Buried deep inside of Discovery Park is none other than a sewer treatment plant. This large park has trails that skirt the perimeter of the plant. The dense brush and trees along the tall cement fence disguise its presence. That is except the occasional whiff of sewer.
I traveled the North Beach Trail which is sandwiched between the plant, the beach and a lagoon enjoying the winter day. First I found a flock of ducks bathing in the lagoon. Not too far from them I stopped to try to catch a glimpse of a wren or chickadee I heard calling. I did not see the small bird but did see a family of crows perched in trees on the rim of the plant. Serendipity lead me to my black friends. I would have just kept on down the trail and never seen them.
To help you see them here is a little closer view. They have moved around but now you can see them better.
One of the small trees that is bare of leaves is a perfect place to watch the world. Plus I bet this is the leader of the pack.
As is common this time of year there are mates hanging out close to each other.
As luck would have it I got a lift off shot. Yes this is luck cause one cannot click the shutter fast enough if you see them in flight like this. I was just taking a bunch of photos in sequence knowing I would get something good. That is bird photography.
The trail was busy and several folks stopped to ask me what I was seeing. I get a mixed reaction when I talk about the Black ones. Never fails that their legend of evil has outweighed their true nature of smart and family orientation. This little murder of about 10 crows have it made is what I told one couple. They have food from the workers at the plant, the park traffic and natures bounty in the forest and shoreline.
As I left I gave them a peanut treat. Never hurts to make sure they know I am one of the good humans. Then off I went to find my way back up the bluff to the parking lot. As I headed down the trail I spotted a guard in a tree. That is right, they always have guards on duty to make sure the core flock is safe from intruders or the goodness of dropped food on the trail.
On my journey back I came across an overlook of the Treatment Plant. Right away I saw a crow on the wall. Here is a photo of the bigger view there. This actually faces back towards the lagoon and where I had found the main body of the murder.
He proceeded to fly down to a small tree between the two fir trees, kind of behind the blue guard shack. Never know where a meal might have been discarded or lost by some poor human!
Something caught my eye in the distance and I was curious if I could see the main murder in the distance. There they were!! If you look carefully in the photo above just to the right of the cement tank you can see them in the trees.
First I want to share a zoomed photo of my suspected leader of the pack on a tall tree.
Then I saw a pair up in a tree over there on the west boundary near the North Beach Trail. They jumped down on the wall of the Plant. I was quick enough to get them in the tree but not for their landing on the fence. Next they drifted down into the plant out of sight.
The sewer treatment plant has lots of man-made things for crows to perch and observe us from. Nothing like the silent black fellows hanging out mysteriously.
The pair on the rail flew off and left the designated guard in a nearby tree to keep an eye on things. Hope you enjoyed the doings of the West Point Treatment Plant Crow Murder.
Discovery Park continues to give me new things to see. Just off a very busy thoroughfare is this jewel of a park. Take the trail down to the beach and you will find not just shoreline but also an 1881 Lighthouse. These first three photos show you how it appears amidst the driftwood as you walk north along the beach.
This little jewel takes one back in time to a place where Seattle was the middle of nowhere and most everything came by ship.
It is built at the north end of Puget Sound’s Elliott Bay to guide vessels to Seattle and further down the sound. It cost us only 25 thousand dollars in its day. Seems like a bargain but that is apx 610 thousand in today’s money.
At only 25 feet it was the first manned lighthouse on the sound. It used a Fresnel Lens lit with kerosene lamp until it was electrified in 1926. In 1985 it was the last lighthouse in the area to be automated.
Now it is a National Register of Historic Place (designated in 1977). The city of Seattle Parks gained custody of the buildings in 2004 and completed a restoration in the last 10 years.
I leave you with one last photo of this little lighthouse that does so much. It is looking south with a sailboat rounding the point.
A few weeks ago during my week off I visited Discovery Park. This Park was Fort Lawton before it was donated to the City of Seattle as a park in 1973.
Where ever I go I find the resident crows or rather they find me. As you know from my earlier posts, Crows are very family and territory orientated. They stick together in large extended families and stay in their own home areas. This leads me to my theory that this flock has been resident in this area for many years. Their ancestors must date back to pre-fort but certainly to the military’s presence. Fort Lawton opened in February 1900, so this family at least must be over 100 years old. They would have found great food opportunity and an abundance of fir trees to raise their young then.
For some reason until this visit to old Fort Lawton and seeing them around the grounds did I connect the dots of Crow Family heritage. We humans think we have the corner on generational life but birds and animals must also have this. Think about pedigree papered dogs and cats. My girl kitty is a papered Maine Coon. Gigi’s family tree dates back five generations. Why not our super smart Crows? They exhibit all the family traits of social organizations. Group care of young, parents keeping children near them for years, and older birds are mourned when they die. So, I say this flock is not just a random group of birds but the long-term crow family of Fort Lawton. Enjoy a few more pictures of them:
Ft Lawton Crows flying for me
Old Ft Lawton building behind local crows
Crows on the Wire at Discovery Park
Fort Lawton Crows in flight
Between the 1900 stables the family forages
Next let me show you the world our Crow Family lives in and some of the history behind it.
Dress Parade Ft Lawton 1900s – see the Post Exchange & Band House.
Band House Ft Lawton
Ft Lawton Post Exchange
Porch on Band House – Historic District Discovery Park
1900s Entrance to Post Exchange – Discovery Park Historic District
Guard House – Fort Lawton
These buildings were the heart of Fort Lawton life. They face a large field that still exists between the hill that contains officers row and them. Can you see the crow family finding this a good home to raise their family?
Check out the postcard how it shows the Post Exchange and the Band House. 100 years later they still exist even if they are mothballed by the city to protect them. Will we revive them some day? That would be an investment in preserving our history here.
Victorian House on Officers Row – Ft Lawton
Old Brick House in Historic District Discovery Park
Officers Qtrs Historic District Discovery Park
Brick Military housing Ft Lawton
The officers had beautiful Victorian style homes for their families. Very unlike the enlisted man who lived in barracks. Those barracks were torn down years ago along with many other buildings. However, officers row still exists and is about to be sold off. There is quite a dispute going on about how these houses can be sold to private owners in the middle of a city park. Not sure I would want to live with people roaming around like me taking pictures and enjoying the park.
This view is spectacular looking down from the officers hill home site. You can see all the way to the sound and gives one a perspective of the historic district. Can you imagine the soldiers living here 100 years ago in what was a wilderness at the time? They carved a life out of the forest miles from the City of Seattle.
Fort Lawton old road to back of Admin Buildings
Teamsters Housing with Stables across road – Ft Lawton
Stables from 1900 Ft Lawton
The backside of any place shows the real working person’s life. The teamsters house was near the stables where our crow family was playing. In those days teamsters were those who tended to the horses and wagons. Automobiles and trucks had just started to enter the lives of the common man. The Teamsters Union formed around the time Fort Lawton was built and perhaps some of these military teamsters joined that cause when they left the service.
This picture caught my eye of WACs marching during WWII apx 1943. I thought I saw my mother in the group. However, upon reading the info on when this was, I think she was either at Basic Training in Georgia or in New Mexico. This was only a few months before WACs were given full recognition. We have her papers from that monumental event showing she was at Clovis Air Force Base. But then again one of these ladies sure looks like her & perhaps they sent her there before going to Georgia.
See how our history is woven together. Crows must have the same, we just don’t relate on the same plane.