West Seattle Blog... » Wildlife http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:34:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Seal Sitters signing up volunteers one last time for this year’s pupping season http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/seal-sitters-signing-up-volunteers-one-last-time-for-this-years-pupping-season/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/seal-sitters-signing-up-volunteers-one-last-time-for-this-years-pupping-season/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 04:34:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280364

(2013 photo by Robin Lindsey)
If you’ve ever considered volunteering with Seal Sitters, there’s one more chance this season:

Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network’s final training for the 2014 seal pupping season will take place on August 9th. There will be no further trainings until late fall due to time constraints on volunteers.

Last year’s record-breaking pupping season stats in West Seattle (from late July’s first response to a newborn seal pup to the end of the year’s weaned pups) included 163 responses to marine mammals, including 66 positively identified seal pups. This 2014 season has begun unusually early in West Seattle with responses in June to one full lanugo seal pup “Luigi,” a second premature pup, and full-term “Junebug” who is now in rehab at PAWS Wildlife Center.

TRAINING DATE:
Saturday morning, August 9, 2014
10 am – 12 pm (doors open at 9:30 am; plan to arrive early to register and receive paperwork – training begins promptly at 10)
Alki UCC Church 6115 SW Hinds, Seattle
Please RSVP on blubberblog for the training to assure seating.

*Note to parents: All children accompanying adults must be able to sit quietly through an almost-two-hour presentation (with break).

Unlike most marine mammal stranding networks, we encourage children to participate in Seal Sitters – supervised at all times, of course, by a parent or guardian. We are so proud of our amazing and dedicated volunteers who are on duty rain or shine – we hope you will join us!

A multi-media presentation will illustrate our educational work in the community and the unique challenges of protecting seals and other marine mammals in an urban environment. Included in the training is an overview of NOAA’s West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network and biology and behavior of seals and other pinnipeds (due to time frame, supplementary off-season sessions will include more marine mammals of Puget Sound). For additional questions and info or to be placed on a contact list for future training opportunities, please e-mail us.

Contact info is here.

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West Seattle wildlife sighting: White crow (or albino?) http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-wildlife-sighting-white-crow-or-albino/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-wildlife-sighting-white-crow-or-albino/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:39:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280036

Thanks to Bob Venezia for sharing the photo – he reports seeing that crow near Lincoln Park before noon today. Is it albino, or “just” white? Experts explain there is a difference. We learned a bit about non-black crows back in 2008, when “Leucy” the leucistic crow appeared in this WSB story (that bird died the next year on our record 103-degree day). Has anyone seen this bird before?

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West Seattle coyotes: Late-night Gatewood sighting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-coyotes-late-night-gatewood-sighting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-coyotes-late-night-gatewood-sighting/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:31:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=279992 First coyote report in a while. It’s from Chris:

At 11:45 PM I saw a coyote in the middle of the California-Southern intersection [map]. I was 1/4 block away from it, on the east side of California at Elmgrove. I got a pretty good look at it. I was with my dog and it stopped and looked at us and turned around and went west on Southern towards Northrup. I crossed the street and looked down Southern and it turned around and looked at us again from mid block then continued west on Southern past Northrup. It looked like a healthy young one. I was glad it was wary of us.

Making sure we and coyotes stay wary of each other is a major recommendation of experts – here’s what else the state has to say.

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Seal-pup season on local beaches: What to do if you see one http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/seal-pup-season-on-local-beaches-what-to-do-if-you-see-one/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/seal-pup-season-on-local-beaches-what-to-do-if-you-see-one/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 17:13:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278159

That little harbor seal photographed by Adem at the Fauntleroy ferry dock last weekend wasn’t technically a pup, Robin Lindsey from Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network explains, but rather a yearling. However, the season of seal births IS now under way, and if you see a little seal on a local beach, it’s most likely a nursing pup and it’s critical that you keep your distance so its mom won’t be scared away when she comes back for it. It’s also important to call Seal Sitters – 206-905-7325 (SEAL) – so they can help.

