West Seattle, Washington
(Photo courtesy Center for Whale Research: Mom J16 and newborn J50)
After heartbreaking losses this year in Puget Sound’s orca pods, good news – a baby! Here’s the news release shared by Orca Network:
This afternoon Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research confirmed seeing and photographing 42-year old J16 (Slick) with her newborn baby – now known as J50!
During an encounter off the south shores of North Pender Island in Canadian waters, Ken discovered J16 with her newborn calf, only a day or two old, snuggled in her slipstream and looking healthy and energetic.
No other female has given birth at over 42 years of age in the four decades of demographic field studies of the Southern Resident orcas. J16 was not expected to be carrying a calf due to her advanced age.
Researchers probably won’t know the calf’s gender for many months, until they are able to see and photograph the calf’s ventral markings.
The Southern Resident community was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2005, after dropping in population to only 78 members, but had recently lost a pregnant female, J32 Rhapsody, bring their numbers down to only 77 members. This birth brings the So. Residents up to 78.
Most of J pod was seen on December 24 west of Orcas Island, but J16, known as Slick, and her family were not among them. Then on December 26th, the Orca Network Sightings Network received a photograph of J16’s oldest offspring, 23-year old J26 (Mike), and another orca off the north end of Lopez Island, indicating that J16 was probably nearby, because maternal families remain in close proximity their entire lives.
9:09 PM UPDATE: We hope to add a photo when Orca Network releases one; in the meantime, you can see several on the ON Facebook page. Also, thanks to West Seattle wildlife watcher/photographer/writer Trileigh Tucker for tipping us to the happy news even before we got the news release.
9:28 PM UPDATE: Added a Center for Whale Research photo of mother and calf, republished with permission. You can see half a dozen others on the center’s website.
(WSB photo from New Year’s Eve 2012 at Highland Park Improvement Club)
One more mention – if you’re looking to stay close to home on New Year’s Eve/Day, you have options, and most of them are listed in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which we’ve been updating all season long as usual, starting in mid-November. (Each day, while adding updates, we also remove what’s already happened, so you don’t have to wade through expired info.) From the Not-So-Silent-Night Parade (all welcome!) to bar parties to special menus to Polar Bear Swims to scenic walks- and then some – check out the listings. And if your business/organization/etc. has special plans that AREN’T in our guide yet, it’s not too late for us to add them – please e-mail the information to email@example.com ASAP!
3:45 PM: Update on the water problem mentioned earlier in our daily traffic watch:
SW Admiral Way westbound lane closed at SW Spokane Street; Seattle Public Utilities performing an emergency repair on water service line:
One westbound lane of SW Admiral Way, at SW Spokane Street (underneath the bridge), will be closed while Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) crews make an emergency repair to a water service line. SPU expects the lane to be reopened by 9 pm this evening.
9:13 PM UPDATE: As of less than an hour ago, the crew was still working and the road was still wet; in addition to the lane closure toward the bottom of the Admiral Way hill, access to Admiral via westbound Spokane St. under the bridge was closed off. We’ll be checking the scene in an hour or so (please let us know if you see it reopen sooner) and will also check it for the morning commute since it’ll be well below freezing tonight.
11:55 PM UPDATE: Crews were still working at the scene as of our return visit a short time ago. Looks like it has the potential to be treacherous for the morning commute but rather than speculate, we will check back before starting our daily traffic/transit coverage ~6 am and will include an update on what it’s like and whether you might do better to consider an alternate route.
(WSB photos unless otherwise credited)
One more way to see wildlife in West Seattle – the display currently on view in the window at Twilight Gallery and Boutique in The Junction. Twilight’s Tracy Cilona called our attention to its unusual nature (so to speak), and we stopped by for photos.
Elijah Evenson is a Seattle-based sculptor who combines the aesthetics of a natural history museum with the concept of surrealism. In 2004 he studied sculpture at Gage academy of Fine Art and went on to study at the Seattle Sculpture Atelier in 2007. He currently has a studio at the Inscape building in the international district where he works in a variety of mediums both large and small.
The Survivors Exposition is a large-scale diorama in homage to the animals of the Pacific Northwest, featured in our window gallery for the month of December.
(Photo provided by Twilight)
(From the artist): “Every day that I live in the northwest, I fantasize about the way things were here one hundred thousand years ago. I have always felt a strong connection with the mountains in Washington, the beautiful balance of the very rich and peaceful environment. The animals that live here are elegant and yet apprehensive. There is special quietness that most of the animals share as they listen to the strong sound of the wind blowing through the trees and the rush of the rivers. Through these sounds, the soul of the mountain can be heard. The Coyote, the Elk, and the Falcon all have their own harmonies to sing. When I was in the redwoods, I came upon an elkâ€™s skull that had been buried into a tree. The poor thing had its horns caught up in the branches until the tree eventually ate the carcass whole. Buried in the trunk was the memory of the elk. What survived was a monument of itself. This is my monument to the spirits of the forest.”
