Wildlife 1737 results

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.

WEST SEATTLE COYOTES: ‘Note of reassurance’

Jen B and Freyja the dog saw a coyote in their West Seattle neighborhood today – and Jen reports doing what you’re supposed to do:

Just a note of reassurance to folks in the 52nd and Stevens area. If they saw a middle aged red haired lady in pajamas waving her arms yelling “Coyote Go Away” about 9:15 am, that was just me. The coyote was running through our backyards by Schmitz Park. She is a lovely young healthy coyote. She did what she was supposed to do and ran away. I was with my dog who is also now very confused. So no harm done, but I am guessing some neighbors think I’m demented.

How to coexist with coyotes, including behaving like that if you see one, is part of what you’ll learn here (click “Preventing Conflict“).

About the deer carcass on Alki (WEDNESDAY UPDATE)

3:07 PM TUESDAY: We’ve also received multiple messages today about a startling sight toward the east end of Alki Beach – an animal carcass. Some thought it might be a goat but the first person who messaged us, Karen, reported it to city authorities, who told her it’s a young deer and that they were aware of it and planning to remove it. We don’t know if that’s happened yet but are checking. Karen saw it near 54th/Alki.

ADDED 2:57 PM WEDNESDAY: Karen noticed it was still there this morning, so made more calls. Meantime, we checked with Seattle Animal Shelter spokesperson Melissa Mixon, both about the status and about what to do in case of a dead animal. Her reply:

I checked in with the team and it looks like the deceased deer was removed from Alki early this afternoon. With respect to when the public should report a dead animal to SAS, we encourage them to do so any time they encounter a large, deceased animal. The shelter’s animal control team responds to these calls as soon as possible, pending other high-priority or emergency calls.

Smaller dead wildlife, under 15 pounds, should be double-bagged and placed in the garbage. This includes rats, squirrels, birds and other small wildlife. Residents can also bring an animal to the shelter for disposal, but are encouraged to please contact us for an appointment first.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is reachable at 206-386-PETS; you also can file a report (including for a dead animal) here. If you see a dead marine mammal, though, call Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, 206-905-SEAL.

ORCAS: Southern Resident Killer Whales’ J-Pod baby vanishes

(Photo by Maya Sears, NMFS Permit 27052)

Sad news tonight about the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales’ newest calf, whose birth was first reported by photographer Brittany Noelle one month ago. The Center for Whale Research reports J60 has disappeared:

The Center for Whale Research is sad to report that the youngest member of J pod, J60, was missing during our most recent encounter with the pod. On January 27, CWR researchers conducted a photo ID survey of J pod in San Juan Channel (Encounter #8). During the encounter, photos were obtained of all other members of the pod, including all potential mothers for J60, but J60 himself was not seen. Given his young age, it is extremely unlikely that J60 was off on his own for the entire duration of the encounter. While our protocols require at least three full censuses of the group to confirm mortality, we now believe that J60 is likely deceased.

The calf was believed to have been born in central Puget Sound, though the “residents” range far and wide. CWR’s report says that while the presumed death is sad, it’s not surprising: “The mortality rate for young calves, especially those born to first time mothers, is very high in the southern residents.”

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: A 2024 first for Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network

That photo by Antoine Smith – taken from a distance – shows a harbor seal that marked a milestone for Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network: The first live seal that SSMMSN volunteers have tended this year, according to David Hutchinson. The seal came ashore at Lincoln Park, where, David tells us, “The First Responder on duty reported that this seal looked healthy and returned to the water around 3 pm due to the rising tide.” If you see a marine mammal on shore – or one in distress offshore – in West Seattle, notify the SSMMSN hotline at 206-905-SEAL.

