Monday, October 31, 2011

Looking at the Work

On Thursday went with W. to the second overlook for the Elwha Dam removal. We spent a long time there, watching red and yellow backhoes chew up the old stepped spillway which occupies the river's original channel, and move dirt around. Trucks moved out load after load of rubble and dirt, bringing it to a staging area right by where you park to get on the trail. From there a different fleet of trucks is carrying the rubble off to elsewhere.

Watching the work on the dam, October 27, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Go to the dam webcams and click on webcam slideshow, then tell it to go forward instead of back. Forward takes you to the beginning of the sequence, before the removal began...

What It Looked Like on the Webcam Before Deconstruction Started, August 24, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

They are repairing the Whiskey Bend road, and even hikers can't go up there. No way to get near the upper dam, Glines Canyon, probably until spring, as snow will close the road before repairs are completed; and we won't be able to approach from the other side until the project is completed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Vine Maples on the West End

On Sunday along US 101 west of the lake, the vine maples were at the height of their color. The sun came and went. In the sunshine, in some places, they absolutely flamed.

October 23, 2011. Maybe near E. Snider Road. (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)

The sun came and went. A rainshower passed by.

Rialto Beach, James Island, October 23, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
Ocean in the Sun, October 23, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

I read for a while.

Soundscape for Cee, Retreating Tide

No pelicans. On the way home, out over the river, two bald eagles were hunting hunting, talons hanging down and head bent to eyeball the water. They'd stoop. Didn't seem to carry off anything. They were very vocal.

The Blue Garage

The blue garage in the alley has red leaves in its garden patch. In the spring, forsythia. In the summer, sunflowers.

October 24th, 2011, in the alley. (Click for larger image.)

Going To See the Elephant

The news is everywhere, science blogs and NYT and the sort of science journalists who find something hot to write about in each week's Science Magazine. And the local papers, including the weekly Sequim Gazette, are going wild.

Did I know we had a mastodon? No. Did I know Sequim has a museum with a natural history exhibit? No. But boy I sure now know that we are in the forefront of paleontological news, with a confirmed pre-Clovis hunting site. Boy howdy.

Beastie was excavated in the 70s, from the Manis farm in the Happy Valley area of Sequim. But the paleontological establishment told the researcher who did the work that it couldn't have been as early as he said. And science filed his findings in limbo, though the Manis Mastodon remained in the museum and on the mental maps of local people who have been around a long time.

The news is that it has been retested and firmly dated to 13,800 years ago; and the truly lovely part of the story is that the guy with way-modern dating technology worked with the original researcher, Dr. Carl Gustafson, lo these 35 years later, and he appears as one of the authors of the new paper. Take that, Clovis-first true believers.

The root story, in Science: (1). Lots of other stories: (2)(3)(4). The critter is not nearly as large as I imagined. Lovely size chart at New York State Museum's web site.

Keeping the museum's hours in mind, to plan a visit to the elephant ancestor's bones.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fifteen Feet Down, 195 Feet to Go

Barnard Construction is going to take the Glines Canyon Dam down another four feet before the end of the month, then shift activities out of the river flow for the first 'fish window' (to protect the salmon in the lower five miles of the river). An article in the Peninsula Daily News pointed out yesterday that this means some 15 feet of the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam will have been removed as of November 1.

9:55 AM, October 21, on the DamCam (Click for larger image.)

PDN is doing a great job of keeping us up-to-date. I wish they would ask Barnard Construction how many feet down they can go with the present notching procedure, i.e. when the working barge will ground on the rubble-filled silt upstream of the dam face. It's all just getting dropped in, for now...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Up on the Sol Duc

Went looking for leaping salmon, on the theory that the ocean will still be there after my trip to Santa Fe and Crestone, but the returning coho salmon run will have ended before I have another chance to look. River flow at the Cascade pretty low, and I only saw one jumper. I think that they were there, but can just swim invisibly up the flow at this volume.

Sol Duc River at Salmon Cascades, River Mile 59, October 16, 2011. (Click for larger image.)
The Forest at the Cascade (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)

The light is golden all day long in the winter forest.

(Click for larger image.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Report

There were people from AFL-CIO, Veterans for Peace, Green Party, MoveOn, can't remember who else. One person with an anti-GMO food sign. One person with a sign against the Federal Reserve Bank. One of the un-speakers pointed out there was nobody from the county Democratic Party.

The un-organizers brought a lot of old movie posters to write signs on the back of, but at first had no markers. Someone came running with a handful of markers. Eventually I was able to make myself a sign that said "99% we are the people" on a folded-over poster. Later I decided my base message was the one I saw on several handmade signs: "Remove corporate influence from politics", so I wrote that on the other folded half, and switched back and forth.

Occupy Port Angeles, October 15, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

An eccentric dude in yellow trousers took the microphone twice. The second time he was singing John Lennon's 'Imagine'. People sang along. The mad-as-the-devil woman read a statement she had written out beforehand. A couple about my age asked me how long I had been demonstrating. I checked my watch. "About 48 minutes," I said. "That makes you senior to us, we got here half an hour ago" they said, and told me that they had never been to a demonstration before.

