Wildlife 1746 results

The still-roaming guinea fowl, growing-up goslings, and other West Seattle birds

(Photo sent by Kayano)

Almost every day, someone sends us a new photo of the still-roaming West Seattle Guinea Fowl, some still mistaking them for turkeys. So we’re opening this gallery of WSB readers’ bird photos with another mention of them.

(Photo sent by Lorenzo)

They’re not lost – we’ve been told they have a home, from which they are allowed to roam – most often seen in and near The Triangle, including in the street:

(Photo by Lisa Wallace)

As we reported earlier this spring, the Seattle Animal Shelter has tried, unsuccessfully, to corral them (they reiterated that to another reader just today) … Also often seen this spring, Canada Geese and their goslings. David Hutchinson sent this photo, observing that they’re growing up:

Here’s a view of a goose family earlier in the spring, by Angela Gunn:

Also on the shore, James Tilley photographed a Caspian Tern and Crow facing off:

In a more placid moment, this Great Blue Heron caught Benjamin Evans‘s attention:

Jerry Simmons photographed this Steller’s Jay taking time for self-care:

And here’s a Wilson’s Warbler photographed at Lincoln Park by Mark MacDonald:

Thanks to everyone who shares photos – birds, wildlife, breaking news, more – westseattleblog@gmail.com – also note that between galleries like this, we do feature bird photos with some of our daily event lists, so they’re worth a look if you don’t routinely read them!

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Possum on the seawall

Unusual sight on the seawall in the Alki area this morning – a possum! Thanks to Stewart L. for the photo. Nicola also told us about it this morning, and then we heard from local wildlife helper Kersti Muul, who says she’s been to the shore to assess it but it’s moved down to the rocks, has “normal gait” and “is preening,” so it doesn’t seem to be in need of help and will be left alone. Don’t know much about possums (aka opossums)? Here’s the WDFW infopage.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Three Four coyote sightings

6:20 PM: Thanks for the coyote-sighting reports! We’ve received three recently –

Kathleen emailed today to report, “We saw a small coyote in our yard on 39th between Andover and Dakota at 6:30 a.m. this morning.”

-A texter reported two coyotes at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point on Monday.

Charrie saw that one via a security camera on their front porch at 60th/Charlestown on May 24.

This is not cause for alarm but rather awareness, which is why we have published reader coyote sightings from time to time over the past 15+ years – not everyone realizes they’re here living among us (or is it, we among them?). Authorities say the best way to ensure we and they can maintain a healthy distance apart is to not provide food sources – which can include anything from pet food to unattended small pets. Here’s more information on coexisting with coyotes.

ADDED 10:15 PM: Aaron has since sent this video recorded by his parents in Gatewood on Wednesday, a coyote running as a crow chased it:

PHOTOS: 4 low-low tide views of wildlife on West Seattle’s shore

Thanks to Rosalie Miller for the wildlife photos from Constellation Park, during the last in this round of low-low tides. Above, a Painted Anemone; below, a Lewis’s Moon Snail:

Here’s an Ochre Sea Star:

And a Chiton:

Next round of low-low tides will get even lower, with four days of -3.0 (or further) low tides, June 5-8. (Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists will be at Constellation and Lincoln Parks for all of those days.)

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: Baby owl assisted at Lincoln Park

(Photos courtesy Kersti Muul)

That baby Barred Owl was in a bit of a predicament tonight at Lincoln Park. We got a text from someone who said the owlet seemed to have fallen out of its tree, and what should they do? We in turn texted local wildlife advocate Kersti Muul to ask her. She ended up heading to the park and helping the fuzzy little critter.

The folks who originally texted explained this followed a youth-baseball game:

The West Seattle Baseball team Husky Deli Pintos were walking back and a group of kids and parents spotted the owl and were amazed seeing the baby and the mama owl fending off the crows trying to harass them. We probably watched it all for 10 minutes. Thanks for connecting us to Kersti; she went right down and got the owl! She knew right where the nest was. What a neat and sweet West Seattle story!

