Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bobbin' Around Out There ; or, In the Albatross's Living Room

As I have seen so many boats do when watching from the point, Monday morning around 8AM we went out from the harbor at La Push, passing through the channel between the jetty and James Island. The harbor and the jetty were filled with pelicans, probably thousands of them.

Tatoosh at the dock (Click for larger image.)
Looking back at the harbor. (Click for larger image, and to admire the pelicans.)

The transect begins and ends at this buoy. We bobbed around there quite a while, so the observers could practice estimating distance and be sure they would be reporting things the same, and because Liam was having trouble with the laptop, so that the data logging program, which is called Seebird ('a program to gather seabird sightings during ship transects') wasn't behaving right. Then we got going.

The buoy which is the survey start point. (Click for larger image.)
Our three observers, Bob, Bill and Ryan, sitting ready to observe, and Liam at the laptop ready to record data (Click for larger image.)

We record only what's visible up to 300 meters off the front quarter, from the bow to the port beam. If they aren't visible in that quarter of view, they don't count. We were only to break that pattern, to 'go off transect', either (a) to try to get individual identification of orcas if we saw any, which we did not (other marine mammals not of interest, simply recorded). Or (b) if there were something really rare. (STOP STOP STOP shouted all three observers, when they saw an albino cassin's auklet. A who?)

It was partly sunny for a while when we were at the outermost end of our transect.

Out there (Click for larger image.)

Bright out near the edge of the continental shelf, but closer in it was low clouds and murk all along my familiar coast: though it was goopy, heading out and coming back in again, there I was looking at my own home turf, La Push and James Island and Rialto Beach and Cake Rock and Dahdayla Island and the Giant's Graveyard to the south FROM THE OCEAN, and it was pretty exciting. The forecast was for 7-foot swells, yikes. The skipper said at the end it had never gotten more than about 6-feet. When we were on the outbound leg we were headed right into the swells and it was pretty 'lumpy' as the skipper called it. Bounce bounce. ("The Tatoosh is a cork," said one of our observers, Bob Boekelheide.) A couple of people got sick, and one of the observers carefully ate nothing all day but a few saltines now and then... I didn't get sick, because I had taken TWO bonine, but unfortunately they did make me nearly a zombie from sleepiness. Later in the day the swell settled down. Warm, no rain, and smoother going.

There were lots of birds. I usually had no idea what they were even though everyone else on the boat (including Nathan, our skipper) knew exactly. We also saw humpbacks, dall's porpoise, pacific white-sided dolphins, sea lions swimming, a female northern fur seal just loafing around out there with a flipper in the air (don't ask me how they knew that's what it was), a gray whale.

For myself I could just about recognize common murres and tufted puffins when I saw them, coastal birds I already knew. And humpback whale and dall's porpoise, those I recognized too. Maybe I sometimes had an idea a fulmar was a fulmar, if it was sitting still; or an albatross if there were other birds around for size comparison. But we were sighting vast numbers of sooty shearwaters, and I never had a clue that's what I was seeing or how to recognize it. 'Storm petrel, forktailed, 200 meters, flying, 120 degrees?' Nah. Gotta take their word for it. 'Bird-passing-by' is all I get with my own brain. These pictures are not good, but they're what I got, and are not inconsistent with the amount of detail I was able to observe with my eyes :-(

Dark morph of northern fulmar? (Click for larger image.)

I don't know what I thought it was that pelagic birds DO all day, but I never imagined them sitting around in huge flocks, just bobbing on the water in the middle of the ocean— ok, not the middle, we were no further out than Juan de Fuca Canyon near the edge of the continental shelf, no I'm not sure we got even that far— enjoying themselves. Bill Tweit, the WDFW guy who was one of the observers, said they looked healthy and well fed, and thought it significant that they were so contented they could barely be bothered to move out of the way of the boat as we drove through their livingroom. (Bill also uses his nose a lot; he said it smelled good out there; and when the gray whale was around he knew it was gray whale blow not humpback whale blow he was smelling before he saw the critter at all.)

