holyoutlaw: (me meh)

October and November are going to be busy months in North Beach Park, as we finish up clearing invasives and head into planting season.

October 12th (Saturday) and 23rd (Wednesday): EarthCorps will remove invasive plants in preparation for November planting. EarthCorps work parties are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the EarthCorps website to sign up.

October 26th (Saturday): The Friends of North Beach Park welcome Nordstrom employees for a day of planting Douglas Fir and Hemlock trees to start the planting season. The Nordstrom employees should fill out our roster. We look forward to seeing you in November.

November’s events feature planting, the reward for the invasive removal we’ve done the rest of the year.

November kicks off with GREEN SEATTLE DAY, November 2nd, a city-wide celebration at 17 parks, including Carkeek and Golden Gardens. To find out more and to sign up, visit the Green Seattle Day website.

On November 9th, EarthCorps returns to North Beach Park for their planting party. They’ve cleared quite a bit of area, help them meet their fall planting challenge and bring native plants back to North Beach Park. Again, EarthCorps events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

November 23rd will be the big Friends of North Beach Park planting party. We have plants to go into different environments all over the park. This will be the time to join us if you haven’t for a while. Build up that appetite for Thanksgiving! We’ll go from 9 a.m. to Noon. To sign up, visit the Green Seattle Partnership website.

All North Beach Park work parties meet at the main entrance to the park at 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW in Ballard. They also happen rain or shine, so wear weather appropriate layers that can get dirty. And wear mud boots as the park is very muddy during the fall and winter. Bring snacks and water as appropriate, but there are no facilities at the park. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Parking is available on 90th St., east of 24th. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the 40 and 48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

Can’t join us for a work party? Make a year-end donation to Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park and click on the “Donate” button. We use these proceeds for tools, materials, and outreach.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

Julie and I took a late afternoon trip to North Beach and Carkeek Parks Monday to look for salmon. Well, we stopped at North Beach Park on the way, so I could see how things are going.

The alders were still blocking the trail. But we did see some gorgeous fall color.

Fall Color

Big leaf maple leaves cover the path in North Beach Park.

In fact, I thought the park was particularly beautiful. The cloud cover wasn’t too thick, and the colors were very warm. Where the path wasn’t covered in maple leaves, it was covered in alder leaves.

The park was also very wet. It’s gone from the driest I’ve ever seen it (in September) where just walking along a trail would cause it to crumble; to the wettest I’ve ever seen it, where you’re in constant danger of slipping, and leaves might cover mud a couple inches thick.

Pileated woodpecker on a snag in North Beach Park

Pileated woodpecker on a snag in North Beach Park

We also saw a pileated woodpecker, working its way up a snag. (It’s kind of small, click on the image for a slightly bigger version.) I saw a pileated woodpecker in 2010, I think, or maybe 2009. It was good to see one again.

It worked its way up the snag, its feet spread very wide to hold onto the snag. It pecked here and there, but didn’t have to knock the wood for quite a while. There were two flickers above it, working the same snag, but as it approached, they each flew away without saying anything.

After that, it was back up the trail and over to Piper’s Creek.

We started at the beach, as always. So far, there are only a couple dozen wigeons there regularly. But we also saw a cormorant off in the waters. (Later in the winter, there will be many more types of birds.) Besides the usual crows’n'gulls, I mean, who were enjoying the salmon buffet (that is, the fish that didn’t make it). Looking through the binoculars I saw about five different gulls eating at different salmon. Here is a picture of one that was picked clean.

Then it was back and over the bridge and up to Piper’s Creek. There were lots of salmon in the creek this time, resting in the pools, splashing upstream or over the rocks and logs.

Splashing Salmon

Salmon splashing in Piper’s Creek, Carkeek Park. The curved line in the upper right quadrant is the back of the salmon.

I think we were up and down the various viewpoints of the creek for about an hour, talking to people and listening to their own observations. There are always a few families with young kids.

I’m sure we’ll go again. It’s always interesting to see them swimming around, and it’s exciting when one tries to make it over a little waterfall. No bears, and none of the giant waterfalls of rivers in Alaska. But raccoons, who will spread the fish carcasses around the woods.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

On Sunday, Julie and I took a walk in two of our favorite parks: North Beach Park (you were surprised?) and Carkeek.

I wanted to go to North Beach to make some notes about the work done on Saturday, and to make some plans for the planting work parties (November 24! Save the date!)

While we were there, something started happening in a tree above us. We couldn’t see it, but we could sure hear it: A large murder of crows, cawing loudly and repeatedly. Julie thought they were mobbing a raptor sitting in the tree. As we watched, more crows joined every few seconds, and the cawing got louder and louder. Eventually there were so many crows that it became a chant, phasing in and out of unison. I felt like I was at the invention of song. We watched for several minutes, as the noise and chaos increased. It was still going when we finally turned away. Whatever was causing it, we’ll never know.

Carkeek — Puget Sound, rather — also had something in store for us. We went to look for salmon in Piper’s creek, missing them by about one day. On our way back up from the beach to the car, though, we noticed some people at the top of the bridge to the beach looking a lot more avid and engaged. We asked what they were looking for.

“Orcas are coming,” a woman told us. A man said that he had seen them off Alki, and that the J pod and K pod were swimming together. Hearing that news, we weren’t going anywhere. It didn’t matter how long it took.

Orca watchers

It did take some time for us to see the orcas, but it was worth it. Even though they were so far across the Sound that even with binoculars they were very tiny. But we could see their dorsal fins rising and falling above the water level. We saw breaches and tail flaps. Even at that distance, it felt so much more impressive and real than seeing a close-up on television.

But what I particularly liked was the loose community that developed. One woman had her phone out, and was passing on tweets from the Orca Network. Another woman, once we started seeing the whales, would comment on the behavior: “There’s a tail flap. There’s a breach.” If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have known what was happening. There was some sharing of binoculars, and people constantly describing where they saw the orcas. We stood there at least an hour watching.

It was sharing the experience among ourselves that made this a uniquely urban experience. The way we came together, some people intentionally, some (like us) by accident, would never have happened anywhere else. On a whale watch cruise, we’d have been closer, but the community around the experience wouldn’t have felt as organic (mind you, if I have the opportunity, I’ll go on a whale watch cruise, now more than before). This was a pretty simple experience, after all, but with all the news about conflict and individualism and every man for himself, it was great to have.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (picture icon iv)

First tree I’ve planted, in Carkeek Park. An Oregon Ash.

Oregon Ash

I wonder if the mountain beavers have eaten it yet?

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (Default)


A very nice turnout. Lots of people worked away, we cleared an entire slope. Muddy fun, but I’m very tired right now.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.


holyoutlaw: (Default)

June 2017

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