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).
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).
Another honey-bee swarm in West Seattle today, this time in North Admiral, this time on private property, where Meredith made that sign to let passersby know about the bees. A beekeeper from the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association “swarm list” was expected within a few hours, but this time, the bees found their own new home, Meredith reports. While handling the Westwood Village swarm we covered yesterday, beekeeper Clay Cook had explained that they might hang out in a temporary spot like this for 15 minutes up to 2 days, until one or more “scouts” return with word of a perfect new home – so apparently in this case, they found one.
12:47 PM: On our way to check out multiple reports of a bee swarm at Westwood. We mention it in advance because beekeepers have asked us to mention as often as possible, please do NOT panic, do NOT try to poison them – swarming is natural, especially this time of year, and the best thing to do is to contact somebody on the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association‘s swarm list to come remove them – if you can’t just wait them out. Here’s our recent story about all this.
1:31 PM: We are here and a beekeeper (above, in hat) is too. He says this is a relatively small group, maybe 20,000. They break off from a hive and hang out 15 minutes to 2 days until a scout brings back word of a suitable new spot. He will hang out after collecting these so the scouts come back. Photos shortly.
2:01 PM: Photos added. The beekeeper, Clay Cook (who is on this year’s list of PSBA beekeepers to call about swarms), says it’s home turf for him since he works part-time at Westwood Village. He said that bees swarming like this generally would have left their original hive not far away, so any of the “scouts” that scattered while he was up there and didn’t make it into his box would likely find their way back to that nest.
It was heartening to see people stopping and remarking how cool it was to see the bees, instead of getting scared and bolting (of course, it’s understandable if you’re allergic; one passing driver slowed down and then, when informed that the buzz was about bees, said she needed to get out of there since she is).
The eagle’s not always regal. (Click the image to see the full-size view.)
Thanks to Christopher Frankovich for sharing! Your caption?
What looks to be a record-setting month of salmon-fry releases at Fauntleroy Creek has begun. On the warmest day so far this year, Roxhill Elementary students came to the creek after school today to release salmon they’d been raising:
Longtime volunteer Dennis Hinton was there to assist the students in carefully transferring the little salmon into the creek:
Creek steward Judy Pickens has drawn up the schedule for the next four weeks and tells WSB, “We expect to see at least 600 students this year in a record 20 releases.” Then in the fall, there’s another round of volunteer activity in the annual watch for returning salmon – last year was pretty much a bust, while the year before set a record.
(Thanks to Shannon for sharing this photo via the WSB Facebook page)
2:54 PM: If you missed seeing them earlier this week – those two orcas are back in the area again, just passing Alki Point moments ago and headed south. Thanks to the tipster who sent word of this; the Orca Network Facebook page also has sightings reports, and mentions that NOAA has been tracking them, so you might be able to spot them by looking for a research boat. Please let us know if/where/when you see them!
ADDED 10:21 PM: Thanks to Trileigh Tucker for two more orca photos – above and below this line.
(Added 8:55 am: Photo by Carolyn Newman)
Lots of orca-watching going on this morning, from Beach Drive to Elliott Bay, where the newest reports are from – likely the same two transient male orcas who have been visiting the area for the past several days. Photos shared via Twitter:
— Jonathan Evans (@jhewiz) April 23, 2014
— Melinda Simon (@melindasimonsea) April 23, 2014
8:38 AM: Found out they started the day off West Seattle pretty early – James was watching them off Fauntleroy in the 6 am hour! Meantime, another photo tweeted from the Water Taxi vicinity (Seacrest Boathouse/Pier, 1660 Harbor SW, in case you are new in the area):
— KellyD (@kdbokay) April 23, 2014
— Russ Walker (@russ_walker) April 23, 2014
9:36 AM: Thanks again to everyone who has tweeted, e-mailed, texted/called (206-293-6302 any time), Facebooked – speaking of which, Melinda posted video of the orcas off Beach Drive; not embeddable, unfortunately, but here’s a direct link to see it on FB.
A wild sight outside West Seattle’s PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) store on Monday – a honeybee swarm! (Thanks to K for the photo.) This reminds us that it’s the season for a reminder – If you spot a bee swarm, don’t panic about them, don’t poison them, don’t even spray them with water – check out this info from the Washington State Beekeepers’ Association, and then this page from the Puget Sound Beekeepers’ Association, which includes a link to this year’s list of beekeepers you can call to remove the swarm (which is what we’re told PCC did – called a beekeeper).
P.S. While checking those pages, we discovered that the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association’s monthly meeting is tonight (not in WS, but in case you’re a beekeeper and not already involved with them, thought we’d mention it given the timing).
P.P.S. Learn more about bees – and celebrate their vital role in our ecosystem – at the second annual West Seattle Bee Festival on May 4th; info here.