I hope eventually to have numbers and species lists. Liam has the official data for NOAA, and will have to process and correct and fuss with it before telling us anything even informally; but Ryan Merrill (another of the observers, who is on contract with the state for the summer to survey marbled murrelets) took a copy and thought he could email us some ballpark numbers by next week. (I just want the lists so I can remember and tell you about it. Bob Boekelheide, the observer from the Dungeness River Audubon Center, is really eager to get his hands on all the pelagic bird survey data for the past 8 years and analyze it to pieces. It's treasure.) I wasn't taking good notes for myself—the only time I knew what they were seeing was when I had the radio headphone on and was entering data, and all those sightings went right through my ears and into my fingers without having time to register on my brain. Press enter and start typing the next one. It was hard to keep up. I'd get on the little radio and say 'Wait wait,' and the observer wielding the outside radio would have to hold a WHOLE SEQUENCE of sightings in his head until I was ready for him. When it got really busy and there were lots of sightings I had to ask Liam to take over again.

While Chris was recording data, Bill teased her by reporting a kiwi. 'What's the code for that?' she asked in a panic, and then got the joke. Everyone knew she was after pelagic birds she had never seen before for her life list, and she did indeed get three (but not a kiwi).

About the humpbacks, a couple of times they were really close. Not spectacular, just the humpy back appearing out of the ocean just right there and going down again, but very big and smooth and RIGHT THERE.

Cake Rock from the Sea. It's usually on the western horizon when I take pictures on Rialto Beach... (Click for larger image.)

Addendum: (August 18, 2011)

"Protocol: Traveling ; 70.0 mile(s)." Before we left the Tatoosh on July 25th, Ryan Merrill took a copy of the pelagic bird survey data from the Seebird program on Liam's laptop, and entered it into as checklist #S8599880 , He includes not just how many were reported to Liam or me or Chris at the keyboard, but others seen outside the survey quadrant. Like, "4750 Pink-footed Shearwater; 2633 in survey area, a few large rafts and many smaller rafts outside survey area."

Other highlights:

  • 3850 Sooty Shearwater ; 1932 on survey
  • 1050 Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel ; 761 on survey
  • 2 Leach's Storm-Petrel ; both on survey, crossed close to boat and seen well
  • 300 Black-footed Albatross; 169 on survey, most associated with the hake trawler/processor and in the wake trailing behind them for miles
  • Go to the ebird entry to see them all.

I don't see how to get to his comments from the link above. But he emailed them to Liam, and gave permission to use them here: "Comments: OCNMS NOAA survey from La Push - Forecast was 7 foot swell at ten with 10-20 knot winds but reality was more like 5-6 foot swell with max 10 knot winds, overcast at first clearing to mostly sunny, dodged some dense rain showers. Mammals included 6 Humpbacks, 15 Dall's Porpoise (bow riding), 15 Pacific White-sided Dolphins (bow riding), 50 Steller's Sea Lions (all but three at Sea Lion Rock south of Carroll Island), 2 Fur Seals, 1 Gray Whale (south of Carroll), and 4 Harbor Seals. Big highlight was encountering a hake trawler and processor with thousands of tubenoses (mainly fulmars) behind it, most of which were in the survey area! only a couple hundred of the PFSH were here - Good numbers of birds seen throughout the survey highlighted by tremendous numbers of Pink-footed Shearwaters (4750)! Several rafts of 50 or more Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels seen sitting on the water were fun to see as well. 26 species (+1 other taxa)."

I sure didn't see a fraction of all that, you know. But we did.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Going to Sea

Getting ready for tomorrow's boat expedition. 8 hours on the water, and Right Out Into The Ocean. This might be a map of where we will be going (the purple line),

Map of the Pelagic Seabird Survey Transect (click for larger image)

tallying pelagic birds all the way, as described in Barbara Blackie's account of the seabird study in 2006-2009.

Have to be at the NOAA office to get on the van at 6 AM tomorrow morning. With notebook at the ready, so I can scribble down whatever pearls of wisdom emerge during the drive to La Push. Will be riding with scientists and observers (and the skipper of the boat)! We sail at 8AM from La Push. Once on the boat I have an official role: 'data entry support'. Me and the other joyrider are data entry support. Liam Antrim, of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, is organizer and 'data entry lead'. The core of the expedition are the three observers, experienced birder people, who will call out what they see. One of them is Bob Boekleheide, Mister Knows-Every-Bird-In-An-Instant, Director the Dungeness River Audubon Center. Liam will show us how to record what they call out (I think there is a little machine we type into), and if we data support people are seasick or too easily confused he will have to do it by himself all day.

