West Seattle, Washington
Our two most recent reader reports about West Seattle coyote sightings both included photos:
First, Aimee sent that photo tonight, saying:
Just wanted to give North Admiral neighbors a heads up of a coyote I saw this afternoon. The coyote crossed California heading east on Hill Street. Sorry the picture is not the best, he was fast.
We also had this in queue from Lori‘s Fauntlee Hills sighting last week:
She saw the coyote running through her backyard at 9:15 in the morning and thought it had been hanging around that area for some days.
Wondering what to do if you see one? Best thing to do is to scare it away – coexistence depends on us and them keeping apart – as explained on this state Department of Fish and Wildlife infopage.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a report about one of Alki’s road-crossing river otters; Crispin Garrott saw that one near Duwamish Head around 11 pm Sunday. So we’re reminding you to be careful – as discussed here before, the otters have dens inland and cross the road to go looking for food, among other things. More than a few have been hit and killed. So, especially at night when you might not see them, be careful in the area.
Thanks to Krista Livingston for the photo and report:
This coyote was jumping around, playing in our yard (edge of Schmitz Park) at Charlestown and 52nd Ave SW. I know you get lots of sightings. Thought the neighbors would like to know the coyotes are out day and night.
If you scroll through our archive of coyote sightings, you will definitely be able to verify that. And if you do see one, please remember that the best thing to do for your sake and theirs is to scare it away – as explained in the state’s one-sheet about coexisting with coyotes.
The photo and info are from Robin Lindsey of Seal Sitters – who deal with more than seals:
With the recent media buzz about the gray whale who wandered into the Ballard Locks, Seal Sitters thought it was a good opportunity to discuss the timely manner in which all whale (and other cetacean) sightings should be reported to the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Unless a whale is deemed in danger (such as entangled or stranded), all reports including species and as precise a location as possible, should be emailed promptly to Orca Network – email@example.com.
For whales that are indeed in trouble – or in an area where we would prefer they not be, such as in the Duwamish River or Ballard Locks, please immediately contact the NOAA West Coast MMSN hotline at 866-767-6114 with as precise a location as possible.
Seal Sitters requests that if a whale is sighted along the shoreline of West Seattle, please contact the Seal Sitters Hotline at 206-905-7325 (SEAL) and then email Orca Network. This will potentially enable our first responders to obtain an identification photograph of the whale. Databases are kept by researchers of all whales and identification helps monitor the health of the species.
I have provided a photograph to help for identification purposes showing the distinct profile of a surfacing gray whale, with its trademark mottled gray skin and “knuckles” along the ridge of the lower back. Humpbacks and other whales have a dorsal fin.
Read more on the Seal Sitters’ Blubberblog website.
P.S. And after making the official reports mentioned above, please consider letting us know, too, as whale sightings are news! 206-293-6302 text or voice, 24/7.
Join us for this rare Seattle appearance by renowned whale researcher Bruce Mate. Bruce will demonstrate how his teams use satellite-monitored radio tags to identify critical habitats and migration routes of endangered whales to protect them. His talk will focus on western and ENP gray whales, right whales, and contemporary issues for blue whales during the last few years of warm water as examples.
Bruce Mate is the Director and Endowed Chair of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, and founder of Oregon’s Whale Watching Spoken Here program.
Bruce’s talk is hosted by The Whale Trail, and co-sponsored by Seal Sitters and the American Cetacean Society, Puget Sound Chapter. Celebrate Earth Day by learning about whales!
Tickets are $10 ($5 for kids under 12) – available now at brownpapertickets.com.
It’s been years since our last reader report about an owl attack. This morning, Rose e-mailed this report of what happened while she jogged along Harbor Avenue:
On my run this morning at about 5:20 am on Harbor Ave SW just a bit south of the 7-11 [map] I was attacked by an owl. It is literally that one stretch of Harbor that if you scream no one hears you!
It clawed my head and it looked like it was considering another swipe.
I run that stretch of road every day and have never seen an owl there. So I want folks to be alert that one was there this morning.
ps – it did break my skin and there was a little blood but I am okay. and I was able to finish my run.
Our archived reports include encounters on Bonair in 2010 and in 2011, and, later in 2011, in Lincoln Park. And web searches reveal more than a few reports from elsewhere in the city. The state’s “Living With Wildlife” one-sheet about owls offers explanation as well as advice.
