2011 in review, second installment: West Seattle wildlife

December 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm | In 2011 in review, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 13 Comments

(June 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
This year, we’re reviewing 2011 topic by topic, instead of the traditional everything-lumped-together or month-by-month review. On Monday, we began with the 10 most-commented WSB stories of the year … and this afternoon, we’re continuing with a favorite WSB topic: West Seattle wildlife. So much of our coverage is thanks to your reports, with and without photos – aside from the Steller’s Jays in the backyard, wildlife seems to elude us. So we start this review with a huge THANK YOU FOR SHARING! Now – the categories of most note, listed alphabetically, with two bonuses afterward:

COYOTES

(February 2011 photo by Karen, at West Seattle Golf Course)
We published 38 stories with reader reports about coyote sightings this year (some included more than one sighting). They certainly evoke mixed sentiments – sometimes admiration, sometimes anger, since there is no question that some pets, particularly cats, have been eaten by coyotes – which eat rodents and reptiles too – while yet others are worried they might eventually attack humans (no documented cases in West Seattle in recent years). All coyote reports published here, dating back to 2007, are archived (newest to oldest) here.

WEST SEATTLE ORCA SIGHTINGS

(August 2011 photo by Craig Savey, taken from Harbor Island)
With a newborn J-pod whale this month, Puget Sound’s resident orcas now number 89. That’s still such a small number … but every new one is cause for hope they won’t go extinct. And every sighting, particularly here in metro waters, is cherished. So many West Seattleites are working to help protect and save them, like Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail, which now has interpretive signs on state ferries; Jeff Hogan, whose Killer Whale Tales takes their story to schoolchildren; and Mark Sears, the Lincoln Park-based researcher who can often be spotted right out among the whales. Lots of great photos and video in 2011, especially this clip from Vashon:

By 2012, we resolve to get orca sightings their own category, so we can point you to an archive, instead of the search box, to find past stories (we published more than a dozen sighting reports this year alone).

SEAL PUPS PROLIFERATE

(Photo courtesy Robin Lindsey)
As of last week, West Seattle-based Seal Sitters had already dealt with more than 50 pups on local shores – a record year. Their role and responsibilities expanded this year, too, as did their territory, as they now respond to beaches further north, too.

SNOWY-OWL SURPRISE

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen publications around the region covering the unexpected appearance of snowy owls, usually seen further north. But WSB’ers were ahead of the curve on these birds, thanks to Mark Campbell‘s photo/report a month ago.

And aside from the trends, we had to include these:

BONUS LOOK BACK: THE RACCOONS WHO ALMOST MADE THE ‘MOST-COMMENTED STORIES’ LIST

In July, we got a tip about a backyard raccoon rescue carried out by a West Seattleite named Patrick – one of his friends told us about seeing the story told via Facebook. Patrick subsquently agreed to let us share his photos and story, among the year’s most memorable.

BONUS PHOTO ENCORES

(April 2011 photo by David Hutchinson)
So many great photos this year – just scroll through the “wildlife” coverage category to see them all! – but we had to give these two a home-page encore – David’s parent-and-child Canada geese, and Trileigh Tucker‘s hooded mergansers in courtship mode:

Thanks yet AGAIN for all the great sightings, photos, even ID help when WSB’ers send photos asking “what is THIS?” … looking forward to 2012.

More 2011-in-review reports to come between now and Saturday night! See the first one here.

13 Comments

  1. There is a surprising diversity of wildlife here, considering we live in a city of more than half a million.

    Wonderful photos.

    Can anyone tell me what kind of waterfowl is in the last picture? Some kind of beautiful duckies? They’re stunning.

    Comment by transplantella — 5:38 pm December 27, 2011 #

  2. I thought I wrote it in the copy? Hooded mergansers.

    Comment by WSB — 5:58 pm December 27, 2011 #

  3. Right, you did. I missed it.

    Comment by transplantella — 6:01 pm December 27, 2011 #

  4. My fave category! There are so many great sitings and photos shared that enrich our experience here at home; even if we aren’t lucky enough to see it ourselves, we learn what is out there and when to look for it. How awesome is that?!?

    Comment by westseattledood — 6:15 pm December 27, 2011 #

  5. Wow!!! What fantastic photos, especially knowing that they were all shot right here in our little ‘burg!

    Comment by add — 6:24 pm December 27, 2011 #

  6. Great photos, would love to see this collection of West Seattle wildlife pics expanded as more people take photos too. Cool to see.

    Comment by Mike — 7:20 pm December 27, 2011 #

  7. Fantastic pictures! Love seeing them show up in the blog.

    Comment by Maggie — 7:47 pm December 27, 2011 #

  8. Awesome! Thank you to all of the contributors! Missing for me are the amazing underwater videos of octopus and babies (unless you are going to have another category for that).

    Comment by Amy — 11:50 pm December 27, 2011 #

  9. The octopus babies video was unfortunately from 2010 so it didn’t qualify (it made news again this year when somebody picked it up nationally, and that was why we mentioned it). Had to stick with the trends, plus a few great videos … anyone who has just started reading WSB recently, I highly advise following the link to the wildlife coverage archive and scrolling through all the amazing stuff! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:52 pm December 27, 2011 #

  10. I loved the story of the rescued racoon!

    Comment by Cowpie — 9:35 am December 28, 2011 #

  11. Thanks to you and to the many photographers who shared their beautiful pictures. I even like Canadian geese better after seeing the picture of mother and baby. What a wonderful place we live and share with the wildlife. Hopefully, we can live together in harmony.

    Comment by Jo — 11:19 am December 28, 2011 #

  12. Beautiful! Great idea for a positive news report. So refreshing. Love our little and BIG critters.

    Comment by awesome — 10:40 pm December 28, 2011 #

  13. I had never watched that orca video. Those people were truly lucky to witness such a sighting!

    Comment by Bianca — 9:59 am December 29, 2011 #

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