Unlike when I have been on whalewatch boats in Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait, we will be well out of sight of land. Never did that before. Liam says "The Tatoosh is a rolly vessel, so if you are susceptible to sea sickness, please bring something to mitigate this." How do I know if I am susceptible, if I've never done this before. Picture of the Tatoosh.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pelican Heaven

Saturday. High season in Olympic National Park. People everywhere. And pelicans. Warm enough for water shoes, and to walk in the water all the way to Hole-in-the-Wall. When I got out there, lots of pelicans, diving and calling just out past the seastacks, and right beyond the surf line. You could see the flash of fishes in their beaks; once I saw one tilt his head and let a larger fish drop into his pouch so he looked momentarily just like a cartoon pelican...

Pelicans, Rialto Beach Near Hole-in-the-Wall, July 23, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
More pelicans (Click for larger image.)
Plenitude of pelicans (Click for larger image.)

Did I mention it is the height of the season? The sun was out, tides were moderate, and all over the Olympic Peninsula people suddenly needed to go to the ocean to walk to Hole-in-the-Wall. In the winter, on a weekday, in the rain, you can be out there and pretend you are "the only man under the eye of heaven" (which is Peter Matthiessen's last line in At Play in the Fields of the Lord or so I strongly remember it). Not yesterday. It is best to be glad that so many people know the place, love it, might understand why it needs to be protected.

People everywhere (Click for larger image.)

No good pictures of the little beach right before Hole-in-the-Wall. Too bad. The first time I saw it, I thought , "I'm not sure I've ever been on such a beautiful beach"; and that might still be true...

Hole-in-the-Wall, Rialto Beach, July 23, 2011 (many better pictures elsewhere in the blog (1)(2)(3) (Click for larger image.)

I flung the camera up and took many pictures of empty sea and sky, and blurry pelicans, cruising and diving. And seventeen little movies, two of which almost show ... look closely, you'll see them dive.

Pelican movie #17, Rialto Beach, July 23, 2011.
Pelican movie #16, Rialto Beach, July 23, 2011.

A ranger came along. I asked what the pelicans were eating. "Fish," he said. Oh, great. They are now hiring dolts to be Park Rangers. "What sort of fish," I asked. "Lots of kinds of fish under there." Thanks, dude. I'll ask Bob Boekelheide tomorrow what would be some good guesses. If he doesn't know he'll just say, "I don't know."

On the way home, stopped as usual at the pullout over the Quileute River, and got online to check email and twitter. It's my new bad habit. Apparently a handful of hours is the longest I can stand not to be connected. The maps say Quillayute River, but the tribe is the Quileute, and the river is theirs, as is James Island visible off the beach, in the background on the other side of the jetty...

Quileute River Movie. No seals, no eagles. Lots of green.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Momentarily Summer

Yesterday the wind was so stiff you could see whitecaps on the Strait from all the way back here. Today the air is mild and still, the sun is shining. The Port Angeles dual view—Strait one way, Olympics the other— is doing its job in a hazy way. Am putting containers in the car: someday soon there will be blackberries on the roadsides.

The north reaches of Olympic National Park: Klahane Ridge, Mount Angeles, Hurricane Hill, Unicorn Peak (Click for larger image.)
Strait of Juan de Fuca: Salt Water View, Zoomed in the Way My Eyes Always Do (Click for larger image.)

If it stays like this, I will have to go out to the ocean when I leave the Elwha this afternoon. Checking tidetables, forecast, webcams (1)(2). Bringing books, snacks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Remembering an Apparition...

Once upon a time, OrcaLab's Orca-live website had webcams in the kelp forest at Cracroft Point. (Details of how it was done then. Understand, that was then and this is now: no cams. But yes, still delicious audio when the orcas are singing.) For months at a stretch, several summers in a row, we got to put our heads under the sea and watch the life there. If orcas passed by, there might be surface views from a handheld camera, but all day the kelp waved and flocks of fishies passed by and such beloved echinoderms as Waverly the sea cucumber and Spike the sea urchin (ok ok, there were LOTS of Spikey Guys and I madly loved every single one) performed slowly for watchers all over the globe.

And on September 17, 2005, a Pycnopodia helianthoides (sunflower star) fell into view (from where?), re-organized his topsy-turvey self, and slithered off camera. I happened to be sitting at my desk just then, with my finger on the screen capture button and my head joyfully under the sea...