Earlier this week, rescuers had to intervene after a nursing pup got stuck in the rocks by Duwamish Head; the story is on their Blubberblog website. That pup, nicknamed Junebug, was the third spotted on West Seattle shores already this season, which Robin says is the earliest on record.

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West Seattle wildlife: Eagles on a crane; coyote on Beach Drive http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-wildlife-eagles-on-a-crane-coyote-on-beach-drive/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-wildlife-eagles-on-a-crane-coyote-on-beach-drive/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 05:18:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277890 Two wildlife notes from the inbox tonight – Karen, who lives in The Junction, reports three eagles spent at least 10 minutes on the 4030 California construction crane, “perching, circling, landing again and again … much chirping and activity.” They looked like two adults and a juvenile, she says, perhaps flight lessons for the younger one. Eagle sightings in West Seattle certainly aren’t rare, but this is the first on-a-crane report we’ve received.

In the early evening, Phyllis and Jeff reported, “Coyote sighting – about 50-60 lbs and wandering through our yard in the 5000 block of Beach Drive. Looks like he/she has been searching for food, as our backyard was all dug up. Usually don’t see them during the daytime! Our kitties are inside!” (We have actually had more than a few daylight reports over the years. This info from state wildlife experts explains what to do if/when you see one, day or night.)

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Underwater video: State of the sea stars near Seacrest http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/underwater-video-state-of-the-sea-stars-near-seacrest/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/underwater-video-state-of-the-sea-stars-near-seacrest/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 17:11:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277843

Sea Star Survey 6/26/2014 from Laura James on Vimeo.

From “Diver Laura” James, that’s the latest underwater look at the state of sea stars (aka “starfish”) at Cove 2 near Seacrest. Earlier this week, we featured video from a CCTV report on the sea-star dieoff, with Laura among the interviewees, in her role as a “citizen scientist.” The newest report was published last night on SeattleTimes.com (WSB partner), with a West Seattle focus, though our area is far from alone in experiencing the epidemic. Meantime, Laura summarizes what she observed in the video (from a dive on Thursday) as:

I’d gotten reports of baby stars showing up so figured it was time to go take a peek. It is really only one species that is showing what is hopefully signs of recovery (they still have to make it to ‘large’ size before it counts) the Evasterias or “mottled star”. Only a few pisaster (the purple ones) and zero pycnopodia (sunflower stars).

A reminder – if you spot sea stars on the beach or in the water, your observations can help too: sickstarfish.com.

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Video: Newest close-up look at the ‘sick starfish’ epidemic http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/video-newest-close-up-look-at-the-sick-starfish-epidemic/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/video-newest-close-up-look-at-the-sick-starfish-epidemic/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 18:25:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277361

Scientists still haven’t figured out what is causing the mass die-off of sea stars (aka “starfish,” though they’re not fish) in our waters and many other places along the Pacific Coast. The clip above, shared by West Seattle’s “Diver Laura” James, is the latest in-depth look at the crisis. Laura (and her dad!) are interviewed as part of the report, which was produced for China’s English-language network CCTV (you also can view it on the CCTV website here).

Meantime, as noted here earlier this month, your observations are important if you see starfish, living or dead – republishing what Laura told us during the recent low-low-low tides: “There’s a variety of ways to share the information – optimally through the surveys linked here. If people don’t have time to fill out a form if they could just use #sickstarfish [social-media hashtag] or manual entry on www.sickstarfish.com or even just e-mail me at ljjames@mac.com, it would be a massive help.” She is helping, as you’ll see in the CCTV story, as a “citizen scientist.”

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West Seattle wildlife: Stop and smell the … dandelions! http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-wildlife-stop-and-smell-the-dandelions/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-wildlife-stop-and-smell-the-dandelions/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 04:46:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277054

It’s not just nuts that will stop a squirrel in her tracks. Trileigh Tucker shares the photos:

I encountered this incredibly photogenic squirrel foraging along the south part of the Lincoln Park beach. She appeared to be a nursing mother; maybe eating the dandelions somehow provides special nourishment to provide for her young?

