Full moon rising orange over Seattle last night ... the real moon, not Photoshopped into the background.
In this regenerated, re-planted Bolsa Bay, bird calls and murmurs bubble up from the terns, Sanderlings, scoters, avocets, grebes, plovers, pelicans, sparrows, Willets and egrets who call this haven home. The marsh is barely shielded from Pacific Coast Highway, with just a parking lot and thicket separating refuge from roadway.
Four of our six Seattle neighborhood Ospreys returned last week from the long haul of their migration. If you haven't seen the tracking maps showing Osprey travel routes, take a look at this website: Osprey migration maps. For these studies, Ospreys are fitted with light satellite transmitters that fall off after two to three years. In the time before the Ospreys lose the transmitter, researchers gather data about their final destinations and their various stops along the way.
It begins with a twig in the bill and the throaty croak of the swamp. They're creatures of the marshes, the Great Blues, now on ascent to a season in the trees where nests incubate eggs, and where clumsy young legs will soon dawdle on branches until they get their wings.
Raptors Are the Solution (RATS) grew from the grassroots of my home turf -- Berkeley and the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area). The mission of RATS is to get anticoagulant rodenticides off the shelves. And, in affiliation with Earth Island Institute, they're working with cities and counties in California to adopt resolutions which discourage the sales of these dangerous products.
The kingfisher rises out of the black wave like a blue flower, in his beak he carries a silver leaf. I think this is the prettiest world -- so long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
Sea lions are being targeted for their catch of salmon at the dam. These marine mammals are often blamed for the problems which have, at their genesis, human technologies or practices: we built the dams, we destroyed wetlands, over-developed, polluted rivers, over-fished and thus depleted salmon numbers to these endangered levels.
The bluffs above South Beach at Seattle's Discovery Park are layered records of glacial history. There's Vashon Till (mixed rocks, sand and silt), Esperance Sand, Lawton Clay (a blue-grey clay and silt) and Kitsap Formation sediments.
Ethan Janson, a local windsurfer from Three Tree Point (south of Seattle) noticed that harbor seals were hauling out on a surfboard he'd tied to a buoy out in Puget Sound. He hooked up a GoPro camera, remotely, and captured this footage of a seal pup trying desperately to haul out on the slippery board.
In a pinniped world where there's no strong, visible distinction* between she and her male, I err on the side of feminist acknowledgement and call her "she." She, Phoca vitulina, with vibrissae (whiskers) so sensitive they send signals of fish to her seal brain. And she, who can plunge 300 feet and stay for a quarter hour, contracting her blood vessels and quelling her pinniped heart.