10:27 PM: Thanks to Kate Giannaros for sharing that photo of one of two orcas she reported seeing in Elliott Bay this afternoon. Lise also reported seeing one from the Water Taxi. Two transient male orcas have been seen around the area in recent days. P.S. See a whale? That’s breaking news – text or call our 24/7 hotline, 206-293-6302 – thank you!
ADDED 7:11 AM TUESDAY: Someone just did exactly that to report a sighting in The Arroyos this morning.
8:02 AM: Another text – northbound orcas by Alki Point.
8:57 AM: Guy and Kate (who shared the photo above) have both reported in recent minutes that the orcas are back in Elliott Bay! (And thanks to Carolyn Newman for the photo above this paragraph, also from the sighting yesterday.)
Don’t touch marine mammals! Reminder from Seal Sitters after troubling report of Lincoln Park incidentApril 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 23 Comments
From Seal Sitters‘ Robin Lindsey:
Seal Sitters’ hotline received a call last evening that two women (with illegally
off leash dogs on the beach) at Lincoln Park picked up a harbor seal pup and moved the animal. By the time we received the call the pup had left the beach. Apparently there were a number of people who told the women it was the law to stay back and not touch the pup – information which they disregarded. The pup was close to our beach signage at the north end of the Park which also has the number of our stranding hotline.
Seal Sitters would like to remind people that all marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act which prohibits touching, feeding, moving and disturbance. Violations such as the one reported last night can be prosecuted by NOAA Office for Law Enforcement punishable with a substantial fine and, if the infraction is severe enough, jail time.
I personally find it hard to believe that an approximately 7 month old pup would allow anyone to pick him up unless he was sick or injured. This is all the more reason the women should have called Seal Sitters’ hotline at 206-905-7325 (SEAL) in case the animal needed to be transported to rehab for stabilization and treatment.
We have had an unusually quiet off season with very few weaned pups coming ashore. They are more often using the offshore platforms to rest – which is obviously much safer from harassment by people and dogs.
Harbor seal pupping season is just now beginning on the outer coast of Southern Washington and Northern Oregon. Please be aware as you walk coastal beaches and if you see a pup alone on the beach, stay back and give the animal space so the mom will not abandon her newborn.
Seal Sitters thanks the residents of West Seattle for their support in helping to keep marine mammals safe in our area. If you see a seal pup on the beach, please call our hotline immediately.
You love skyline-from-Duwamish-Head photos. You love bird photos. Now – thanks to Craig Howard – two in one! Couldn’t wait until tomorrow’s daily preview to share it, so while we work on a few more news stories, here it is. Craig was on the beach at low tide, and “a murder of crows sent this eagle down right in front of me. He hung around until the crows went away. Didn’t seem to mind me at all.”
(2011 photo of orcas in Elliott Bay, by Craig Savey)
The Whale Trail is hitting the road! West Seattleite Donna Sandstrom‘s vision of helping killer whales with education all along their routes is coming true with an upcoming tour – and you’re invited to the local sendoff at 6:30 pm next Thursday:
The endangered southern resident orca travel as far south as Monterey, CA. In May, The Whale Trail is headed down the Pacific Coast, too – we’re adding new Whale Trail sites in Monterey (Point Lobos), Santa Cruz, and San Francisco (Point Reyes)!
In May we’re also presenting noted author and marine conservationist Erich Hoyt in a series of talks around The Whale Trail, from Saturna, BC, to Monterey, CA, – nine locations in two countries and four states in 20 days – Orca Tour 2014!
Our vision of building awareness about the orcas throughout their range is quickly coming true – we need your help to make it happen!
Join us for a celebration and informal fundraising event for the Whale Trail, featuring light refreshments, no-host bar, and music by DJ Joe Ross!
–Music from or about California, from the Beach Boys to Los Lobos.
–Seal Sitters and “Diver Laura” James will also be there!
Thanks for your support these past six years, West Seattle. Help us celebrate, and take a giant next step for the orcas. Tickets available now at brownpapertickets.com. You can also buy tickets (at BPT) for our upcoming presentation with Erich Hoyt, Sunday, May 18, at McCaw Hall.
(Photo by Gary Jones, added 11:20 am)
9:34 AM: On Monday, we had a report of southbound orcas (and a photo too – thanks to the unidentified texter!); now, there’s word of orcas headed northbound along the east side of Vashon, which means they might soon be visible from here. Thanks to Alisa for letting us know about the report, which appeared on the Orca Network Facebook page.
9:46 AM UPDATE: Donna Sandstrom from The Whale Trail just called and reports “three to five” orcas in this group, approaching Lincoln Park.
11:20 AM UPDATE: Just back from a trip along Beach Drive and Alki – didn’t see the orcas ourselves, but Gary Jones saw them in the Alki Point vicinity and shared his first photo, above (thank you!).
