Monday, March 9, 2015

The Unexpected Expedition (with birds)

On my office bulletin board, prominently displayed, is this postcard:

And sadly, it is so often true, which is why I am antisocial and introverted and A Highly Sensitive Person who disdains travel because when you go to most places, they have Other People in them, and besides, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson, "What's the point of going out?  We're just going to wind up back here anyway."

Thus, we come to Saturday's Unexpected Expedition.  It was 60 and sunny and Michelle and I decided to take Winston and Truman to the beautiful beach with the stunning views at Golden Gardens Park.  Alas, when we arrived, the parking areas were a madhouse -- jammed with sports cars and young people and all sorts of stuff that seemed to be a car show.  There was no chance of going to the beach, and we were most disappointed.  And we had dogs who were bored.  Michelle suggested continuing down the road a couple of miles to the Ballard Locks.  Neither of us had been there for probably twenty years and goodness, it was lovely!

We first wandered along paths through a botanical garden (not much in bloom but still very pleasing) to wear out the dogs before going to the locks proper to watch boats pass through and a train cross the bridge.  Then on the opposite shore, we discovered a Great Blue Heron rookery that must have had 35-40 nests way up in the trees:

I'd been vaguely aware of this via Tweeters, our regional birding listserv, where someone usually reports on the rookery maybe once or twice a year, but had no idea it was so big.

Nearby, a woman was tossing bread to the gulls, so I snapped a few over-exposed shots to practice taking photos of birds in flight as they came in to get food:

So we wound up having a perfectly nice walk with the wonderful bonus heron nests, thanks to those odious people filling up Golden Gardens Park.  Later, I found out they were there illegally as part of some ridiculous group that modifies sports cars to be incredibly low to the ground and other bizarre things, and they had no event permit, and just made a practice of taking over parks for their meets.  On one of their web sites, the meet at Golden Gardens was cited, and one comment read, "It was great until the cops turned up."  !!!!!  And they've been gathering there every first Saturday in March since 2010 -- I was incensed, and wrote a scathing email to the parks department.  Scathing, I tell you.  

I await their reply.


  1. Good for you! I must comment, however, that for an "antisocial" person you do get around. I mean, you are off on the urban sketching thing, and always going to a party at somebody's house, and you seem to have Michelle or someone else with you when you go to the beach or wherever. Hmmm. I'm what I consider to be antisocial as well, but I have a great time at poker games, which are very social. Guess we're just weird. Have a great week! TJ will be one month old on Friday believe it or not.

    1. As my friend Tina explained it to me, she doesn't like "people", just select individuals -- ones that she knows well or, if new, that she has some kind of mutual interest with. So maybe we're not antisocial so much as *very selectively* social.

    2. Yep I think you nailed it with "very selectively" social. Have you heard anything in reply to your scathing email?

    3. In fact, the parks dept replied a few minutes before your comment, with this:

      Yes, that was an illegal gathering. Any event held in a park must have a permit. In that way we can weed out inappropriate events and, for the events that are permitted, we can try to mitigate negative impacts. This group didn't apply for a permit and would not have been given one if they had--as you say, it's unfair for the parking lot to be filled so that others don't have access to the park.

      If Seattle Parks staff either witness or receive a tip-off about an unpermitted event or other illegal activity, we can contact Seattle Police. It sounds like the Police did get there eventually. We regret the inconvenience in the meantime!

      Apparently they don't monitor the site I found, so I will be certain to point it out to them!

  2. I echo Dewey; you don't seem so antisocial to me--certainly you engage with the world far more often than I do but then, online is turning out to be too much engagement for me. Mostly, however, I'm surrprised you didn't chide the woman for feeding worthless calories to the gulls. But I'm glad you had so fine an outing. I may write up the adventure that was the Mary Theler Nature Preserve one of these evenings. -m.

    1. Yes, but as noted in my reply to 7Dewey, I engage the world and its occupants in a carefully considered fashion. No oblivious idiots need apply. And like you, I vastly prefer real over virtual, so obviously we should meet up in reality more often! As for the obliviots who feed bread to birds, I've given up that battle, as it generally means engaging with people in an unpleasant manner and the gulls can take it. The ducks are more concerning; luckily I don't encounter duck-feeding as often.

      Yes, do write up the Theler outing!