Kersti tells us she’s hoping the owlet can be returned to its nest quickly.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Here’s what those fishing boats are going after

Thanks to Mary for the photo taken before the morning clouds cleared. As discussed here, the reason for the concentration of boats off west-facing West Seattle is that recreational fishing season is open for lingcod.

From classroom to creek: Salmon-fry release season begins in Fauntleroy

Field trip to Fauntleroy Creek this morning for fifth-graders from Arbor Heights Elementary, the first of this year’s Salmon in the Schools participants to release the fry they’ve been raising in tanks.

It’s been four months since volunteers Judy Pickens and Phil Sweetland coordinated getting salmon eggs from hatchery to teachers so that students could start fry-raising. Over the next month, Fauntleroy Watershed Council volunteers will team with teachers and students for 19 release visits.

Above is volunteer Dennis Hinton, one of those who helped with this morning’s Arbor Heights visit. These sunglasses factored into the event too, but not for the usual reason:

Polarized glasses helped the students see the baby fish in the water after they’re released. They’re part of a growing tradition – last year almost 1,000 people participated in the releases, the most since the first one in 1991. As for the fish, those that survive a year in the creek will head out for salt water next spring.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Watch out for otters

Those two River Otters photographed recently by Theresa Arbow-O’Connor were seen by Anchor/Luna Park on Duwamish Head, not far from water. But otters’ dens are often far enough inland that they have to cross streets to get to them, so this is a reminder for drivers to beware: We received a report of a dead otter by the roadside near the north end of Delridge Way over the weekend. Whether or not it was hit by a driver, we don’t know, but certainly that area near the entrance to the bridge is busy and treacherous. And that area is not as far from the water as you might think, with Terminal 5 and other docks just downhill under the bridge. Otters are often seen crossing Alki Avenue, and several years back, two little ones made it all the way up Fairmount Ravine. So along with everything else to be mindful of if and when you drive – including people on foot and on wheels and in other vehicles – keep an eye out for low-to-the-ground creatures crossing. (Learn more about River Otters via this fact sheet.)

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: 9 new views, and 1 way to help the ones that are migrating

Spring means migration time for some birds, so West Seattle bird-watchers might see seasonal sights, as shown in some of the reader photos we’re spotlighting today. Above are Bonaparte’s Gulls at Constellation Park, photographed by David Hutchinson, who says that’s also where he saw these Brant in flight:

Constellation’s a hotspot for bird viewing – that’s where Jamie Kinney photographed shorebirds including Dunlins and Black Turnstones:

That’s also where Emily Carlston saw this Black Oystercatcher in flight:

Jack Block Park is where Steve Bender photographed these Canada Geese:

At Don Armeni Boat Ramp, Robin Sinner photographed a Heermann’s Gull:

Robin also sent this photo of a White-crowned Sparrow:

In Schmitz Preserve Park, Tony Tschanz happened onto a Crow in the process of construction:

And we conclude with another photo from the Admiral area – John Keatley explains that this Barred Owl “seems to be living in the cedar tree in our backyard. It has been quite active this past week, and we just saw it resting on our shed roof.”

Huge thanks again to everyone who sends bird (and other) photos, which we feature not only in galleries like this but also with some of our daily event lists – westseattleblog@gmail.com – and we also appreciate other information, such as Kersti Muul‘s reminder that it’s Lights Out time to be kind to birds in flight – look how many!

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Elephant-seal sighting

Just in from Kersti Muul: “Male elephant seal off Weather Watch Park. Pretty close in.” If you’re not familiar with it, Weather Watch is the beachfront pocket park at Beach Drive/SW Carroll (across from La Rustica). You can see what elephant seals look like in this sighting report from 2021.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: What you need to know about why dead sea lions aren’t quickly removed from beaches

Even with a sign like that in view, people have asked about a dead sea lion that’s been in view on the beach at Constellation Park for a while. Though removal is not in the scope of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, we asked what they know about its status. That led to this explanation:

Many of you have seen Seal Sitters volunteers guarding vulnerable young harbor-seal pups resting onshore throughout the day. We also have the responsibility of responding to reports of deceased marine mammals that wash up on our local beaches.