(Thanks to the person who texted us this photo from the Bainbridge ferry this morning!)
Multiple reports this morning of orcas back in the area (thanks to Barb for the first report) – we’ve heard of southbound whales sighted near Bainbridge and Blake Islands. They’re reported to be closer to the west side of Puget Sound, so you’ll need binoculars. Please let us know if you spot them!
Two coyote reports to share tonight – one sent this afternoon by an Arbor Heights resident who says her neighbors don’t believe they come out in the daytime. Check the WSB archive of coyote sightings, some with photos – they do! And/or, click ahead to read today’s report (and another one that had been in queue):
We’ve heard time and again that orca fans would like to hear about “possibilities,” not just sure-bet sightings, so: Alisa Lemire Brooks, posting on the Orca Network Facebook page, has been tracking a group for the past few hours, currently off Bainbridge and southbound until they stopped for a snack. Apparently it’s some of the transient orcas (the ones that eat other mammals, unlike the resident orcas, which eat fish) who’ve been visiting lately. They’re reported to be on the west side of the Sound, so not likely visible without binoculars. We’d love to hear from you if you see ‘em (text or call 206-293-6302) – thanks!
(4/16/14 UPDATE: Full house for the training – no more room. Seal Sitters says thanks for the support!)
(Photo courtesy Robin Lindsey)
It’s volunteer work with a view. If you’ve been thinking about helping Seal Sitters, you can sign up for the group’s next new-volunteer-training session, two weeks from today – 10 am-noon Saturday, April 26th at Alki Bathhouse, with a short on-the-beach session afterward if weather permits. The announcement from Seal Sitters‘ Robin Lindsey:
On Saturday morning, April 26th, Seal Sitters will be holding a special training for those wanting to protect marine mammals along the shoreline of West Seattle and the Duwamish River. 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 Western Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network and biology and behavior of seals and other pinnipeds (due to time frame, supplementary sessions will include more marine mammals of Puget Sound).
You’re asked to RSVP ASAP if you’ll be there – the link is on this page of the Seal Sitters’ site.
(Photo added 2:30 pm, by Maris Avots)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:53 AM: Just got a call from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail – and she says orcas are passing Beach Drive right now, heading “slowly south” – she’s watching from the Me-Kwa-Mooks area and says they are VERY close to this side. Please let us know if you see them! Photos appreciated too (we’ve assigned someone to go look, but whales seem to put on their cloaking devices when we are in the vicinity).
6:28 PM: In addition to the photo added above at midafternoon, this one is courtesy of Christine:
She and her toddler watched from Lincoln Park’s Colman Pool vicinity. Thanks again for sharing photos, comments, and other updates!
Don’t just watch whales – find out about their history and evolution, at The Whale Trail’s next West Seattle eventMarch 14, 2014 at 9:00 am | In Fun stuff to do, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 1 Comment
(Protocetus; image provided by The Whale Trail)
How did whales get to be whales? That’s the next installment in what we can safely say is West Seattle’s most popular lecture series – though it’s never just a lecture! – organized by The Whale Trail. And you’ll want to get your ticket now for “Biology & Evolution of Whales: The Historic Return of Mammals to the Sea,” presented by Jim Kenagy, Curator of Mammals, Emeritus, Burke Museum, and Professor of Biology, Emeritus, University of Washington. He’ll speak at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm Thursday, March 27th:
Why do whales and dolphins have finger bones in their flippers? Did you know that today’s cetaceans are descended from ancestors who once lived on shore, and then returned to the sea?
Join us on March 27 to hear more about this amazing chapter in evolution.
This is the third in a series of Orca Talks 2014 hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle. The program also features updates from “Diver Laura” James (tox-ick.org) and Seal Sitters. Buy tickets ahead of time and we’ll save you a seat!
You can do that by going to this brownpapertickets.com page. (Kids are free!)
Michelle e-mailed to say Seal Sitters spent the day watching that little harbor seal on the Beach Drive shoreline near Harbor West Condos (about two blocks south of Alki Point), and she wanted to send out “a heads-up so folks who walk their dogs off leash on the beach don’t end up in a bad situation for both the dog and the seal.”
Michelle got her photos via a 200mm lens, so though it looks close up, she was quite some distance away. P.S. Thanks also to Carrie Ann for heads-up about a pup at Don Armeni on Monday – we didn’t get a chance to write about it, but she said Seal Sitters were on that case too.
