West Seattle, Washington
Over the next four days (Wednesday through Saturday), we’ll see the lowest tides of the summer (yes, we’re aware summer technically is still about a week away) — all -3 feet or lower, with the absolute lowest a -3.8 on Friday morning (check the full tide chart here). Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists will be out on Friday (and over the weekend) at Lincoln Park and south of Alki Point; one of our favorite low-tide spots is Lowman Beach, one of the areas where submerged structures start to emerge, as seen this morning:
Oh dear, how will the West Seattle Birdcam folks handle this one? State wildlife experts want everybody to take their bird feeders out of service for a while or at least take extra steps to keep them mega-clean, because of a deadly outbreak. (At least this is an OK time of year for birds to be fine without feeders; there’s ample natural food such as bugs and flower nectar.)
Feels like West Seattle’s resident bald eagles have been more visible this year than ever. And tonight, a couple examples of photographic proof: First, a photo sent to us by reader Marci, taken recently just west of The Junction:
Second, Rhonda @ Beach Drive Blog posted some great eagle pix (and heron pix too) from her neck of the
woods shore. These beautiful birds’ prevalence here is still a miracle, given the state of their species not that long ago.
Twice in the past two days, we’ve had to stop for these feathered pedestrians just east of Seacrest, and they’re hard to see from a distance.
Our fellow low-tide fans will want to know that a 3.6-foot “minus tide” is on the way just after noon tomorrow, and the afternoon low tide on Saturday is almost that low too. (Check the tide chart here.) If you’d like to explore Saturday’s low tide with an expert guide, West Seattle-based naturalist Stewart Wechsler is promoting an all-ages “Beach Safari” across from Me-Kwa-Mooks, 12:30-2:30 pm — it’s a Seattle Parks program so you need to preregister through Camp Long (by phone @ 206-684-7434).
An update on the Fauntleroy Creek page says 20 of the creek’s coho are on their way out to the “saltwater phase of their lifecycle.” Check out the creek overlook (part of the view shown in recent photo below) next time you’re down by the ferry dock or the south end of Lincoln Park; it’s a little bit of wildness amid all our urbanity, kept up by a lot of hard (volunteer) work.
Two Three (adding one since original post) questions arrived in the e-mailbox today. We have some thoughts on the first two but not a clue on the second third, so we’re throwing them out to the wonderful WSB readership to answer via comments on this post:
#1 — A new WS arrival wants to plant a vegetable garden and is looking for advice on “good times to plant, and good vegetables that thrive here.” (We had success with cabbage, lettuce, and spinach some years back. Planting time would be now, though, since those are mostly cool-season veggies. What else?)
#2 (added 10:16 pm) — A local family is moving from one WS location to another and plans to handle it themselves. Recommendations for who to use for trucks/etc. for self-moving? (We had a good experience with the 35th/Morgan U-Haul, but that was loooong ago.)
#3 — Someone else reports a woodpecker “attacking” their house. For now, they put a rock in the resulting hole (photo below), but they’re wondering what else they can do to discourage it from further attacks.
Got a note from someone concerned about a baby seal that turned up out of the water on Alki, and wondering what to do in a situation like that. Authorities’ advice: Leave it alone, until and unless at least 36 hours have gone by; seal moms sometimes leave their babies on a beach so they can go look for food, and they’ll be back. If you think that much time has gone by, or you think it’s injured or otherwise in imminent danger, there’s a hotline at 206-526-6733. (And lots more information here.)
Fauntleroy Creek (across from the ferry dock) is worth a visit sometime soon if it’s not someplace you regularly visit. Not only is salmon season revving up, it’s also the annual blooming time for the official favorite flower of WSB, Darwin’s barberry, which comprises an entire hedge at the creek overlook but still hasn’t caught on as a garden plant (aside from a spray on Genesee Hill, one along Beach Drive, and one along Fauntleroy; let us know if you’ve seen others).
Given the natural splendor of West Seattle, we’re endlessly puzzled as to why more webcams aren’t up around here. The list on our WS Cams page has stayed relatively unchanged for months. Last summer, a volleyball group had an Alki cam up for a while, but even that went away. Finally, today, someone put up another live WS cam: the West Seattle Birdcam. Just a backyard and a bird feeder, but we’ll give ’em an A for effort, and add them to the cams page. Let us know if there’s something out there we’re missing — we keep looking!
You’ve seen the divers just off Seacrest a million times. But unless you too have gone into the water — way into the water — you probably haven’t seen what they’ve seen. One is kindly sharing a recent Seacrest six-gill shark sighting with the world via this webpost, featuring video (note that besides the embedded player, there’s a link at the very bottom to a high-res version).
What a great note to get — from a relatively “new” West Seattleite, who wanted to share the wonder of seeing a bald eagle flying over The Junction today. We still marvel at the sight ourselves, even after all these years; we get frequent flybys up here, but the most recent sighting to thrill us was down on Beach Drive, the last morning our power was out, when a friend with a killer view let us drop by and clean up … before we left, an eagle buzzed our pal’s balcony almost within touching distance. The unfortunate flip side of life for our local eagles is that seagulls and crows pester them to no end, as our e-mail correspondent noticed, writing that “two angry adult seagulls” were in pursuit of The Junction’s eagle. (Honestly, have you ever seen a seagull that didn’t look/sound ticked off about something?)
Oh good heavens, today’s Times opens up the coyote can-o-worms yet again. Can we just say one more time … PLEASE. DON’T. LET. YOUR. CATS. ROAM. OUTSIDE. EVER. PERIOD. Coyotes are not even remotely the worst threat they face. Human-linked threats (such as cars) are a zillion times worse. We’ve shared our lives with eight cats so far (no, not all at once) … all perfectly happy, safe, and healthy in the house (or apartment).
The annual salmon drumming at Fauntleroy Creek, 5 pm today, isn’t just another event. If you are relatively new to WS, you probably haven’t heard how this creek made a comeback. It’s easy to drive by or use the Fauntleroy ferry dock without ever knowing about the charming little creek overlook area (and its spectacular spring hedge of Darwin’s barberry) right across the street. It’s been six years now since the restoration, which brought inspiring success, but over subsequent years, heartache too. It’s a little beacon of hope that we haven’t lost (or destroyed) everything that’s pure and true and original about our beautiful home, so the salmon need every ounce of energetic encouragement you can give them by joining the welcome-home party tonight.
That question is answered at the end of this heartbreaking story from today’s P-I.
If you’ve been here more than a few years, even if you have never gone below the water’s surface, the idea of dwindling marine life won’t surprise you. Even around WS, we don’t see what we often saw in the ’90s — “rafting” California sea lions off Alki, diverse and numerous bird sightings south of Alki Point including surf scoters and buffleheads.