Trileigh writes about nature and publishes more of her photos at naturalpresencearts.com.

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Sick starfish: If you see any sea stars this weekend, here’s what to do http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/sick-starfish-if-you-see-any-starfish-this-weekend-heres-what-to-do/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/sick-starfish-if-you-see-any-starfish-this-weekend-heres-what-to-do/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 21:27:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276525

The tide’s coming back in again after the mega-low -3.3 at noontime. But it’ll be almost that low tomorrow, and if you went out on the beach today – or plan to do so tomorrow – “Diver Laura” James has a request for you: Everyone studying the sick starfish is hoping for a new round of surveys with this weekend’s low tide, so if you saw any starfish, alive or dead, there’s a variety of ways to share the information – optimally through the surveys linked here, but Laura adds: “If people don’t have time to fill out a form if they could just use #sickstarfish [social-media hashtag] or manual entry on www.sickstarfish.com or even just email me at ljjames@mac.com, it would be a massive help.” She was planning to do a walking survey near Seacrest, to reach divers and others in the area.

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West Seattle low-tide sights: Sizable squid on Alki http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-low-tide-sights-sizable-squid-on-alki/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-low-tide-sights-sizable-squid-on-alki/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 19:01:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276287

12:01 PM: “Washington’s squid are generally less than a foot long,” says this state Department of Fish and Wildlife page. Well – not this one that Carrie Ann photographed during this morning’s low tide. She says, “Looks to have a bit of wear and tear from hitting rocks and scavengers pecking at it, but still impressive to see up close.” Humboldt squid? Reminiscent of this one five years ago.

2:46 PM UPDATE: In comments, Lynn says it’s believed to be a “robust clubhook squid.”

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Premature seal pup’s short life on Alki: Did you see its mom? http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/premature-seal-pups-short-life-on-alki-did-you-see-its-mom/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/premature-seal-pups-short-life-on-alki-did-you-see-its-mom/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 06:45:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276218

Wildlife advocates tried but were unable to save the life of a prematurely born seal pup that appeared on the Alki shore on Monday. Robin Lindsey from Seal Sitters Marine Stranding Network tells the story of “Luigi” in an update on Blubberblog, and adds in a note to WSB:

Yesterday was a terribly sad day for all of us that looked after Luigi, estimated to be only a day old when reported on Alki Monday. For the past two days, onlookers were so considerate and caring and understood the urgency about keeping the area free of disturbance in hopes that mom would return. There are a number of reasons that this pup might have been abandoned on our shore – not the least of which is that the mom may have died during the birth. We are hoping that anyone who might have noticed an adult seal on shore Monday at Alki or nearby – or one offshore that appeared to be in distress – will contact us so we might help unravel this mystery.

It is no mystery, however, that if people and dogs are too close and scare away a mother seal, she will often not return for her pup if she feels threatened. As always, dogs continue to be a problem on our public beaches and put wildlife at risk.

In the photo here, you can see the long lanugo coat that indicates she was born a month prematurely, a very difficult hurdle for survival. To our knowledge there has not been a live lanugo birth in West Seattle before – certainly not in the almost 8 years I have been doing this. Pupping season is just now getting underway in South Puget Sound rookeries and full-term pups generally start being born in late June. Usually, we see our first pup in West Seattle in early July, but the height of the season is September and October as weaned pups disperse from the rookeries.

Usually, a pup turns up on shore just to rest while its mom is out looking for food. If you see one – as Robin mentions, the season is about to begin – or if you have information on the circumstances of Luigi’s birth, call 206-905-SEAL. Robin also adds a vital reminder: “Only authorized members of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network can handle marine mammals. It is against the law to touch, move or feed them.” (It really IS a network, including volunteers like SS – the most recent NOAA map with contacts is here.)

