Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where I'm Going

Long weekend in another country. Arriving mostly by land, well, except for the ferry ride from Port Townsend, and the bridge over Deception Pass...

... (Click for larger image.)

Anticipating Marmots

Still snowing up there. I wonder if there are years when the road out to Lillian Ridge never is opened at all? Last year it was open only mid-July to mid-October. Marmots. I need to be able to anticipate marmots.

The Waterhole SnoTel, halfway out to Obstruction Point on Hurricane Ridge (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday the Duck Was At the Heritage Center

(Staying local, apparently.)

It's Duck Derby season, an annual fundraiser for the local hospital. The ridiculous beast appeared across the street from the post office in front of the Elwha Klallam Heritage Center on Friday, but then wasn't there anymore. No worries. Now he's at Safeway. I'm thinking I might actually buy a number this year. (I don't think you actually get a rubber duckie. Your numbered duckie gets dropped in the canal on the morning of the derby, and bobs along where he will, preferably across the finish line.)

Giant Duck Balloon (Click for larger image.)

In the lot with the trees there's a big shrubby plant with coppery leaves and spectacular pink flowers. C. says it's a flowering quince— therefore definite evidence (along with the nearby daffodil) of a former garden on the lot.

Flowering Quince Chaenomeles japonica in the Lot With the Trees (Click for larger image.)

I went down to Ediz Hook. There was a lot of ship action. Most interesting and baffling, the Evergreen freighter that came out of Puget Sound just to drop off its pilot before heading straight into Canadian waters, curving back east en route to Vancouver. Not clear what else they could have done (no pilot station at Port Townsend, though I thought there was), but the track sure looks peculiar on a map.

Ever Urban (note the pilot boat off the stern) (Click for larger image.)
Her Track (Click for larger image.)

There were two tankers and a freighter in the harbor on Friday afternoon, and today there's a log ship, Kiwi Trader, loading at the T-pier; I might go out later and try to get a picture of her.

I'm actually apparently devoting the weekend to reading, mostly mowing through library books which are either almost due or have many other library patrons waiting for them, or both. I was so into Postmistress, Mora, Wash., 1914-1915 : journal entries and photographs of Fannie Taylor that I dreamed about her: there I was at Mora, lacing up my boots to hike to Second Beach, well within Fannie's territory. We were talking a little about what freedoms women have today (not much freer than the life Fannie led!), and I knew I was dreaming and was so grateful to meet her. I think I'll write to Jacilee Wray, the editor, and ask if I can see some of the originals of Fannie Taylor's photographs. The Park has them in their archives.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Enough With The Ocean, Day After Day

Once more continuing to fail to see gray whales. Insert here a rerun of Saturday's First Beach photos. On the other hand, the elk were out on Beaver Prairie; it is surely ridiculous to fuss about the absence of cetaceans when the Olympic Peninsula offers its own charismatic megafauna, just casually, in a field by the highway.

Elk on Beaver Prairie, April 17, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Sunday was a beautiful spring morning at Rialto Beach, I got my COASST surveys for April done (no dead birds). There's more wrack than there had been for a while, and marine debris on the beach, nets, bits of rope, Asian plastic bottles from the North Pacific garbage patch.

Not much swell, Rialto Beach, April 17, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
James Island from Rialto Jetty, April 17, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
Kelp Ashore, April 17, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Low Swell, Not Much Surf, Rialto Soundscape for Cee, April 17, 2011

Then I drove around to the La Push side of the river and not-saw gray whales for a couple of hours. Oh. I already mentioned that. It did occur to me that perhaps there just weren't any whales passing by when I happened to be looking— it's not like they could show up one after another all up and down the migration route simultaneously.

PS Saturday's unrecorded bird events included an eagle sitting in the shallows of the Quileute River, just sitting there, the way I used to sit in Tassajara Creek in the afternoons when the temperature would be around 110 degrees and nothing remained of my temper.

Eagle in the Quileute River, Rialto Beach, April 17, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

And there were lovely ducks paddling around in the river. I got a good look at one in the binoculars, a common merganser of such surpassing beauty that I wondered if I had maybe been a female merganser in a previous life to respond to it so clearly.

Sunday afternoon I stopped by the lake and a pair of mallards waddled up attentively: was I eating? would I share? They were both so drop-dead gorgeous, suddenly not just boring old mallards, it occured to me that oh it is spring and the birds are in their breeding colors and no surprise even passing elderly primates respond. Mrs. Mallard flashed her purple iridescent speculum at me repeatedly. I actually don't believe this is projection: she was flirting. I considered giving her the remains of my lunch...

Mrs. Mallard on a Log, Lake Crescent, April 17, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oooh Look

The cam on Hurricane Ridge is clear of ice.

But I'm not going up there. Heading west again:

Webcam at First Beach (Click for larger image.)