Last night when I got home there was a coyote eating something in my backyard. I beat on the windows and scared it away (for a minute) before it returned to get the meal it had left behind. Unfortunately, it looks like he may have gotten a neighborhood pet, like a tortoiseshell-color cat. Since it was getting dark then, I will check the yard today for any collars or identifying information. Please encourage your readers to keep their pets inside. This coyote is much bigger than the others that seem to visit my back yard on a weekly basis. If anyone has ideas on what can be put down to keep them away, I’d love to know what would do it. I live on the Alki hillside on Lander.
The state’s main advice in the coyote chapter of its “Living With Wildlife” series is to reduce food sources – don’t leave pet food out, let alone pets – as well as scaring them away if you see them, not just with noise, but even with throwing rocks or sticks if within range.
Two sightings your West Seattle neighbors wanted to share:
NEAR MORGAN JUNCTION: Brandon just e-mailed this:
Just wanted to report that I ran into a coyote this morning while walking the dogs, in case it is news. It came out of the alley between Mills and Willow, headed across Fauntleroy and headed down Willow [map] toward Pelly Place. It was around 7:30 this morning. My wife thought that cat owners would like to know.
MID-DELRIDGE: Sunday night, a texter reported a “coyote sighting at 24th and Myrtle [map] – our first sighting in 2 years living here.”
Just because you haven’t seen one doesn’t mean they’re not around – scroll through our archives for years of sightings (many with photos). We share them to be sure everyone’s aware they share our city (among others). Most important thing you can do if you see one is to scare it away – coexistence requires a healthy distance – lots more info on that can be found in this state-produced one-sheet.
Love nature? You can do more than admire it … you can help others learn about and enjoy it. From Seattle Parks:
Live the dream – become a nature guide! Do you love sharing nature with others? Are you interested in learning more about the flora and fauna of Seattle’s many public green spaces and parks? You are the perfect candidate for the Seattle Urban Nature Guide program. SUN Guides participate in 30 hours of training and commit to providing 8 programs a year at Environmental Learning Centers and parklands near schools throughout Seattle.
Seattle Urban Nature Guides provide hands-on learning opportunities for school groups, nature programs for families and adults and Discovery Stations for all throughout the city. Volunteers’ backgrounds are as varied as the students they teach – the common thread is their desire to share nature with the greater Seattle community.
The goal of the Seattle Urban Nature Guide Program is to enhance, promote, and foster appreciation of nature by connecting citizens and students with their Seattle Parklands, by providing educational opportunities for all.
Training begins March 29. Deadline for applications is March 8. For additional information, please contact Penny Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-386–4250, or apply online.
We’re told much of the training is at West Seattle’s own Environmental Learning Center – Camp Long.
Thanks to Jim Bodoia for the underwater photo and video we’re sharing as a Sunday afternoon “extra.”
He explains, “I was lucky enough to run into a couple of Pacific Wolf Eels off Alki, not too far from our Liberty Statue … We call them ‘eels’ but they’re actually very long fish (Anarrhichthys ocellatus). I’m fairly certain that the tan one [seen in the video] is a young female. At first she just poked her head out and then she joined me for a swim. The blue one [top photo] is a bit older and didn’t want to come out and play.” Learn more about wolf eels via the Seattle Aquarium website.
After so much relatively good news for Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales over the past year or so, some sad news tonight: Their newest calf is missing and presumed dead, the Center for Whale Research announced tonight:
“After an extended encounter with all members of J-pod on February 25, 2016, Center for Whale Research reluctantly announces that the newest member, designated J55, is missing and presumed dead,” said senior scientist Kenneth Balcomb.
J55 was first documented by NOAA Fisheries killer whale researchers on January 18, 2016, in Puget Sound. While exact maternity was never established, the calf was documented swimming in close proximity to both J14 (estimated to be 42 years old) and her daughter J37, a 15 year old mother of one (J49 born in 2012). It is also possible that J55 was the first offspring of J40, a 12 year old, and the youngest daughter of J14.
Prior to February 26, members of the federally endangered Southern Resident killer whales were last seen by Center for Whale Research (CWR) affiliates on January 19, 2016 when Mark Malleson encountered some members of J-pod in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and was able to photo-document fourteen of the whales (including members of the J14 matriline) despite the fact that the pod was widely dispersed across the strait and in less than optimal sea conditions.
“While J55 was not photographed on that day, it is the Center for Whale Research’s policy to wait to announce the loss of an individual whale until a thorough survey of the entire pod can be undertaken, yesterday provided that opportunity,” said CWR Research Director, Dr. Deborah Giles.
