Thursday, November 15, 2007

Harbor Seals

At the drop of an impulse, I head for Rialto Beach. Noonish on the day after the big storm—I couldn't go to work, the tribal center still had no power— I headed out. There were signs everywhere that fallen trees had recently been cut off the roads. The surf was still heavy. I think I must live here forever if it's so easy to go see it looking like this...

Click for medium size image ; really big image.

Heading home, I stopped just inland from the beach, at a pullout overlooking the Quileute River. The Quileute is formed when the Sol Duc River, Bogachiel River, and Calawah River flow together at Three Rivers, about four miles inland. Only from there to the Pacific is it called the Quileute. There were ducks in the water, that turned out to be white-winged scoters. A bald eagle on a grassy island. Quileute fishermen from La Push in small skiffs were checking their nets on the far side of the river. A couple of great blue herons flew in. And there were two or three harbor seals: surfacing for a couple of minutes, then not so much diving as sinking away... Whenever I would get the binoculars pointed at them, they would be staring right back at me. All you could see was the head: those vibrissae, those big attentive eyes. Unquestionably, each time, social intelligence returning one's gaze.

Quileute River near sunset. Click for larger image.

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