1:37 PM: We’ve heard from a few people about that sighting off Lincoln Park – and just got the photo from Paul via the WSB Flickr group. He and others wondered if it’s in distress; we pointed them to Seal Sitters – our area’s and Paul reports they suggested it might be a “rafting” sea lion, which, now that we’ve seen the photo, we would tend to agree. Paul points out the apparent injury on the sea lion’s fin. We’re not sure what if anything can be done to check on whether it’s in distress, but did want to publish this to share some information for anyone else who notices it – the photo makes it clear it’s not a whale, which some had suspected. (Here’s a 2011 story featuring photos of sea lions rafting and fishing, also off Lincoln Park; rafting is also explained toward the end of this page on the Seal Sitters website.)
11:59 PM: See comments for a vigorous discussion and more information, including the correction that this was “sailing” rather than “rafting.”
All 7 goslings with their parents were hanging out near the Water Taxi dock today. Photo shows everyone trying to crowd under mom’s wing on this cool February afternoon.
This makes the seventh year David has shared gosling photos here. Quick selection from the archives:
(Photo by Lloyd Moody)
No salmon, no Puget Sound resident orcas. Find out how the fish are doing at The Whale Trail‘s next event, just announced:
The Whale Trail Presents: Salmon Recovery Efforts in Puget Sound
Presentation by Jeanette Dorner, Puget Sound Partnership
Salmon are the key to the recovery of the endangered southern resident orcas. How are the salmon populations of Puget Sound doing, and what can we do to help?
Jeanette Dorner, Puget Sound Partnership, will discuss the current health of salmon populations in Puget Sound, what kinds of challenges salmon face for their continued survival, and what people are doing to recover salmon populations to healthy harvestable levels in Puget Sound.
Jeanette is the manager of the Ecosystem and Salmon Recovery Program at the Puget Sound Partnership and coordinates the regional partnership to implement the federal ESA Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan.
Join us on February 27 to learn more about this iconic species.
Buy tickets ahead of time and we’ll save you a seat! And hurry – this will likely sell out.
This is the second in a series of Orca Talks 2014 presented by The Whale Trail. The event also features updates from Laura James (tox-ick.org) and Seal Sitters, and photography from Judy Lane.
Don’t wait to get tickets – it’s usually a sellout crowd.
(Click image for larger view)
Dennis Cheasebro shared that photo of what he believes was a humpback whale, spotted off West Seattle today:
Photographed at 1:34 PM, February 16, 2014, from the Lincoln Park bluff. It was breaching, tail flipping and swimming fast southward, close to shore. I’ve never seen a humpback before, but the small, dull-pointed dorsal fin on top of a low hump seems to be diagnostic.
8:05 PM: Our experience with humpbacks is limited to their distinctive flukes, through binoculars, in Alaska. We’ve looked around at various whale-sighting sites and no other reports of this today; the species-ID page on The Whale Trail‘s site seems to affirm Dennis’s ID. Any other confirmations/opinions/sightings?
9:04 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Kelly for pointing out, in comments, photos published to TWT’s Facebook page not long after we published this – so, humpback it is!
Seal Sitters has been receiving calls about a deceased California sea lion on Alki Beach. We want to take this opportunity to update your readers.
This animal carcass washed ashore last month on a private beach along Beach Drive SW. Seal Sitters responded, documenting and marking it with non-toxic paint at that time. Since then, a succession of high tides has moved the carcass and it is now near the west end of the Alki promenade. Marine mammals can transmit disease, so please keep kids and pets at a distance. Seal Sitters has been in contact with Seattle Parks & Recreation and Animal Control concerning this animal and arrangements for removal are being made. We will continue to monitor this situation.
The California sea lions that forage and rest in Puget Sound are largely males and can reach 8 feet in length and weigh up to 850 pounds. Females rarely migrate to our waters. Healthy sea lions are extremely mobile on land and can be dangerous. Never approach or disturb live sea lions.
We’d like to remind all WSB readers that Seal Sitters is the NOAA designated marine mammal stranding network for West Seattle. As such, we respond to all calls regarding live or dead marine mammals on our beaches. There have been calls directly to NOAA and the Coast Guard concerning this animal and those calls are simply referred back to us by the respective agencies.
Seal Sitters MMSN thanks the West Seattle community for all the help protecting marine mammals. If there are any questions or to report marine mammals on the beach, please call our hotline at 206-905-7325.
One of the region’s most dedicated orca watchers, Alisa Lemire Brooks, recorded that video while watching the pod of transient killer whales sighted in central Puget Sound on Saturday, in the Edmonds area, thought at one point (as mentioned here) to be headed southbound for a while. For orca fans, we have to share this video in case you haven’t seen it already, particularly because of one moment – around 3:10, one of the orcas breaches, fully out of the water, and since they weren’t too far offshore, it’s a much better view than usual. The “transients” are also known as Bigg’s killer whales, and have one big difference from the “resident” orcas – they eat marine mammals such as seals and sea lions; the residents eat fish. Hat tip to the Orca Network, whose Facebook page is where we found the link to Alisa’s video.
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