Field Journal: Eccentric Sand Dollars at Dash Point

This morning I felt the urge for an adventure and since I’ve had nudibranchs on my mind I opted to visit a new beach. There are many public beaches around Puget Sound and they are all a little different. Between Seattle and Tacoma are several beaches including Seahurst Park in Burien and Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, both of which I’ve visted. Today I opted to go a little further south to Federal Way and Dash Point State Park. The winter tides are high and today’s low tide, which coincided with my morning arrival, was just shy of a plus seven.

As soon…

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Field Journal: Shore Life at Lincoln Park

Earlier this week we visited Lincoln Park in West Seattle. The park lies along the western edge of the city overlooking Vashon Island and the Puget Sound. Part of the park is a bluff full of Pacific Madrone trees with paths down to the beach. We opted to head straight down to the beach where my daughter could wander along the rocky shore. I surveyed the water and we spotted Surf Scoters, a couple species of grebes, Harlequin Ducks, loons, Buffleheads, goldeneyes and gulls. We heard a Bald Eagle chattering but didn’t see it.

The high tide line was full of…

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Field Journal: Sinking Grebes

There’s something interesting about Pied-billed Grebes. They are very small compared to ducks and with their brown coloring they are easily overlooked in ponds. I tend to pay attention to them however and during my 365 Nature Project I witnessed them doing unusual things. One of those thing I watched again today during a visit to Magnuson Park in Seattle. At the far eastern end of the wetlands I saw a couple pairs of ducks in the pond. The first, a Mallard pair suddenly leaped out of the water in a frenzy of wings and in the swirling…

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Field Journal: Snow in Seattle

It’s not very often we get snow in the city of Seattle, and even less often we get multiple inches. But last night it started snowing and it was still coming down this morning. I measured four and a half inches on our deck rail early this morning. It continued coming down off and on throughout the morning and the trees were covered in snow. All the bare branches had a thick layer of white and a slight tap would bring it crashing down. The neighborhood kids were out immediately and everyone migrated to our park where there’s a…

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Field Journal: Short-eared Owls

Sometimes we all need a moment of peace, but sometimes a whole day is even better. Near the end of my 365 Nature Project I took a few solo adventures to visit locations around the Olympic Peninsula and rather got a taste for it. On Saturday, with the weather warmer and no rain in the forecast, I decided on a spontaneous adventure for a day of peace. The news has been overwhelming over the last week and with my four year old being particularly challenging at the same time, I needed a break. I’d been hearing quite a bit about…

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Field Journal: Magnuson Park Beavers & Hooded Mergansers

Friday was another sunny day and slightly warmer than it has been and I wanted to take advantage of the weather while my daughter was at school. I decided to visit Magnuson Park and as I walked along the trails I noticed buds on different plants were already large and swollen, some already with green poking out. The low angle of the sun always makes an interesting perspective because while I could stand in the sun and pretend it’s spring, the low rays betray the season. Backlighting is quite beautiful this time of the year as the sun shines…

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