Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Misty Salish Sea Moments

Beach time today was a misty affair. Here I am on the shore of Puget Sound at Ocean View enjoying a bit of fog at high tide. The sound is part of the Salish Sea. This inland sea of North America extends from Strait of Georgia (in Canada) south through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and of course Puget Sound.

We are going to start with a tug pulling a large barge crossing over the path of several Washington State Ferries.  The mist, high tide and the sun starting to peek out all created a double vision reflection. (if you saw my pond reflections this is similar but yet not).

At first I was fascinated by just the tug and barge.  I saw them coming around the point and this series shows them getting closer and closer (really an illusion since I used my telephoto on them).

Misty tug and barge chugging along on Puget Sound
Can you see the tug & barge a little better?

See what I mean by the illusion that the water, mist & sun has created?  It gets better!

Is it a Ghost Tug?
And is this a ghost barge on Puget Sound?

When I thought that was the best illusion it got better. Three Washington State Ferries joined the party of ghost ships in the mist.

Ghost Ferries joined the fun
Cormorant salutes the ferry and barge as they cross
Ghostly vessels on the Salish Sea seem to kiss
Cormorant waves good bye

The ferries were not going to let the barge out do them. They decided they had to do a bonding dance in the mist too. Check out their ghostly moment.

Ferry dance in the mist of the Salish Sea
Illusion or Reality? Dancing or Floating?

Not to be out done the birds were actively fishing. In the dancing ferry photo you can see a small flock of Sea Scoters. They have the goofiest faces but they are serious fishers. They dive in unison and feast on the bounty of the sound.

Sea Scoters – a larger sea duck
Popping back up after a fishing moment

There I was feeding my crows peanuts and this huge flock of ducks flew into our cove. I mean a lot of ducks. They were in silhouette from the sun, so it was tough to see details or color. I tried to figure out what kind they are but just not have enough data.

Ducks at Ocean View in the mist
Ducks mobbing our cove

And a little bit of a video so you can see how many there are. You can also hear the crows giving me hell and a dog on the beach. Hard for our black bird friends to be quiet.

I leave you with a couple final sweet moments in time at the beach on the Salish Sea.

Misty moment on Puget Sound to calm the beast in us.
Scoter and sail boat navigate the fall misty moment.
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Just another Bird and Beach Day

Down at the beach today it was just like nothing had happened. Life went on the day after the most ferocious thunderstorm Seattle has had in decades.  Actually, as a native I have never seen one like this except in Eastern Washington or the Midwest.

So, I went to the beach to see if any trees were blown over by the deluge with fierce lightning & thunder last night. Besides the trail being swept clean by it turning into a creek it was just another day at the beach.

It is common to see a Blue Heron on the beach.  Today my first sight was a pair on the same beach. When one flew away to the north due to a dog coming along I noticed it was actually three of them. Wonder if one was a baby out for a day with his parents. Did not get a good enough view to know if I am right.

Two Blue Herons on my beach! Score!!

Plus with the herons were gulls and ducks. Just a big old party for everyone. This photo below has the ducks launching themselves into the surf. They take turns doing this like they have a pecking order or at least a plan.

Heron, Gull and Ducks all sharing the beach.

The closest heron took to the sky and decided that landing on a boat would be safer than sticking it out with all the human activity on the beach.

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I continued on down the beach and came across a pair of Song Sparrows. I noticed them because one flushed up into the blackberries. Check out how hard it is to see them since they are camouflaged to blend in with the sand, driftwood and brush.

Can you see the little sparrow?

The clue is he is up behind the drift wood – look to the left of the two white rocks. Nature at her best hiding right in front of us. How about a little closer look next?

Now you can see the Song Sparrow!

He is grubbing around for bugs in the sand. In the next photo you can see his plumage but also how his beak sort of blends in with the background. I think it is because the sand is clinging to it.

Song Sparrow foraging at the beach on Puget Sound

Then there is this unlikely pair further south on the beach. A Blue Heron on a log with a Gull hanging out nearby.  I did not really notice the gull at first or rather rudely disregarded him. Here is the heron first. Look close and you can see him mid log.

Blue Heron just hanging out

Then lets get a closer look. Sad to say my really close up shots were not satisfactory so these two shots are the best we got. I always hope for a eyeball to eyeball type of zoom shot. Not today!

Zoomed in a bit closer now
Close up of the Blue Heron hanging out on the log

How about some buddy time now. The gull seems to be unfazed by the bigger bird. I would think he would be nervous but the heron must not be a threat to the gull or they are just buddies.

Gull just hanging out. Bet he wishes his Heron friend would drop a fish

Next see how close they were to each other.

Heron & Gull just hanging out

The video below not only shows the gull not budging as the heron jumps down but gives you a view of how the beach is not a flat static place. It has a lot of movement with the tide flowing in and of course the birds doing their thing.

I would be remiss in not having some crow fun today. I went over to a raised area on the beach and fed them some peanuts. This adult was more than happy to oblige me with his presence.

Crow contemplating the beauty of the peanut.
Peanut seized!

A baby crow was watching from an upper rail. I wasn’t sure at first that he was a youngster but when he opened his mouth, I knew for sure. Not only was he still using that begging baby crow caw but he had a pink mouth.

Baby or not? Or just molting?
Tis the season for molting but he did give me a cute sideways look. This innocent glance made me wonder on how old he was
There it is … the pink mouth – He is a BABY!

I have to note that the baby crow photos were taken with my new (used) camera. I found a replacement for my pocket size Cannon Elph. The old one I killed it several months ago while driving the Seattle Viaduct the last time. This weekend at one of my estate sale adventures I found it for only 20 bucks!!  That included a 8 GB memory card, the charger and an extra battery.  Score!!

