Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Visit Road Day #1 Continued

Sunday. The Obstruction Point trip included other wildlife manifestations: chipmunks, deer along the highway and (especially) carefully examining all the cars at the Obstruction Point Trailhead, raptors out over empty space cruising the long drop to Lillian River, a report of mother bear and cub down by the little lake below the big stone steps (those we did not see; I say we get to count them, S. says not)(see PS below); a single raptor where the ridge was still narrow, who cruised up out of nowhere, skimmed across the road and down the other side, showing a white rump patch and must have been a northern harrier (the former marshhawk) though the habitat was all wrong. Some wildflowers left.

Still it was 'the marmot trip'; all the rest, including the vast sweeps of landscape, were just rolled into what in memory was a successful marmot quest. After the marmots, we went on to do four more things. A lunch in town: seafood by the harbor. Then on to pick blackberries from the roadside bushes behind the store at Laird's Corner. Since we were arriving on purpose with containers and a determined crew of two, I went in the store and asked permission. Which was cheerfully granted.

Then on westward, along the lake to the trailhead to walk on the trail to Marymere Falls. There was Barnes Creek, and some quite nice forest, and quite a lot of people speaking a good many different languages. We did not go up the stairs to the falls viewpoint, making do with creek and forest. There was some sun.

Barnes Creek Trail, 08/29/2010 (Click for larger image.)

Still the good weather was hanging on. On the way home we detoured down to Ediz Hook to look for ships and birds. There were a couple of big tankers in the harbor— a Polar at the terminal being worked on, an Alaskan at anchor — but no ship traffic on the Strait except a rapidly receding inbound ship. The pilot boat was just returning from having put a pilot aboard her. Some kids had found something interesting off the small boat dock. They got some sticks and went back out, the better to investigate. A couple of maybe cormorants, and gulls. No other birds.

Port Angeles Harbor (Click for larger image.)

*PS This makes sense as the little lake down there is surrounded by blue-leaf huckleberry, which goes conspicuously red in the fall, creating mysterious colorpatches all over the landscape— P. and I saw it that way around the lakelet a couple of autumns ago— and Tim McNulty says, "Black bears Ursus Americanus), are seen frequently in the high meadows in late summer, most often snout down in a patch of huckleberries." (p.77).

Tim M. also has pages and pages of loving prose about Olympic marmots. "One of the many traits I've always admired in marmots is their fondness for wide front porches..." S.'s iPhone maps our marmot photos as being here, which looks right. Ridge behind dropping into Lillian River. The front porch view out over the unnamed upper reaches of Maiden Creek...

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