When our hotline receives a report of a marine-mammal carcass on a public beach, a Seal Sitter first responder goes to the location. They take measurements, photos, and perform an external examination. This information along with the species type, degree of decomposition, and GPS coordinates will be entered into NOAA’s online national database. It is very important for scientific purposes that these deceased animals be reported. In some instances, a necropsy (animal autopsy) can be performed, depending on its condition and available resources. Seattle Parks and Recreation is always notified of the carcass’s location.

It is important to understand that NOAA’s stranding network, of which Seal Sitters is a member, is not responsible for the removal of these carcasses. Please note that it is illegal for anyone to push a dead animal back into the water once it has landed onshore. Towing and releasing or sinking requires a valid permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Private property owners have a couple options. They can bury the carcass above the high tide line. They also can arrange for removal of the carcass by a company such as QAR (Quiet Animal Removal) for a fee.

Almost all California Sea Lions in our area are males and can reach up to 7.5 feet in length and weigh up to 700 pounds. Heavy equipment is required to remove them from the beach. Seattle Parks has the equipment to do this, but the carcass needs to be in an accessible location. Two CSL carcasses are currently on West Seattle public beaches. They have been reported to Seal Sitters and we have passed their location along to Seattle Parks, but they remain on the beach because they cannot be reached with the appropriate equipment. Seal Sitters’ first responders marked each carcass with biodegradable paint and placed informational signs nearby. The paint is applied for ID purposes, so if it floats to a different location on a high tide, it does not get double-counted. The signs inform passersby that the network is monitoring these dead animals’ locations and cautions against touching them for health reasons.

Seal Sitters wants to thank the West Seattle community for their support, and please continue to report both dead and live cases to our hotline at 206-905-7325.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Celebrate International Beaver Day at Ounces on Sunday

That’s one of the resident beavers in West Seattle’s Longfellow Creek (video sent by Manuel in March). Want to know more about these wild neighbors? Here’s an advance look ahead to a one-of-a-kind event this weekend in West Seattle: Sunday afternoon, you can celebrate International Beaver Day with locally based Beavers Northwest at Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW). Part of the proceeds will go to the nonprofit. And all of the fun goes to you! Arts and crafts, DIY beaver trivia, live music with Sue Quigley. Full details here; be there 2-5 pm Sunday (April 7); Sue performs at 3:30 pm. Ounces is all-ages.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Bunnies and Bald Eagles

Four wildlife photos for a sunny Sunday. Advance warning, the last one – which might be described as a Bald Eagle with its Easter brunch – is a bit graphic. But first, two bunny views – first, from Jerry Simmons:

Second, an extreme close-up from Steve Bender:

We also have two views of local Bald Eagles. This juvenile was photographed by David Hutchinson at Alki:

And an anonymous reader saw this one on SW Raymond, dining on what they said was an Opossum:

As always, thanks for the memorable photos! We also include a photo every day with our event list – sometimes wildlife, sometimes simply neighborhood sightings, or sunrise/sunset scenes – westseattleblog@gmail.com is where to send them.

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS; First gallery of spring!