Hope you found this “just another day at the beach” relaxing.

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Dock Ducks

Deep under the Fauntleroy Washington State Ferry Dock one can walk when the tide is out enough. There is a murder of crows who frequent this piece of the beach next to the ferry dock and the mouth of the Fauntleroy Creek. In the past I have taken a few photos and video of the crows bathing in the creek before it hits the salt water of Puget Sound.

I love the graphics of under the dock and took this photo quite a bit ago that shows the feel of being under the dock.

This Sunday I walked down to see if the crows were doing their thing at the beach. There were no crows bathing in the creek of hanging out on the beach. They were busy chasing a hawk up on the hill plus some were making babies hatch. There I was under the dock having crow withdrawal and there was this little flock of mallards just chilling there.

This little video is them at the surf edge. It is short but check out the duck at the left. He raises one of his feet as the surf flows up to him. I love running this over and over as he avoids the wetnees.

They did not care that this crazy nature lady was lurking by the dock piling and taking photos with her new cell phone. Oh forgot to tell you I had to get a new phone since I am retiring and my company cell phone needs to go to the big corporate sky. Check out some of my first photos with my new Moto.

There is a lone duck to the left – but don’t we all feel like the lone duck at times.

One more picture for the road. May you have enjoyed the ducks of the dock.

If you want more about the Fauntleroy Dock Crows here it is …  Crows in the creek!

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Ducky Bathtime

We play with ducks when we bathe. This duck is doing a little of his own splashing around in a lagoon at Discovery Park. This is a bit of water between the beach and Puget Sound.

The trail passes on the east side of it. As I walked along I noticed this family of Mallards sunning and preening themselves.

Got to keep my feathers in tip top shape

It started with a little flapping and splashing by one of the boys

Then he took a little spin around the pond.

Next he started to warm up the splash machine again.  See how the water is starting to oscillate?

Then he went into full-blown splashing around.

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Got me a crab!

Lot of driftwood floating at high tide.  This duck was using it as an observation platform. Just a little winter afternoon fishing excursion.

Then off she went, leaping into action.

Diving duck from the log surfaces

Too late. Her partner was busy looking for the goodie.

I know it is down there.

He scored!  A crab!!

Crab dinner
Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Merganser Floats By

This brace of Common Mergansers did a quiet ballet just off the beach for me. Their crests were edged by a rainbow of color on the water.

Common Merganser at Ocean View Beach

Take a few moments to float along with them as they paddle by me with a Washington State Ferry cruising in the distance.

Ferry headed south with ducks paddling along
Mergansers showing off their crests


Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Sunning Ducklings

There is a retention pond on the border of Seattle. It was recently reconstructed which chased the red winged blackbirds away. They love cattails which were dredged up.  However, the pond is starting to get back to normal with ducks, crows and other wildlife.

As I cut through the area to the store I saw a sight of spring – ducklings.  If you look on the shore of the pond carefully you will see a duck family sunning itself. Mom and kids are napping while Dad stands guard.

Pond - see ducks on shore
Pond – see ducks on shore

Nap time in the sun was being enjoyed.

Sun and Babies
Sun and Babies

Then before my eyes the family woke up and floated away.

Duck family swims away
Duck family swims away
Posted in Green River Trail

Country Road on the Green River

South of Seattle in the Kent Valley the Green River flows on.  The trail I have been following has now gotten past Southcenter and mile after mile of visible warehouses.  I had left off at the Green River Natural Resource Area on Russell Road.  That was where I parked and started walking down the road.  The Green River Trail follows along this old country road at this point. Some cars think they are on the freeway but most are respectful of us on two legs or wheels.

This is primarily a bicycle trail-path.  Kent has posted this map and there is a sculpture too.

Kent Valley Trail system map
Kent Valley Trail system map
Green River Trail is a Bicycle path
Green River Trail is a Bicycle path

This piece of the Green River Trail has another pedestrian bridge.  It crosses to the west side of the river where Frager Road is only open to walking and biking.

After I passed the bridge I found a couple of houses and a red barn that were boarded up. I assume they are being demolished to give us more natural space and park.  The barn seemed to have some recent activity in it, so I am not 100% sure what is going on.  If you read my prior post about the old house I had investigated as a girl and was scared out of my wits, you will know I have not stopped looking at empty houses.

Everywhere I go I find Crow Families. No exception along the Green River Trail today. Here are three members in a tree.  I could hear a baby crow crying across the street but never could find him.  I even tried using peanuts to coax him out or convince his parents I wasn’t a bad human.

Crow family hanging out
Crow family hanging out
Green River Crow looking frumpy
Green River Crow looking frumpy

Walking up the road I was more and more convinced I was in a rural place even though I know Kent was only a few streets away.  Then unexpectedly I started seeing a modern bridge. Eventually the trail went under this bridge away from the road.

That was when I found the 12 mile Green River Trail sign.  Had I only made it 12 miles in my 7 or so trips to traverse the path?   I decided to celebrate my walking since that meant I had made it 24 miles in total.

12 MIles? Many walks to get here.
12 MIles? Many walks to get here.

As I got closer to my turn around point, I came upon a large development of houses next to the trail.  And looming above them was the ever-present Mt. Rainier.

Mt Rainier always there
Mt Rainier always there

Here the river bends and on the river side I was taken back to the country by a small flock of ducks swimming with the river current.  I leave you with some final still photos and a small video of the ducks.

Green River and Houses instead of Warehouses
Green River and Houses instead of Warehouses
Are we really just south of town?
Are we really just south of town?