Twilight is on SW Alaska just west of California SW, and open until 7 pm tonight.
(Image from SDOT camera on the bridge, saved early Monday – note the dark zone in the center)
If you have driven the West Seattle “high bridge” after dark/before dawn in the past week or so, you’ve no doubt noticed the stretch of non-working lights between Highway 99 and the bridge crest. (And this isn’t the first trouble since the LED lights were installed last year.) After multiple inquiries, we mentioned last Friday that city sources had confirmed Seattle City Light was on it. So why aren’t they fixed yet? We followed up today with SCL, whose Scott Thomsen tells WSB:
After we got reports of the lights being out, we had a line service crew do a patrol and inspect the lights that were out. They determined that the cause for the majority of them was a failed piece of equipment called a breaker/contactor. The part is on order. It is scheduled to be delivered Jan. 5 and will be installed as soon as it arrives. Then, the crew will do another patrol to assess any remaining lights that are still out.
Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
STOLEN CAR: Amanda hopes you’ll keep an eye out for her car – “My car was stolen from the alley of (the 900 block of) SW Holden St between the hours of 2 pm Sunday and 8 am Monday morning. It is a gold 1994 Honda Accord with the license AIB2949.” Call 911 if you’ve seen it.
TWO CAR BREAK-INS: We received a texted report this morning about two cars broken into on 48th SW in the Admiral area. The texter notes, “Lucky for us, we don’t keep anything important in our cars, so no harm, but unneeded this time of year, especially since we have just brought home our son from the hospital just over a week and a half ago.”
ANOTHER CAR BREAK-IN: An unfortunate reminder that car break-ins don’t just happen when everyone but the criminals are asleep – one happened lightning-fast to Lisa near 16th/100th:
I walked into the Autozone store after having my check engine light checked with one of the employees so they could print the results, and within less than 1 minute somebody had smashed my window and grabbed my computer bag. I was parked directly in front of the store, and it all happened in moments…
ADDED: One more 48th SW break-in:
(Monday) night someone went into our Subaru parked on 48 Ave SW between SW Dakota and SW Genesse. I am sure they were disappointed. We don’t leave anything in the car. They did search hard. They went through the whole interior of the vehicle including the side panel compartments in back in the wagon. Completely ransacked it.
Although work on the Arbor Heights Elementary School site has been under way now for more than four months, one more appeal is pending against a city decision allowing the new school to be built. We covered the two appeals that already have resulted in rulings, in May and August; the current appeal, filed in November, has a hearing coming up January 13th, per a notice in this week’s city Land Use Information Bulletin. It was filed by three area residents and district watchdog Chris Jackins, along with his Seattle Committee to Save Schools, who pursued the two other appeals. Here’s the two-page document covering four points, including the fate of two large trees on the edge of the site, and four zoning exceptions that were granted:
(If you can’t read it embedded above, here’s a PDF version.) We believe these are the two Douglas firs at issue (visible toward the upper left of the top photo – the trees between them and the excavator are not part of the site):
Documents related to the appeal are linked on this page of the website for the city Hearing Examiner, whose chambers on the 40th floor of the city Municipal Tower downtown will be the location of the hearing at 1 pm January 13th.
Just can’t get enough of the frosted Olympics. Thanks to Danny McMillin for the Monday photo of 7,743-foot Mount Constance, which we hadn’t previously known has a West Seattle link beyond the fact we can see it from here: Lt. George Davidson, who gave Fauntleroy its current name (the surname of his fiancÃ©e Ellinor Fauntleroy), also named Olympic peaks after members of her family, including sister Constance. But enough about the past – let’s look into the immediate future:
TODDLER STORY TIME: 10:30 am at the West Seattle (Admiral) Branch Library, bring the toddler(s) and listen up! (2306 42nd SW)
GO SKATING! 1-4:30 pm, it’s a special winter-break skating session at Southgate Roller Rink. (9646 17th SW)
LADIES SING THE BLUES: Last Tuesday of the month means that Blues To Do at Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) spotlights female artists, and also happens to be a pajama-party event – 8:30 pm, be there! (6451 California SW)
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Good morning! Second-to-last day of 2014:
*Again today, Metro is on the “reduced weekday” schedule.
*This is the second day of SDOT‘s planned three-day one-lane closure on California Way, between Harbor and Ferry, for retaining-wall work.
*Bonus: Check out the first of the two new Water Taxis – we spotted the photos in a small, unannounced slideshow on the Water Taxi website early today:
Go there to see more images of the Sally Fox, which will be on the Vashon run when it’s ready to go in 2015; right behind it will be the Doc Maynard, on the West Seattle run. Talking with Greg Lerner of the King County Transportation Department‘s Marine Division earlier this month, we had asked for images of the under-construction Water Taxis, but hadn’t heard/seen anything until stumbling onto this.
11:43 AM: We are getting reports of water on the road along Admiral north of the bridge. Checking on the cause.