Failing-To-See-Whales Season

Saturday it was rainy in the morning, but eventually I got rolling and went West. It was like being surprised by the expected: it was gray and rainy and beautiful along Lake Crescent, the oldgrowth lowland forest on the lakeshore by Barnes Point was dense and mysterious and some of the trees are BIG, there was leftover snow by the highway past the Fairholm store though the elevation is only around 1000'. It quite seriously rained for a while, but was lifting by the time I got to La Push.

I was looking for gray whales, the blowing breaths and stray bits of whale backs of the northward migration now in progress. No whales. There are rarely any whales when I am looking. (Other people see them, plenty of reports.)

First Beach at La Push, Looking to the South. No Whales, April 16, 2011. (Click for larger image.)
First Beach at La Push, Looking at James Island. No Whales, April 16, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Eagles over the water, yes. Surfers, yes. Fishing boat traffic, twilight tourists, sound of waves, clearing skies, yes.

Fishing Boat in the Channel (Click for larger image.)

From there you can see the beach where I usually go except in failing-to-see-whales season, but to actually get there you have to drive east up the highway, get across the river, then back west again. I did that. Walked to Ellen Creek and back.

The river overlook. Quileute River, the jetty, James Island and Pacific Ocean Beyond (Click for larger image.)

I came home. It was fairly beautiful out, even back here in town.

The Road Home: Lake Crescent, April 16, 2010 (Click for larger image.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Looking Around

The cam on Hurricane Ridge is all iced up, too bad, it must be gorgeous up there at the moment. Here instead is the south-facing view from the airport cams:

... (Click for larger image.)

It's a spiritual sin not to be at the ocean right now, but today's a work-at-the-college day.

First Beach Web Cam (Click for larger image.)

The ferry horn just sounded, it's pulling away from the dock.

Webcam on top of Port Angeles Inn (Click for larger image.)

It's good to be home. Gotta go to work now.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fire-fangled Feathers Dangle Down

Near the end of the visit, another expedition with M. (whom I've known since junior high school and very little in the intervening decades). We went to Morikami Gardens. Lunch in the cafe, walk around the garden loop, visit the museum. My perhaps insufficiently reverent take: that it's a little odd, Florida water and Florida plants being trained to a Japanese sensibility by people a long way and a number of generations from Japan.

The best part was when we sat on a bench on the bonsai island and watched turtles and koi and birds work the murky shallow water. All the wildlife was very tame. There was a Florida mottled duck. There were wonderfully patterned turtles swimming around. There was a quite astonishing bluejay, with blue and black checkerboard wings, which it turns out is commonplace everywhere except anywhere I have lived in the Western states for the past 45 years. A great blue heron came down right in front of us and waited to see something he might be able to eat (the koi were too gigantic, ducks out of his league, turtles too large and too hard of shell). Now and then a wind flexed his/her long plume-like neck and back feathers dangling down.

I managed to refrain from firing up the mifi unit right on the spot to get online and find the line of poetry which came to mind. Wallace Stevens, it turns out. Of Mere Being.

Saturday, came home. Port Angeles/Seattle/Chicago/Fort Lauderdale going. Fort Lauderdale/New Orleans/Las Vegas/Seattle/Port Angeles returning.

Monday, April 04, 2011

(Revised) Visuals from Florida

Palmetto in the Secret Woods, Dania Beach, Florida (Click for larger image.)

Butterfly Sign in the Secret Woods, Dania Beach, Florida (Click for larger image.)

Ibis Through Mom's Window, Tamarac, Florida (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Secret Woods, and Ibises

Day Six in Florida. On day three I spent the late afternoon and supper time with a friend whom I knew in junior high. She used to come on family vacations with my mom, my sister and me. Before my stepfather came on the scene, when the three of us were the whole family, fifty-plus years ago. Hadn't seen her for some decades, until last summer.

We spent a long time making bad driving decisions looking for a little county park called the Secret Woods Nature Center. Despite the heat. It had a butterfly island, with wonderful signs to say what species of butterfly larvae or nectar-eating adults feed on each thing in the garden, it worked, there were butterflies. Flitter flitter. Then we went on a boardwalk trek though (dry in this season) cypress and mangrove woods and so on, out to a river called the New River, and suddenly on the other side of the water, huge homes and fancy boats. And all the time the sound of interstate 595 and state highway whatever#, and planes from the Fort Lauderdale airport low overhead. It really is a Secret Woods, you'd never imagine it was there.

Um yeah, it was horridly hot, but a breeze had sprung up so we survived. I took pictures, but for the first time in my whole electronic life, I have forgotten the cord that unloads the camera.

Anyway, the expedition was such a success, and I am here for such a long visit, that we are going to do a rerun next week, it will have to be earlier in the day as we want to go to a famous Japanese garden, Morikami Gardens, and they close at 4.

Other than that, we are doing ok here, in a long tedious sort of way. People here are really really old. If there are ibises on the grass outside the diningroom window at the assisted living place, we can spend a really long time discussing whether they are ibises or cranes, and whether it is spelled 'ibis' or 'ibix'.