Field Journal: Say’s Phoebe at Magnuson Park

A day without rain, or so the weather forecast promised, so I decided to make a morning of it and head to Magnuson Park after dropping my daughter off at her forest preschool. On my way it started to rain. I’m rarely caught off-guard with the wrong jacket, but tired of month after month of wearing my raincoat, I had opted for a lighter jacket. Fortunately the rain had nearly stopped by the time I arrived at Magnuson Park and I was treated to blue skies punctuated with rolling black clouds. None of the clouds dropped more rain on…

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Field Journal: First Day of Spring

The weather forecast promised another dry day, our second in a row, for the first day of spring. With more rain coming until at least Thursday, I decided to make the most of the dry and hopefully sunny morning and spend the first day of spring at Magnuson Park. It was still quite chilly, only in the 40’s when I arrived in the morning, but the sun was shining through a thin layer of clouds. Immediately, signs of spring presented themselves with the blooming Red-flowering Currant just inside the entrance to the wetlands. In all my visits to Magnuson Park…

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Field Journal: Dog Whelks at Alki

For my daughter’s fifth birthday she decided she wanted to visit Alki Beach to look for shore life. We checked the tides and decided to go there at lunch time and head down to the beach as the tide ebbed away after we ate. The tide was high still, barely any beach was visible, but we wanted to get out before the rains arrived. Fortunately, even during the high tide there’s still plenty to see and we started wandering along the beach. I spotted a large number of Brant Geese in the water, probably somewhere between 30-40 up and…

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Field Journal: Late Winter at Alki Beach

Despite being a certified pluviophile, this long, gray winter (and autumn for that matter) has been starting to get old. Seattle has been a city in monochrome for months and while I’ve found many noteworthy things this winter, I’m starting to hope for a bit of sun and color. But as a true northwesterner, I never let the weather stop me from heading outside and yesterday I packed my bag and headed for Alki Beach with the low tide. Naturally, as soon as I started out, the rain began. At least it wasn’t a downpour like we’ve seen so…

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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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