Pycnopodia helianthoides, on September 17, 2005. All screenshots captured live and Copyright © Orcalab for non commercial, educational use only. (Click for larger images.)

PS. Note the Spikey Guy in the bottom left corner, a purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. He's probably still around, somewhere. His close relative the red sea urchin is thought to live up to a couple of hundred years.

What People Say

So I'm sitting there in the Makah Marina at Neah Bay (see previous post), eating snacks and waiting for the talk to begin; and we're sharing stories about the rainy drive, about how many log trucks we had seen heading east along the lake as we were driving west— mid-afternoon they are just swarming, barreling enormously past in the other lane of the narrow road. A woman who had come 'over the hill' from Forks said, "Yes, the Park is adding big chunks of land, so they are cutting everything they can before that happens."

Map Showing Proposed Park Additions (only the red-dotted bits, you'll have to look closely at the full PDF image), as of July, 2010 (Click for larger image.)

Sigh. Reality rarely figures in what people believe. They are cutting everything they can all over the Pacific northwest, from BC down through Oregon and into California, yes it sure looks like it. Not for any local reasons, but because there is a market for logs in China, something I have been reading a lot about as I try to understand the log ships loading down in the harbor. And if the proposed expansions (proposed by the Wild Olympics Campaign, not by the Park, and lord knows not 'big chunks', nor certain to happen) are to be from willing sellers, those sellers won't be shaving off the trees first, for spite...

I will have to ask someone who knows about the present state of the proposed Park expansion.

Studying Birds

Friday afternoon I drove out to Neah Bay in the rain for a talk by Julia Parrish, the founder of the COASST program. She has been studying the birds on Tatoosh Island since 1990, and every year she does a talk out there for the community, to share what she learns. Beautiful meeting space, in the Makah Marina Conference Center. Got to hang out and watch the fishing boats come pottering in. Loons on the water. Tide coming in slowly. Boats and boats.

Rainy Day, Neah Bay Marina, July 15, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Nice spread of cheese and salmon and crackers and fruit, COASST helpers to greet people, etc etc. Lovely slide show, and Julia is an energetic and cheerful speaker. Lots of fieldwork stories, old and current photographs of the island, live and dead birds. And she LOVES her birds. In the midst of an ode to the tufted puffin, she said, "Look at that pink eye-ring. Who would not be attracted to that?" :-)

When she began inserting dead bird slides into the talk, she apologized; but kept putting them in there. Well yeah; as she said, "I run the largest dead bird program in the entire world."

She talked a lot about
—common murres, the birds she has been studying on Tatoosh Island since 1990;
—about doing fieldwork also on Protection Island, the world center of population for rhinoceros auklets, who are night-active and not very good at stopping so you have to wear headgear to keep from getting brained when they crash into you in the dark;
—about the rigors of studying marbled murrelets, where you have to be out in tiny boats at night spotlighting them and scooping them off the water to band, AND climbing up into the oldgrowth forests to study their nests; the murrelet scientists are all men, she said; she didn't say 'young men,' but I bet it's true;
— about the effectiveness of using streamer lines to reduce bycatch in the long-line fishery; and how it benefits both the birds and the fishermen, since otherwise birds get a significant proportion of the bait (did she say 20%?);
—about tubenoses: they are very long-lived. If you are going to study tubenoses you will be a long way past your graduate work before your banding projects bear fruit. She said fulmars can live 60 to 70 years, which made me wonder about the one I found on Rialto Jetty Beach last week, how much of a life had he/she had before washing up in the wrackline?

It was raining pretty hard when I blew out of there at 8:15PM, but was mostly merely gray and wet and constantly darker without ever quite being dark for the entire two hours home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ferry Came, Ferry Went : Performing Information Lady

I spent a couple of hours on Monday behind the desk in the Olympic Coast Discovery Center, dispensing information about the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary largely to idle passers-by, people waiting for the ferry, or wandering the waterfront, or heading to or from the Downriggers restaurant. The ferry arrived enormously out the windows. Later it departed, equally large.

