Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Valley, Falls and Beach in one day

Snoqualmie Valley: I had a doctors appointment in Seattle. I was going to work before the appointment, but I woke up tired and cranky and the sun was shining. So I revised my plans and pointed the car in a different direction.

I stopped at Snoqualmie Falls. (Edit -The picture to the left was taken 6/25 from the main gazebo at the top). I walked down the nature trail to the lower access to the Falls. Once again on the walk I heard Cedar Waxwings. Now that I'm interested my ears are attuned for that whistley call. I was alone at the look out point. The sun was shining down and making the mist glow golden. The falls weren't heavy but the spray patterns were entrancing and would sometimes reach to the top of the falls. There was a fly fisherman near the base, silhouetted in the golden light. It was quite beautiful. Then I drive the long way to Seattle, through the Snoquamie Valley. I saw lots of wildflowers and a harrier with that distinct low flight.

The beach:After my appointment I got together with Alan. He loaned me a digiatl camera so I can take pictures now! We took lunch to Golden Gardens park, I took my camera of course. The tide was out and we walked down the beach a ways then found a place to eat our lunch. Several crows and a gull were watching us eat. I started tossing bits of my lunch to them. I found it interesting that one of the crows seemed dominate. I've feed the birds at the beach many times and usually gulls dominate due to sheer size. The crows may get more, but that's speed and savvy. And yet this crow was clearly the boss. After a bit I had collected more birds of course. (It reminded me of when I was young and would forget that I'm actually supposed to eat my lunch in my enthusiasm of sharing with the birds. Some things never change). Several times the crows or gulls caught the food in midair. I love that!

It's hard to see but the gull is displaying his seaweed. Woo hoo!

When we were done eating the 2 gulls were still hanging around. One had adult plumage while the other was immature. The adult kept giving this soulful call. At first I thought he was begging but he??? was following the immature around. He seemed to be trying to impress the younger bird. Alan said it seemed the 'older male was trying to pick up the cute younger female". The gull kept picking up seaweed and carrying it about. It was clearly done as a display not for food. The immature was not suitably impressed.

Alan and I walked down the beach. It was grand! The weather was wonderful. We saw many moon snail egg cases, anemones and crab shells. Alan has been walking there for years and he was impressed by the numbers of anemones and moon snail egg cases. Some of the anemones were quite high on the beach. Of course I could resist rolling some rocks and I saw the usual crabs, some worms and a polycheate! I had the polycheate in my hands for a moment but didn't have it real well and didn't want to damage it. I now know they are called bristleworms. I guess that's my new fact for the day :)

We saw some mammal circling in the water not far off shore. We didn't think it could be a seal or sea lion because it never really poked it's head up like they do. Our guess was otter, but we never really saw it. The behavior reminded me of hunting behavior of dolphins and I definitely have to do more research. And then we saw a heron. His plumage was very bright, the wonder of mating season.

Heron at Golden Gardens (picture was taken 6/20 with new camera)

We headed back and I got a few more thrills. There was a nice big turtle basking in the pond! I love turtles and miss them and this was a big guy. Then as we were standing at the railing looking at the pond a redwing blackbird landed on the railing right next to Alan's hand. I wish I'd been faster to snap a picture, but the bold guy was definitely looking for a handout! I also heard a seal (well, probably a sea lion) off in the distance.

The turtles (picture was taken 6/20 with new camera)

And home again:When I got home I took coal out for a walk. No wonderful animal sightings but I walked the river right by my house. The cloud formations around Mt Si were quite dramatic and I was convinced we'd have thunderstorms. I did get to visit with some of my favorite neighborhood dogs and Coal was quite excited by a dead mole in the road (quite big). There were plenty of foxglove flowering in the unmanaged areas. Of course my favorite part is down by the river. I'm so lucky to be able to walk 3 minutes and be standing on a quiet beach on the shores of the Snoqualmie. (I'll add a picture here, once I figure out how to download them, darn technical issues!)


Blogger Alan said...

It was a fine walk on the beach.

And I got a picture of her taking a picture of the heron.


5:54 AM  
Blogger Eliza said...

I can't believe you say lots of moon snail egg rings! I was just mentioned to Boo (my sister) the other day how we always used to find their shells & egg casings when we were kids, but how they seemed to have completely disappeared from the beach since then. That's very exciting that they are back!
And the numerous anemones are great too. When I used to go there as a kid, you couldn't hardly walk at low tide without getting squirted by the anemones. They have diminished over the years also, but that's great to hear that there's lots again.


12:36 PM  

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