  Captured in time this is a glimpse into their world.

Perhaps my interaction has been good since I give them respect as guardians of the forest or water.   There are other stories of them not being so nice.