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Happening now: Low tide in West Seattle, with volunteer naturalists at 2 beaches http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/happening-now-low-tide-in-west-seattle-with-volunteer-naturalists/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/happening-now-low-tide-in-west-seattle-with-volunteer-naturalists/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 18:52:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274784

Just before noon, the low tide will be out to -1.9 feet – great for beach exploration. As we’ve been noting for the past few days, the Seattle Aquarium‘s volunteer beach naturalists are back on duty.

Part of the corps, John Smersh (who you might know from longtime WSB sponsor Click! Design That Fits in The Junction), shared the photos from Constellation Park south of Alki Point. The naturalists are there and on the Lincoln Park beach by Colman Pool until 1 pm today; here’s their schedule for the rest of the week, and on into summer. In just two weeks, you’ll see some even lower tides, bottoming out at -3.3 feet on June 14th, lowest it’ll get this summer.

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From Seal Sitters: Alki cleanup ahead; downtown benefit http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/from-seal-sitters-alki-cleanup-ahead-downtown-benefit/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/from-seal-sitters-alki-cleanup-ahead-downtown-benefit/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 23:09:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274338 Two ways you can help West Seattle wildlife via Seal Sitters:

(WSB file photo from one of the previous Seal Sitters-co-sponsored cleanups)
JUNE 14 CLEANUP: Get trash off Alki Beach, before it gets into the water and into/onto seals and other marine life. Join Seal Sitters and co-sponsors for a beach cleanup 9:30 am-12:30 pm three weeks from today, Saturday, June 14th. One of the co-sponsors, PAWS Wildlife Center, will talk about the threat wildlife faces from beach debris, and the difficulty of rehab for rescued wildlife. This cleanup is in honor of Sandy the seal pup, rescued and rehabbed by PAWS and then found dead in abandoned netting, and of the gray whale that died in The Arroyos, then was found to have a stomach full of plastic debris. Bring your own gloves if you can, and meet at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (61st/Alki Ave SW) at 9:30 am June 14th – RSVP via the link in this announcement on Seal Sitters’ Blubberblog.

HOIST A MUG WITH A HELPING HAND: Seal Sitters has also announced that Rock Bottom Brewery downtown (1333 5th Avenue) has offered to raise money via donating all proceeds from $2 pints of a specific ale fold next Tuesday night (May 27th), 5-8 pm – if you’re downtown, stop by! Details on Blubberblog.

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Video: Fauntleroy Creek salmon-release season, midway through http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-fauntleroy-creek-salmon-release-season-midway-through/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-fauntleroy-creek-salmon-release-season-midway-through/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 03:48:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=273953

This year’s salmon-release season at Fauntleroy Creek is at the midpoint, reports watershed/creek steward Judy Pickens: “We’ve hosted some 350 children so far, who have introduced an estimated
900 coho fry into the creek.” She shared that short video clip, recorded by volunteer Peggy Cummings during the KapKa Cooperative School‘s salmon-release visit. That’s volunteer Dennis Hinton helping the students in/by the water, and mostly off-camera, that’s the voice of KapKa staffer Jamie Shilling, leading the singing and drumming. This week and next, nine school visits remain before this year’s round of releases is done (here’s our coverage of the season’s first one).

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West Seattle coyotes: Two sightings, three animals http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-coyotes-two-sightings-three-animals/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-coyotes-two-sightings-three-animals/#comments Sat, 17 May 2014 18:18:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=273715 From the WSB inbox, two coyote reports – first one sent this morning by Debbie:

Just saw a coyote heading east on 108th Street toward 35th [map] in Arbor Heights.

And this note from Russell is about a Wednesday morning double sighting:

Just wanted to warn our neighbors in Gatewood that my wife spotted two very healthy coyotes in the intersection of SW Monroe Street and 41st Avenue SW [map] at 3:45 am (Wednesday morning). After a few minutes they headed south on 41st.

Our standard footnote: We share coyote reports on occasion in the interest of being educational; believe it or not, we still hear from and about people who don’t realize coyotes live in the city, or think you’ll only see them next to greenbelts, or at night, or … It’s in the coyotes’ interests and ours that we keep a wary distance apart; this info from the state explains how (including this key advice: if you see one, try to scare it away).

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