After standing by the park for an hour, waving signs at the traffic on Lincoln Street (which is US 101 at that point) we started marching and circled around downtown in about 30 minutes (it's a small town), visiting various bank branches, politely stopping for red lights so we interfered with no traffic. Saw a couple of police cars, but their occupants not visible. They didn't need to remind us, we were good about staying on the sidewalk. The front of the line chanted "We. Are. The 99 percent." The back of the line with much louder voices was chanting "YOU. Are. The 99 percent."

"This is my first demonstration," said one young person to another as we were walking. "Same for me," the other replied.

Occupy Port Angeles, October 15, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Not Ready For This

The sun now rises behind the lot with the trees, where it will continue to rise for the next four or so months. And there was frost this morning. Actually I think there may have been frost yesterday morning also, but I didn't look until it had melted.

Kind of wintry. October 15, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Ornamental color, and blue Strait. Late afternoon, October 15, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Addicted to the DamCams

The height of the dam face is now below the level of the spillgates, and they continue to deepen the notches which are drawing down the level of the lake. (The DamCams also ofter timelapse slideshows. Extremely rewarding...)

Saturday Morning. October 8, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Handwork (!!) on Monday afternoon. Sure would love to know what that was about...

Man in a safety cage doing Something. October 10, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Ocean Again

The Ocean Prediction Center forecast something like 12-foot swell. Barely noticable on the beach, right? Wrong. Hello, winter surf, you've been almost forgotten, so glad to see you again.

October 9, 2011, about 2 hours past high tide (Click for larger image.)

This was a COASST survey day. Needed actual beach to survey. Even at 90 minutes past the high tide, no beach to speak of. I set out anyway, immediately caught by water washing into the drift and up above the knee (thank heavens for rainpants and waterproof boots), retreated to a log and just watched and listened for another half-hour or so.

No dead birds, though on the Rialto Jetty beach segment there could have been any number hiding under the accumulated drying foam. Which is always painful to see since Akashiwo caused all those dead birds two years ago (1), (2), (3), but apparently not causing harm under present circumstances. Pelicans, crows, gulls. Misty, sometimes very misty, but essentially sunny and warm.

Pelicans in the mist (Click for larger image.)
Piles of foam always spooky, but not actually harmful... (Click for larger image.)

The tide did eventually recede, the sea surface less wild. Last weekend's fresh wrack lines along the Ellen Creek beach segment had been swept away, the beach clean and bare.

At Ellen Creek, October 9, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
Later afternoon (Click for larger image.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Watchers by the River

Driving west, there had seemed to be very darn little water in the Sol Duc River, and no fisher persons at the usual pull outs. So it seemed unlikely there would be salmon jumping at Salmon Cascades. But I had to go look, on my way home from the beach. Up the Sol Duc Road I went, through the beautiful forest, grey and dark; and yes, you could see watchers down by the river as you drove around the last curve, and the little parking area was full. Fish. We have fish.

Watchers at Salmon Cascades, October 2, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

These are the Sol Duc summer coho. They spawn a couple of river miles upstream. Sometimes a really big one would jump, and all the watchers would murmur or go "oooh". Sometimes one would jump a little to the right of the main flow, where you could see it wriggle and scramble up the thin water flowing down the rock instead of vanishing into the cascade; and the people would say "Go! Go! Go!", and clap their hands, and make pushing gestures in the air, adding their own intention to the fierce determined fishes.

No new photos of salmon in flight. If I concentrate on trying to get photos, I'm not watching any more, and once I have a good picture I think I am done and go home, instead of just being there. Here is where they were jumping:

Salmon Cascades, October 2, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)

Two years ago I spent a long long time on several occasions trying to get pictures of the coho at Salmon Cascades. Though it violates the one rule of this blog, that all the pictures should be new, here are a movie and my best jumping salmon photo, both from 2009.

October 18, 2009. Perfect Flow, a Salmon Movie
A Coho Salmon on October 18, 2009 (Click for larger image.)

The Quietest of Beach Days

The forecast was for rain, but it didn't rain, which was a good thing because the whole purpose of the day was to sit on the beach and read. No dead-bird surveys, no wading in the surf, no glorious photos, no ecstasy. Just read.

The light was gray and flat, and there was no swell to speak of, no surf, little wave sound. There must have been some recent wave action, because the beach was netted with lines of fresh wrack. There was a strong smell of salt and (?)iodine.

Rialto Beach, October 2, 2011. Fresh wrack. (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)

Some pelicans. Gulls and crows working the wrack lines and flying off with things in their beaks (which was interesting, you never see gulls doing anything but standing around...) Away to the south, a fishing boat moved through the channel beyond the jetty. All you could see of it was a tall slender mast, with a light at the top. Later the air got brighter, though the sky didn't actually clear.

October 2, 2011. Rialto Beach. Looking North. (Click for larger image.)

I sat against a handy log and read every inch of a very lovely novel for middle-schoolers, Hilary McKay's Saffy's Angel. J fiction, as we used to call it where I used to work, has the very great virtue of offering classical unity, the whole arc of the story can be experienced in one sitting. Most satisfying, if it's a good book, which this was.

Quiet Beach Movie, October 2, 2011.

This post is for Roshi, who once complained that I send him pictures of the same beach every time. This from a man who has done the same thing every morning for the last fifty years.