“Although the loss of any calf is a blow to the Southern Resident killer whales and a setback to the struggling population, it is not entirely surprising that one of the ‘baby boom’ calves did not survive its first few months; as many as 50% of newborn calves do not survive their first year. Nevertheless, the loss of this calf underscores the need to recover the whales’ primary prey base – Chinook salmon – if the Southern Resident population of whales is to survive and thrive,” said Giles.
Two wildlife sightings just in via text (206-293-6302 any time):
-Whale spotted off Alki about an hour ago – not an orca – the texter thought it might have been a gray whale; Orca Network had word of a humpback off Manchester (right across the Sound) early today. Here’s a handy guide to species ID, from The Whale Trail.
-Coyote strolling the sidewalk “on 48th between the intersection of Beach Drive and Lincoln Park Way and Graham.”
(WSB file photo of Jeff Hogan presenting Killer Whale Tales at a local school)
Want to know more about our local orcas? Here’s your chance. Jeff Hogan from West Seattle-headquartered Killer Whale Tales – who is often the first to share the word when orcas are visiting – has an invitation for you:
West Seattle residents – you’re invited to a special night out with Killer Whale Tales, a grassroots nonprofit that’s been hard at work for 12 years right here in our neighborhood of West Seattle.
Killer Whale Tales is empowering youth to protect Puget Sound by educating them about our beloved orca population. Our program brings environmental science directly into the classroom, at no cost to schools. In the past 10 years we’ve reached 100,000 students!
Join us Saturday, February 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at C & P Coffee for a unique opportunity as an adult to immerse yourself in the same experience our kids have in the program! Founder Jeff Hogan will deliver his interactive presentation and guests are invited to learn about and identify the Southern Resident killer whales that call Puget Sound home. It’s an exciting time to talk about our orcas – as our local pod has welcomed eight babies this year!
Come relax, have a drink and connect with your neighbors! Event is free but donations are welcomed. RSVP at this link.
If you want a Facebook reminder, here’s the event page.
5:22 PM: Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for sharing her newest work – results of a dive in the “Alki Junkyard” area on Saturday. She says, “It is spring underwater with clusters of eggs everywhere.” Take three minutes to see for yourself!
P.S. The “Junkyard” area is off the west end of the public beach/promenade – approximately 64th SW.
ADDED 9:04 PM: More from Diver Laura:
Yesterday on our dive, Lamont pointed out a sea star to me and was surprised at how excited I got.
The sea star may be a large Leptasterias specimen, one that i have not seen previously in 25 years of diving at the site (that doesn’t mean they were not there, just that I didn’t see them). It is unclear how this might relate to the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome other than they may have been in hiding or always eaten by the bigger predatory stars. A cool thing about Leptasterias is that they are brooding sea stars, and if this one is female we may get to see her babies!
You can learn more about this special sea star here, at Chris Mah’s amazing echinoblog!
If you are a regular WSB visitor, you’ve seen many incredible wildlife photos by Mark Wangerin (including one just this morning). Again this year, he donated his images for a West Seattle Wildlife Calendar to raise money to help students at Chief Sealth International High School, where he used to teach. Laura Robb from Mark House Publishing, which made the calendars, sends the photo of Mark presenting the check for the proceeds to Sealth students and teacher Heather Griffin, along with this update:
It’s official! This year the 2016 West Seattle Calendar, with Mark Wangerin’s fabulous photos, sold out its run of 500 calendars and made a profit of $4,000 for Chief Sealth International High School.
Thanks to West Seattle retailers, student salespeople, teachers, and many, many individual purchasers, the students have had opportunities to expand and enrich their learning about the environment. The whole 9th grade class was able to participate in a hands-on project about water quality in the Duwamish River, and another group will be able to attend the environmental leadership conference, WAGIN, held this year at Ingraham High School.
Among the very helpful retailers were J.F. Henry, West Seattle Nursery, Emerald Water Anglers, West Seattle Thriftway, C&P Coffee, Page 2 Books (in Burien), and Capers. Also, LaFarge North America purchased several dozen calendars to support the sale.
Thanks to Steven for sharing that photo, taken around 2:30 pm from a condo window in the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW, looking at the hillside behind the building.
Not necessarily applicable when you’re viewing from inside your home, but remember that the best thing to do if and when you see one is to try to scare it away, for its sake as well as yours. Read more in the State Fish and Wildlife Department’s “Living with Coyotes” guide.