On this first weekend of spring, we have a dozen more reader-contributed bird photos to share! Thank you very much to all the photographers who send their finds. Above, from Mark MacDonald, a Common Goldeneye and Horned Grebe off Lincoln Park. Below, a Red-necked Grebe seen by Matthew Olson off Duwamish Head:

Marina Clough spotted this Cormorant on a piling:

Steve Bender described this Mallard as a “dancing duck”:

Near Lincoln Park, Sarah Chadd photographed two Downy Woodpeckers drawn by a feeder:

Jon Anderson caught two Band-tailed Pigeons hanging out:

Another duo – Eagles soaring over Alki, photographed by James Bratsanos:

One more Eagle – though it’s a distant view, the location caught David Feit‘s attention, at 35th/Morgan:

Back to trees – Samantha Wren sent this photo of a Black-capped Chickadee in White Center:

Jamie Kinney found this Varied Thrush in his back yard (you can hear its call via this short video):

And two Sparrows from Erin B. JacksonGolden-crowned and White-crowned:

Thanks again to the photographers – and a reminder, we also publish bird photos with some of our daily event lists on WSB every morning, so if you’re a bird-photo fan, be sure to check those too! westseattleblog@gmail.com is the best way to send us photos; for breaking news, texting our hotline at 206-293-6302 is OK too!

VIDEO: Fauntleroy Creek’s salmon-smolt research gets a boost from Eagle Scout project

(Photos/video by Tom Trulin)

Shown above is the first outbound salmon smolt of the season spotted in one of Fauntleroy Creek‘s new traps this morning, and released to saltwater moments later. This year’s smolt research will use traps designed, built, and installed as part of an Eagle Scout project. Judy Pickens of the Fauntleroy Watershed Council tells the story:

Every spring, coho smolts leave Fauntleroy Creek to feed in Fauntleroy Cove before heading farther afield for their two years in saltwater, and every year since 2003, volunteers have been counting them as they leave.

This annual research requires designing two soft net traps, building them, installing them in the upper and lower creek, and monitoring them twice daily to count and release the smolts.

Ben Vornbrock ably accomplished three of these tasks for his Eagle Scout project, and being from a family that builds helped (Vornbrock & Sons Construction). After consulting with creek volunteers Dennis Hinton and Tom Trulin about trap design, he reviewed it with dad Dan and granddad Greg and assembled the materials. Other Scouts from Troop 284 joined them creekside last Wednesday (March 13) to assemble and install the traps.

Monitors will check the traps twice daily into mid May. The upper trap will catch smolts from school releases last spring in Fauntleroy Park. The lower trap will catch those coming out of the middle reach of the creek, as well as home hatch from fall 2022 spawning in the lower creek.

“Because this is important research, we ask everyone not to tamper with the traps,” Dennis advised. “If you happen to see one of us checking a trap, we’ll be happy to explain what we’re doing and why.”

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: Learn ‘Birding Basics’ at Camp Long

(Red-breasted Merganser, photographed by Steve Bender)

Good news for beginning birders! Camp Long can help your knowledge take flight – we just received this announcement:

Sign up now for the Birding Basics three part Series in West Seattle, This 3-week course starts tomorrow at Camp Long.

March 9th-March 23rd, 2024, 9 am-11 am
$30/individual, $80/family of 3-5

Here’s the registration link.

Haven’t been to Camp Long? 5200 35th SW.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Beaver rescued on Alki

When Mark saw that animal in his alley (2900 block of Alki Avenue SW) very early this morning, he thought it was an otter. It’s not unusual to see one of those cross the street – or your path. But he later found out it was a beaver!

Apparently it was disoriented and animal control came by to investigate, retrieve, and rehabilitate it.
Sometime between my early morning sighting and 11 am it had managed to get into the water drains covered by heavy iron grates in the alley. They had to have another Seattle services unit remove the grate and the animal control officer reached down to retrieve it. Needless to say it was a very exciting and interesting morning, most welcome on a quiet gray winter day…

VIDEO: See Fauntleroy Creek’s ‘home hatch’ baby salmon

In our last update on Fauntleroy Creek salmon, volunteers had counted 34 during last year’s spawning season. Now, three months later, some of the results are in view! Fauntleroy Watershed Council‘s Judy Pickens explains:

Coho fry from last fall’s spawning are now feeding in lower Fauntleroy Creek. Volunteers first noticed them last week and called in Sam Verbon, who captured this video on his GoPro.

