Sunday, August 30, 2009

Haven't Left Yet

The sun's out, the foghorns are sounding a few blocks away under the marine layer, and it will be warm enough at the beach to walk in the water. Might also try again to find that darn bird #751, color tags brown-blue-red.

Not the least bored with the place, but I hope I can take pictures of something else except the always-the-same-view, the wood, the pebbles...

Time to go, yes??

Sun and Fog

Saturday late afternoon. Mostly sunny, except sometimes the marine layer would rise up, come ashore, block out everything, then be gone except in the middle of the Strait.

Madrone in the Vacant Lot, with Sun On It (Click for larger image.)

Small boat action out on Ediz Hook (map). A sea lion is in constant motion around the docks, under the pilot station walkway, between the docks, out in the harbor, again by the dock. Three young men come in with a huge cooler strapped to the front of their little boat. 'What did you catch?' 'One little pink.'

Small Boats & Pilot Station, Ediz Hook. August 29th. (Click for larger image.)

The sign taped to the pillar in the picture above is a notice from the Coast Guard, asking for information about two fishermen who went missing on the 21st.

A Tokyo Marine tanker pulls past, drops off her pilot. I forget to look her up in the shiptrackers when I get home, and this morning short of looking up each of their 43 chemical parcel tankers separately on the three websites (which will only work anyway if the appropriate transponders are turned on), I can't find out who she was. It's a fruitful mistake: from poking around their website, I now know what chemical parcel tankers might carry.

Behind the tanker came Holland America Amsterdam,

Tanker with H-A Amsterdam. (Click for larger image.)

and by the time she had passed, Golden Princess was in view. The sun did a near-perfect splash into the Pacific Ocean outside the mouth of the Strait, only hitting the marine layer nearly on the horizon, right at 8 PM. (Oh noes. We've lost almost a half-hour of daylight this week. Sunrise ten minutes later, sunset fifteen minutes earlier.) No sign of the third cruise ship, Norwegian Star, she must have come past while I was heading home.

Fog thick this morning. Foghorns. Up on the mountain, brilliant sunshine.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For the Record

The season has definitely changed. All over the West End the vine maples are gone red.

I didn't get the part-time reference job I applied for. Librarying has been what I care about for my whole life, and continue to care—so I feel unplugged in a drifty sort of way which I do not like. Meanwhile I continue on at the tribal library on a volunteer basis. Where, I have to say, the inability to get twitter for two days caused me more sense of being cut off from my profession than my employment status does.

After work at the tribe yesterday I darted back out to Rialto to look for the washed-up bird I'd mistagged on my COASST survey on Sunday. Couldn't find it. Perhaps this means no other COASST volunteer will re-find it either, and my having bobbled acknowledging it for science won't matter. As I was happily dodging the incoming tide on the way back to the parking lot, it occurred to me that the tagging oopsie probably won't matter anyway. The worst case is someone in COASST would refind it but record it afresh because its tags were gone. So the little featherduster corpse would count twice. Bad science in an exceedingly small way, but in fact that same small bit satisfying from an anthropomorphizing point of view.

Rising tide. Foam. Rialto Beach, August 26, 2009. (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Science Day #2

The small cetacean carcass was still there this morning: a little more beat up, rolled by the surf so you couldn't see the dorsal fin any more, and smelling a whole lot worse. It measured 136 cm or so (I was reluctant to touch it with the tape measure). At 136 cm it's within the size range for a harbor porpoise. But harbor porpoises don't have beaks, which this critter seems to have. If I am understanding what I see. So identification still in doubt. Images (large, for OCNMS & COASST):

  with 30 cm ruler
  see earlier post for other image links

Later I talked to a park ranger. He said there were a couple of dolphin or porpoise carcasses moving up and down the beach with the tides, and a harbor seal. He had already reported at least one. I showed him pictures in the camera of the one on the jetty beach; he thought it was new, not yet reported.

So on I went, to survey the Ellen Creek beach segment. Such a gorgeous morning, tide rising now from a considerable low, large numbers of backpackers coming south along the beach.

Beautiful day on Rialto Beach, August 23, 2009. (Click for larger image.)

And there in the surf line, looking at first like any small rock or small mound of seaweed, was a Bird. Intact, flexible, a bit sandy, the incoming waves washing around it.

Small dead bird in the surf line. (Click for larger image.)

I ran up the beach to park my gear, ran back down and carried the little dead bird up above last night's tide line. There followed a long struggle with tools and field guide and gloves and camera. I think it's a common murre. Formal identification photos (1)(2)(3).

Made a complete hash of working in an orderly fashion, gloving up and ungloving and gloving up and finally abandoning the gloves. And I couldn't remember where I was supposed to put the tags if I had an intact bird. Tagged the wrong place; should have been the right wing; but in fact I'd have hesitated to poke holes in the little fresh body even if I'd remembered that's what I was supposed to do. I'll do better next time.

Ocean, Yes

I sat on top of one of the biggest logs on the beach, watching the foam wash in. This log doesn't move, even when the waves splash right up and foam all along the face of it. Must move sometimes, super storm surf and so on; but you have to wonder, how long ago might it have arrived on Rialto Beach, and how long will it last. I'm guessing thousands of years.

There were lots of pelicans, three and three and three and four and two and three, seven pelicans, nine pelicans. Maybe this will be another big year for pelicans moving south. (Last year on September 19th observers tallied more than a thousand around Rialto and La Push, the day before P. and I saw them flying by, flying by.)

Tide Coming In, August 22, 2009 (Click for larger image.)