The sea otter pelt was borrowed for the Junior Oceanographers class going on at the Feiro Marine Life Center. The little beeper which calls over to the NOAA office for backup spontaneously called both us and our backup person; she came hustling down to make sure we weren't being attacked by an axe murderer/tourist. Children asked questions. A mom and I agreed passionately that we certainly never want to meet a wolf eel. Two parties of people were particularly taken with our photos of basket stars; they had just seen a live one down at the Feiro. There didn't seem to be any information offered about amphipods. Seems to me there should be a picture there on the table next to the baleen sample—had a hard time explaining to a couple of kids what the baleen was doing, i.e., how and what gray whales would be eating. Wikipedia, I might mention, says of amphipods, "Although they are very abundant, widespread and diverse, amphipods do not feature strongly in the public imagination." Uh, right. Need to find out whether the orca skull model is a transient or a resident, by way of helping to explain the two kinds and what they eat. Visitors of a certain young age continue to assume, even insist, that the skull must be that of a dinosaur.

It felt pretty odd to be performing Information Lady without the ability to look up answers I don't know. ("Where's Cannon Ball Rock?"). Next time I'll bring the iPad.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Canoes Arrived Yesterday

They will have paddled away east at first light this morning. Story from this morning's paper.

The first canoe to land was from Quinault (Click for larger image.)

I almost didn't go to watch the landing. Since I was planning not to help out in the kitchen, I didn't feel that I ought to. But when the landing time began to approach, I couldn't stay away. I love the scripted ceremonial. I could listen a dozen times over (and get to do so) to, roughly, 'we have come from far away and are tired and hungry, may we land and share stories and songs with you' to which someone, perhaps a barely audible tiny child, replies in English and Klallam, 'Thankyou for coming to our territory. Come ashore, come ashore.' I thought on and off all afternoon about the other scripted ceremonial I am familiar with, the shuso ceremony at Tassajara and at Crestone, like this one no less moving for being prewritten.

Tlingit canoe, from Juneau, Alaska (Click for larger image.)
Ahousat (Click for larger image.)

This all happens not out on the rez but right in Port Angeles Harbor on the beach in front of the Red Lion Inn. It is the tribe's annual reminder to the town that the last Klallam were displaced from the townsite and moved out to the present rez only about 80 years ago, and it was once all theirs. (The temptation is great to try to frame the photos to leave out the city dock, the motel, and so on. It's hard not to romanticize. But it ain't romantic. It is the restoration of the continuity of culture.)

On the beach (Click for larger image.)

The canoes spend the night on the beach below the motel, and everyone goes by van and car out to Elwha, where their support crews have set up camp and the festivities begin. They dance and sing much of the night, then climb back into the canoes in the morning, early if the tide says so, and pull away to the next landing. Day after day. A hundred canoes will arrive at Swinomish, this year's host, on July 27.

The landing schedule map. It's really complicated this year. (Click for larger image.)

PS It was warm mild and foggy, later colder and came on to drizzling...

PPS Mural on the Feiro Marine Life Center, showing the very same beach some time before about 1860. HistoryLink tells about the early days around 1850 when settlers first arrived to live among the Klallam, and descriptions of the village of I'e'nis.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reading News

I have lately realized that though my tagline on twitter and on my homepage itself is 'Librarian, reader, watcher of ships, denizen of beaches', here I mostly only address the latter two pieces of that description of my life. And nowhere address my present relationship to my life as a Buddhist monk, except in the context of journeying to Crestone Mountain Zen Center now and then.

Here anyway is my reading life at the moment. The widget being live, even when this post is no longer current, it will show what I'm reading at the moment you look at it.

Meanwhile I am contemplating what to do about my dusty cobwebby web pages about the Cerro Gordo Temple in Santa Fe, and whether I should construct a blog post here about the continuing struggle to restore my smallest oryoki bowl from the accident which befell it in November two years ago, while I was on my way home from Crestone from an occasion for which I needn't have brought the oryoki at all— no formal meals— but a proper monk always travels with her robes and bowls, now doesn't she...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh, By the Way

News from the local paper about the log export market: Logs destined for China stacking up on Port Angeles waterfront. Roughly the same story, from a couple of months ago, that the supply of logs arriving has overwhelmed China's ability to unload the ships. I have intermittently spent a lot of search time failing to find out how they get the logs off the ships, especially out of the holds. I might just have to go down to the harbor and find someone to ask.

