Monday, July 31, 2017

Shorebirds on Shorebird Count Day

Every Saturday Connie has been conducting a shorebird count at the Montlake Fill to document the effects of the mitigation/restoration project there.  Last weekend she counted nothing but the resident Killdeer, and she thought perhaps the migrating ones had all passed through.

So I went down this past Saturday without any high expectations -- perhaps just more Killdeer.  And the first shorebird I saw was, in fact, this delightful Killdeer chick:

But then I stopped by the Main Pond with its muddy bank, and saw this:

A Lesser Yellowlegs!  Haven't seen one there in ages.  And it had company:

A Least Sandpiper...and more company:

Long-billed Dowitchers--quite a nice little collection!

So perhaps shorebird migration isn't over yet.

Unfortunately, this coming week the forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s, which is not comfortable here in Seattle where the humidity tends to be higher.  I may be hunkered down indoors for a while.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

It's Not Just Birds at the Montlake Fill

Yesterday morning Truman and I met up with my friend Mary for a stroll around the Montlake Fill.

 It's a slow time of year for the birds, but there were other things to look at.  Tru and I spotted this bunny on our way to meet Mary.

We met up at the Conibear Shellhouse dock.

We admired a frog among the lily pads there.

The main bird attraction was the Osprey nest, of course.

Other than some sandpipers who were too hidden by brush to get photos of, that was the bird highlight of the walk.  We had some other lovely flying things, though -- here is an Eight-spotted Skimmer dragonfly:

And a dragonfly new to me -- after carefully studying my dragonfly guidebook (because everyone owns one of those, right?), I am fairly certain this is a female Blue Dasher.

It was a very pleasant walk in good company with fine things to see.

Later that day I went sketching with Nicole at the Lyons Creek Watershed Preserve in Lake Forest Park.  This is a very small spot which is not very populated.

The creek empties into Lake Washington, and there is a dock from which you can sketch the shoreline.  It's a good 75 feet or more long and the water is shallow all the way to the dock, maybe 1 to 1-1/2 feet, so after drawing this, I took Truman for a wade/swim from the shore to the dock and back.  A great way to cool off.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mostly Dachshunds and a little sketching

On Sunday afternoon we stopped by Cromwell Park in Shoreline for the annual fundraiser for Old Dog Haven, a fabulous rescue organization that focuses on saving older dogs.

The large black lab mix is Hank, one of Tina's dogs, as are the two little blond ones (Duke and Ginger).  All are older rescues.  The dachshund greeting them belonged to a woman from "Save A Mutt" rescue.  The booths at the festival were for rescue organizations or pet-related vendors who donated part of every sale to rescue groups.

They also hosted a short walk, a costume contest, and dachshund races.  Because we'd been out at Carkeek Park earlier for low tide exploring, we missed the dachshund races (maybe I can train Tru for next year).  But there were lots of dachshunds around, and I tried to encourage Truman to meet a few.

He was not exactly enthusiastic about this idea.

Even the one who could have been his twin did not elicit much of a response.

I want a second dog that looks just like the longhaired red one here:

Speaking of second dogs, Truman still sometimes acts as if he is searching for little Chloe, the foster we had for six weeks.  I got an update yesterday from her adoptive family, who report that she is doing fantastic -- she spends hours and hours playing with her new sister Bea.  But they renamed her BooBoo!  Honestly.

Oh well.  She does look content.

On Monday Tina and I went sketching at Volunteer Park, where the dahlias were in bloom.

There was a cool old tree remnant there:

The second sketch was of the conservatory.

It was a bit hot out and there is no end in sight to our sunny, 75+ weather for the coming week.  Good thing I'm a morning person -- that's the only time it's cool enough to be outside!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Land of the Moon Snails

On Sunday Tina and I ventured over to Carkeek Park for low-tide fun.

Last month we explored low tide at Richmond Beach, where we saw mostly anemones, crabs, sea cucumbers, and clams.

The Carkeek Park beach had something different.  When I spotted this from a distance, it looked like broken pottery:

But then I saw dozens and dozens of them littering the beach, and they were thin and flexible:

I asked one of the naturalists who educate folks there during low tides, and learned they were egg cases of a creature called a Moon Snail.

The naturalist found an actual, living Moon Snail!

A handy child provided a sense of scale:

That was by far the coolest thing we saw there.

We saw very few anemones -- this was the best one we found:

Meanwhile, the birds were busy plucking up fish:

This gull attracted the unwanted attention of its neighbors:

It tried to fly away with its catch:

After a couple of hours of beachcombing, I took a lunch break on a piece of driftwood which had this lovely view:

Naturally, I had my sketchbook along.

It was a lovely morning for exploring.  For the next low tide we hope to get to Golden Gardens beach to see what might be different there.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More Fun at the Fill

On Saturday morning Truman and I headed down to the Montlake Fill to join Connie on her weekly shorebird survey.  I didn't actually see any shorebirds (migration is pretty much over, leaving just a handful of resident Killdeer, who apparently were hiding).

I did see this bee on a coneflower:

We sat by the main pond for a while, where the Mallards were bold enough to feed right by our feet.

Then we checked on the Osprey family.

The parents continue to add sticks to build up the nest as the chicks grow bigger.

I did two quick landscape sketches.  This is the view of Lake Washington and the 520 bridge -- if there were no clouds, Mt. Rainier would be in the background.

And this is what you see of the UW campus buildings from the Fill.

On the way home we stopped at Magnuson Park so Truman could cool off a bit.

Coming tomorrow:  Moon Snails!