WEST SEATTLE BIRDS: 12 views of our winged neighbors, plus an ID request

Thanks to everyone who’s sent bird photos this month! We have enough for one of our periodic weekend galleries – starting with seabirds: Above, Steve Bender‘s photo of American Wigeons at Jack Block Park; below, Mark MacDonald photographed Harlequin Ducks at Lincoln Park:

Also at Lincoln Park, a Common Goldeneye, by Erin B. Jackson:

At Duwamish Head, Robin Sinner photographed this Black Turnstone:

Moving inland a bit, a Yellow-rumped Warbler from Jerry Simmons:

Two more from Mark MacDonald, both at Lincoln Park – a Varied Thrush:

And a Cooper’s Hawk:

They were popular to photograph in recent weeks – we’ve received other Cooper’s Hawk photos, including this one from Andrew Kronen in Belvidere:

And a closeup from Steve Bender:

Here are two owl photos – first a Great Horned Owl seen at Lincoln Park by Rob Christian:

And William Wright sent this photo last Tuesday, explaining: “The students at Fairmount Park Elementary have had a great view of a Barred Owl perched just outside one of the third-floor classroom windows; just about the whole school has made a visit to room 303 for a look at the owl who has been perched there all day.”

Now the request for ID help – Juli wondered if you can identify this bird seen at her feeder:

Thanks again for all the bird images – we also publish some with our every-morning event-preview lists (and also appreciate the other West Seattle scenes sent in for those) – westseattleblog@gmail.com is the best way to reach us, unless it’s urgent, in which case please text or call 206-293-6302!

VIDEO: Coyotes in Seaview

The video is from Natalie, sent late last night:

Caught this video tonight of two coyotes, one in our yard and one on the sidewalk. You can see a rabbit run away on the sidewalk right as a coyote chases an animal (likely rabbit) in our yard, which also gets away. We are on 46th between Graham and Raymond. Thought this might be interesting to know and see.

We publish coyote-sighting reports – with or without video/photos – for awareness, not alarm, and recommend that everyone read up on coyotes, including urban coexistence, via infopages like this.

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Bald Eagle dies, apparently electrocuted

Thanks to the reader who texted the report and photo:

Driving down Jacobson around 9:30, I came upon 4 adults standing around a dead eagle, turns out one of them was Kersti Muul, a Wildlife Biologist.

The adult male was found laying in the intersection of 56th SW by a couple who live nearby, who moved it to the sidewalk.

Kersti’s examination concluded that he was electrocuted, which probably explains the power flicker earlier this morning.

Another bystander assisted Kersti in bagging the majestic bird for transport to the next stage of its existence.

Later we heard from Kersti, who explained:

Male of the pair that frequents and feeds off Me-Kwa-Mooks and always perches in the little greenbelt adjacent to Jacobson. … Female can retain territory and recruit a new partner. This pair did not have a nest.

I examined it and found injuries consistent with electrocution.

I surmise it cross-phased the two phase power lines that run up Jacobson. Due to line configuration at 56th, the lines are very close together.

Sad..this pair is always present when watching orcas go by. I love listening to them and actually just recorded them the other day.

The eagle’s death may be the cause of a relatively short-lived 145-customer outage in the area this morning – it was gone from the map before we could write about it, but Beach Drive Blog has a framegrab of the outage zone.

PHOTOS: Orcas in Elliott Bay

11:09 AM: Orcas are in Elliott Bay today – Kersti Muul just texted with word that whales are currently in the “grain silos” area toward the north end of the downtown waterfront.

9:31 PM: Thanks to Greg Snyder for sending the photo!

ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: And thanks to Robert Spears for these pictures!

WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: ‘Swooping owl encounter’

Elena sent this report:

Second week in a row of a swooping, talons out, owl encounter along Alki/Beach Drive while on a run. The first was last week, about a mile north of Lincoln Park along Beach Drive. I was running and suddenly felt talons on my head and after some arm flailing, the owl perched herself/himself on the telephone wire adjacent to me, and then tried to go after me again when I tried to resume running. Had to walk backward 1/4 mile before we lost sight of each other. The second was (Tuesday) morning, near the trees just west of Marination (near the larger parking lot). Similar circumstance, but this guy was more persistent. This time, the swooping did not stop even while I stopped my run and stood still, and had to walk backwar with my arms out about 100 yards before it stopped. I imagine it must be some seasonal nesting behavior/etc. But runners and walkers (and small critters!) look out, I suppose.

As we’ve noted following similar reports in the past, the state has a page explaining this owl behavior. Last year, meantime, a reader told us about the creative deterrent she wears!