Dolphin (or Porpoise)

#Citizensciencefail: Found a small dead seemed-to-be-a-dolphin, somewhat decomposed, on the Rialto Jetty beach segment Saturday noon. No matter what species, whether dolphin or porpoise, must be a juvenile, because it seemed to be smaller than any of the identification guides give as size ranges. I did look closely and took pictures; but it never crossed my mind to take out my bird tools and measure with the tape, or place the ruler for scale, so pictures fairly useless. I had accidentally left the folder where I keep the extra forms, including 'Marine Mammal Stranding Report Level A Data' form, at home; or writing it down would have prompted me to measure him/her.

It wasn't a bird, so I didn't do my job as a citizen scientist. Perhaps I was asleep. Perhaps my brain's cognitive processes are permanently damaged by the past six weeks of being mostly absent from my life. I sure hope I wasn't supposed to call someone to look at it because now it is too late.

The tide was just washing around it, probably moved it. But I am going back today because I haven't done my Ellen Creek survey segment yet. Instead spent two hours watching the full tide waves wash in instead. So will first look southwards for the critter before heading north.

I will fill out a Marine Mammal form even though I lack almost all information. Sparing readers the sights, here are links to large photos, so you can see details and also seaweed which is all we have for scale.

  dolphin1 (large)
  dolphin2 (large)
  video of critter

I could of course pretend that I was not on an official COASST survey when I found it, then I wouldn't be responsible for measuring or reporting. But I was. Backpack OCNMS #70 on my back full of measuring tools and a Marine Mammal indentification pamphlet. Citizen science fizzle.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here and There

The difference doesn't lie where you think it does. It rains a lot less here, it's a lot cooler, the humidity is a little higher, and there's way less sunshine.

Port Angeles gets
   25.57 inches of rain a year.
   The annual average high temperature is 56.6 degrees,
   and the annual average low is 42.4 degrees.
Nice table here tells us the average relative humidity by seasons
   spring 77 %,
   summer 74 %,
   autumn 84 %,
   winter 86 %.
and the average number of hours of sunshine per day
   spring 8 h,
   summer 10 h,
   autumn 5 h,
   winter 3 h.

Fort Lauderdale gets
   62.44 inches of rain a year.
   The annual average high temperature is 83.7 degrees,
   and the annual average low is 67.2 degrees.
Same table for Fort Lauderdale's relative humidity by seasons
   spring 70 %,
   summer 76 %,
   autumn 76 %,
   winter 73 %.
Hours of sunshine per day
   spring 10 h,
   summer 11 h,
   autumn 9 h,
   winter 8 h.

You simply can't imagine how many people over the past few weeks asked me, "It rains all the time in Washington State, right?" Wrong.

Strait Still There

Mount Baker, too.

Saturday morning, early (Click for larger image.)

Thursday long travel day, Friday work and errands.

Mount Baker at sunrise, August 22. (Click for larger image.)

The sun has shifted notably south along the horizon and is moving fast, but we still have nearly 14-hour days. Sunrise today 6:18 AM, sunset 8:14 PM.

Heading for the ocean. Good tides today. Nice minus around 8:30. High 2-ish.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Here We Go

Family Triangulates the Coterminous US

Moving mom. Not going to try to keep posting while we're doing this. You may not hear from me for a while.

P. S. The map is from the National Atlas Map Maker, which uses a Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Two Pelicans, One Eagle

Any day with pelicans in it is a really good day, even when the light is flat, the sky is flat, the ocean is flat. It's the height of the summer season in Olympic National Park, and the flat gray weather doesn't keep the visitors—many of them international travelers to judge by the languages they are speaking— off the beach any more than it keeps me off the beach.

Rialto Beach, August 5th, right by the parking lot (Click for larger image.)

Walk even a little ways to the north, and all is much more quiet.

Rialto Beach, August 5th, looking north (Click for larger image.)

Picked up more rocks than usual. Sat by a log for a long time and finished my book, then started the next one. At one point I looked up at there were two pelicans cruising by, north to south; just the two. Later there was an eagle.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Still Pretty Foggy Out There

...and I haven't left Elwha yet. But I'm going.

First Beach WebCam at La Push, 11:06 AM (Click for larger image.)

Running Away to the Ocean

Stopping by the tribe this morning—some business about ordering, about the catalog on LibraryThing; and create a couple more posts for the web page to add to the stockpile, as my next absence will be a long one—

but then heading west while I'm still caffeined up. "I am too long away from water, I have a need of water near." (*)

Webcams at La Push, foggy. 7:30 this morning. View live (1) (2)

P.S. Can't pretend otherwise. When it's not Philip Whalen or Lew Welch, the poet in my head (since I was a very young woman) is Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Just For the Record

Heading home for a week. For one thing, gotta hope to arrange job interview. Then back to Tucson for the Real Mom-Relocation Marathon: final packing, movers, fly with her (and sister) to Florida, settle her in her new assisted living digs.

My suitcase is stuffed with books, including the ones I harvested when mom and I went through her books to decide what she is taking with her. It's very startling: she is done done done with the art books, the opera books, the American Sign Language books, and the story-telling books. All the passions and volunteer activities* that sustained her for the past 30 years are nothing to do with her now.

One of the books she no longer wants is the Poetry Broadside anthology, my one lifetime occasion of having my name appear in bibliographic databases and be printed on the cover of a book. I tried not have hurt feelings. At least she didn't hand it to me to put on the giveaway pile, but said it should come back to me.

*At various times and for decades at a stretch, Opera Guild, Tucson Tellers of Tales, docent at the Tucson Art Museum, and helper at Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.