Where else have West Seattleites seen coyotes? Almost everywhere. Check our archive here.
2:30 PM: Just got this report via text, and the Orca Network has a report too – orcas in Elliott Bay, likely closer to downtown than West Seattle. Let us know if you see them!
4:08 PM: We had no luck but Amy Shuster sent the photo we’ve just added, taken from the Bainbridge ferry – thank you!
We’re using that photo with permission of NOAA Fisheries–West Coast, which just reported late today that its researchers found another baby with J-Pod in Puget Sound: “Using photos taken by the researchers, the Center for Whale Research confirmed this is a new calf, designated J55. The calf was in close proximity to both J14 and J37, so we don’t know who the mother is just yet, and it may take a few encounters before we know. The calf seems to be just a few days old and in good condition.” NOAA had sad news too – what appeared to be a dead newborn calf spotted with J31, a 20-year-old female they say “has never successfully calved … It is estimated that at least 50% of calves do not reach their first birthday, so unfortunately this sad event is not unusual.” Before J55, the last orca-baby announcement was five weeks ago, when we got word of J54. This one is the ninth calf for the Southern Resident Killer Whales in a little more than a year.
(Added: Coyote photographed by Heidi near 37th/Hinds on Saturday)
4:25 PM: In recent days, we’ve published reports of coyote sightings in the greater Admiral area. Two more today, and they mention a coyote attacking a cat and possibly a chicken. One report is from 42nd/Bradford/Charlestown area, another from 44th and Spokane, no pictures with either so we don’t know if it’s the same one. One chicken is missing, possibly fleeing from the coyote – we’ll add the chicken’s photo shortly, as well as a photo of a coyote seen in the 37th/Hinds area on Saturday.
4:39 PM: Before we could even add the photo of “Big Mama” the chicken, we got another text saying she’s back and all the chickens are OK after all. Our coyote-sighting reports are archived here, newest-to-oldest.)
6:36 PM: A neighbor texted to say the coyote’s still in the area and headed toward California SW on Spokane at last report. If you still haven’t read this despite all the times we’ve linked it – scroll to the “Coyotes Too Close For Comfort?” advice. Trying to scare it away remains the best thing you can do for it as well as for potential prey in the area.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After a year full of new hope for survival of Puget Sound’s resident orcas, what will 2016 bring?
On the first Thursday of the new year, The Whale Trail invites you to its next Orca Talk in West Seattle – this time looking at the ecology of the “transient” orcas who visit our waters; registration for the 7 pm presentation on January 7th at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) is open now.
If you’re interested, you’ll want to get your tickets fast, since the last Orca Talk of 2015 brought a sold-out full house. Good news is, it’s on video:
NOAA researcher Brad Hanson spoke at C & P on December 3rd to talk about the Southern Resident Killer Whales’ baby boom. At that time, the count stood at six in less than a year, and as if that wasn’t exciting enough, two more babies have been announced since then.
— Dave Stockman (@dbstock) December 31, 2015
ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:07 PM: That’s video just tweeted by Dave from SW Spokane Street, another midday sighting. We’ve published several reports recently (archived with seven-plus years of coyote news on WSB), but video is relatively rare, even in this time of ubiquitous video capability. Our customary link: What you should know about coyotes, including how to increase the chances we and they can keep a healthy distance from each other. And if you want it a bit more bluntly – here’s our 2013 story on what a federal wildlife agent wants you to know.
P.S. Coyote reports often inspire us to check around online to see what’s happening in other cities. We just found this notable report from Los Angeles, where a federal researcher – described, however, as “unfunded” – has been using GPS collars to track urban coyotes.
ADDED 9:45 PM: Another clip – this time from Ted Johnson, recorded at a bluffside home in west Admiral at sunset:
11:14 AM: Just got a text from Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales that orcas are reported northbound between Lincoln Park and Alki Point – and per Ron‘s tweet, below, they are apparently toward the north end of that range:
— Ron Creel (@roncreel) December 31, 2015
Sometimes they change direction, stop or slow – let us know if you see them on this beautiful sunny last day of 2015! (206-293-6302, text or voice, is always the best way to reach us when something is happening *now*.)
11:42 AM: Update from Jeff – the aforementioned area is where he’s seeing them, between Alki Point and Bainbridge, headed north. But he advises viewing from a higher elevation; he’s been watching from the blufftop spot at Seattle/Sunset in North Admiral.