Several of the 34 spawners counted in November left fertilized eggs. Protected from predators by a blanket of gravel, they hatched over several weeks into alevin, then matured into fry ready to swim freely and start feeding.

To avoid detection by birds or curious people, the tiny fish will forage near the bank and overhanging vegetation as they grow into fingerlings (parr), then 4″-5″ smolts. Those that survive will leave for saltwater in spring 2025.

This spring’s crop of smolts will soon begin leaving for Fauntleroy Cove and saltwater points beyond. Volunteers will check soft traps in the upper and lower creek twice daily to get an accurate count of them. Last year they documented 41.

In May, 19 West Seattle schools expect to release fry in Fauntleroy Park. Some of those fish will wash into the middle reach to populate the entire creek system with coho juveniles.

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: 9 views, tree to sea

Before the weekend’s over, we have another gallery of reader-contributed West Seattle bird photos! Above, two Northern Flickers, from Chi K Photography; below, two Common Mergansers, photographed by James Tilley along Alki:

And two Crows – one leucistic – who posed for Michelle:

Mark Dale sent this photo of a Cooper’s Hawk in flight over Gatewood:

Two photos from Erin B. Jackson in Arbor Heights – first, a Spotted Towhee:

Next, a White-crowned Sparrow:

From Gentle Tassione McGaughey, a Townsend’s Warbler:

And this Ruby-crowned Kinglet was photographed by Greg Harrington:

Thanks to everyone for sharing their photos – best way to send us a pic, bird or otherwise, is westseattleblog@gmail.com (dfor breaking news info and photos, text 206-293-6302)!

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: New camera catches coyote

The photo was shared by Karla, who’s in the 5400 block of 34th SW, just south of Camp Long. She explains, “I put out a game camera last week and caught this coyote posing in our yard.” What should you do if you see one? Scare it away, as advised in this state-produced Living With Wildlife guide, which has other helpful information about coexistence. We report coyote sightings for awareness and education, not alarm; you can browse our archives here.

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: 10 super readers’ pics

In the WSB tradition of featuring readers’ bird photos on some football-centered Sunday afternoons, we’re presenting 10 of the most recent we’ve received. Above, Cedar Waxwings photographed in Gatewood by Darwin Nordin; below, a closer look at one Cedar Waxwing, by Erin Jackson:

Two from Mark MacDonald – a Golden-crowned Kinglet at Lincoln Park:

And a Common Merganser on Alki:

Steve Bender photographed this Belted Kingfisher at Jack Block Park:

That’s where an anonymous contributor saw this soaring Bald Eagle:

Back on the ground, here’s a Mourning Dove from Jon Anderson:

From Theresa Arbow-O’Connor:

The latest pic of West Seattle’s roaming Guinea Fowl is from Gabe:

And in the tradition of some calling this SuperbOwl Sunday – a Barred Owl at Lincoln Park, from Jamie Kinney:

A super-size thanks to everyone who shares bird photos – westseattleblog@gmail.com is the best place to send us pics (unless it’s breaking news – that, you can text to our hotline, 206-293-6302) – thank you!

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Seen on nighttime low-tide walk

Thanks to Brandy DeWeese for photos from one of our featured Friday events – the Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists’ nighttime low-tide walk at Constellation Park south of Alki Point.

No organized event tonight – but the -2.3-foot low tide at 11:19 pm is almost as low as last night’s.

The volunteer beach naturalists are usually out at Constellation Park and Lincoln Park multiple times during summer’s daytime low tides – watch this webpage (and our calendar) for the schedule.


Andrea reports a sighting shared by a neighbor while out dog-walking: “2 coyotes were spotted crossing Alaska Street at 48th Ave SW going into Ercolini Park at 10 PM last night.” Remember that coexistence with coyotes depends on keeping them at a distance, with tactics like what Jen B described in yesterday’s report.