Meanwhile, I clicked on the the other Timaru Star by accident, the ship which I have been ignoring all this while—

because the one in our harbor that went to Astoria then Coos Bay then stopped transmitting was Timaru Star (HK)

Timaru Star, evening, June 27, 2011. No activity. (Click for larger image.)

Timaru Star (BM) was here this week and I happened not to go down to the harbor but she was right here, and she is now in Bellingham. Huh? Also a cargo ship. Cue the Twilight Zone music. Deedledeedle deedledeedle.

Ships to China are everywhere. I'm reading Susan Freinkel's Plastic: A Toxic Love Story and learned that from the west coast, at least, most plastic waste bound for recycling plants is sorted, washed, shredded and goes by ship to China, where it is turned into this and that which might be useful (carpet? polyester clothing?), but not back into soda or water bottles. I knew our recycling went by truck to a sort facility in Tacoma, but apparently from there to China. Who knew?

PS. She says, also, "for every pound of trash put out at the curb, another seventy pounds is generated in the manufacture and production of their source materials." Nice to have a number, and a source. I have such a hard time explaining to people why I haven't bought beverages in single-serving containers for 15 months, not even when I'd sell my soul for a CocaCola. No soda machine to use to fill my reusable bevvy cup = no coke for me. That's 730 aluminum cans per year not produced on my behalf, and I haven't lapsed once.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Invisible Feast Drifting Along

A day with a lot of critters in it. Seals, a little porpoise dude coursing by, invisible fish, pelicans cormorants gulls.

Rialto Beach, Quiet Ocean, Quiet Surf, July 10, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
Looking Towards James Island (Click for larger image.)

There was a school of fish out there somewhere under the water. Gulls, cormorants, pelicans and seals were all working just offshore, the show moving slowly north as the invisible feast drifted along. Failed to get pictures of pelicans, but there were a few; any day with pelicans in it is a good day.

Quiet Soundscape on a Bright Warm Overcast Day, July 10, 2011

This was a COASST survey day. When I got back to the start point after the second beach segment, I settled on a bank of gravel against a log to listen to the waves, sift pebbles with my fingers, and read for an hour or so. Bharati Mukherjee, Miss New India. I am SO into it. Stopped again on the road home, at the pullout next to the Sol Duc River (around Milepost 210), to read some more.

Someone With a Really Interesting Mind Made these Cobble Henges... (Click for larger image.)

Usually after mentioning that I was out on a COASST survey, there is nothing more to say about that because I rarely find anything. This day there were indeed dead things. What appears to be the sea lion from last month is now far to the south along the jetty beach. Much deteriorated, in fact no head so I didn't try to measure it or fill out a marine mammal report sheet. The (cartilaginous) skeleton of a skate. And by golly a beached bird carcass to record for science, the first on the Rialto Jetty beach segment since November of 2009. A northern fulmar. I measured and recorded and identified, the proper citizen scientist (though God knows I'm often wrong). Didn't glove up, a mistake; got my hands well imbued with the curious musty odor of the Procellariiformes. And decay. Disinfected twice, washed, disinfected, washed, and could still smell it. Must have been on my clothes.

Northern Fulmar, bird #772, Rialto Jetty Beach segment, July 10, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Signs, Signals, and Webcams

I went and asked at the Olympic National Park visitor center here in town about when the Obstruction Point Road might open. A volunteer docent said her husband had hiked to the end of the road this week, and had needed an ice axe to keep his footing getting across the iced-over drifts in the road in some places. She guessed mid-August. A ranger guy guessed late August. No houseguests are getting onto the Lillian Ridge Trail in the near future...

The road conditions recording says there are 44" of snow at the snow stake, wherever that is; somewhere on the north side of the hill above the Hurricane Ridge visitor center, perhaps the nubbin in the background on the northcam,

Hurricane Ridge Web Cam, Parking Lot View (Click for larger image.)

the view of the parking lot on Hurricane Ridge. There are almost always deer in the cam view that looks southwest towards Mt. Olympus. Are people feeding them, or is there just more fresh grass on this slope than elsewhere in the vicinity? There are those 44" of snow nearby to factor in...

Hurricane Ridge Web Cam, Looking Towards the Bailey Range and Mount Olympus (Click for larger image.)

Enough with the addictive-behavior reading orgy. I really am heading for the outer coast this morning.

La Push Web Cams (1)(2), Right Now (Click for larger image.)