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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
July 2014
Salish Sea, Pacific Northwest

This is pupping season in the Salish Sea for Harbor Seals. These seals are by far the most common marine mammals hereabouts, and this genetically distinct population does not migrate out of the Salish Sea. Seals were killed in huge numbers during the century before the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Since then the population increased until the 1990s and has remained stable since then, at or near carrying capacity, in spite of about 2000 baby seals born every year.

On offshore rocks, protected from raccoons, dogs, people and other terrestrial hazards, seals bear their single pups in summer. Seals aren't particularly sociable, but they share haul-out spaces, especially at this time of year. Here's a group of three mom-pup pairs and two big males, sharing the rock with hundreds of gulls on July 22. The pup on the right is considerably smaller, born more recently.

group moms pups males

These are wild animals but their high density (about 3 seals/square km) means I see them frequently. I can show you some seal pupping activity from the last couple of months, and share some facts about it.

more below the tangle of bull kelp....

(All photos by me. In to enlarge)

A mom and her pup form the closest social relationship among Harbor Seals. She mates in summer after weaning her pup, and is pregnant for most of the year. Delayed implantation means the fetus develops over 9-10 months. In the Salish Sea, seals give birth later than along the coast, with most born between late June and early September.

Average delivery time is 4 minutes. Mom can delay delivery if she's feeling threatened, even go into the water and resume later.

Pups are precocious, able to nurse and swim within an hour. In the 4-5 weeks until it's weaned, a pup will more than double in size, and become skilled enough in diving and fishing to take care of itself.

mom pup

Once we were out in our sailboat and passed by a mom and a newborn pup on July 15. The pics are blurry, as they appeared suddenly, and were a ways off (maximum telephoto and cropped, as all these pics are) (plus we're all in motion!), but the mom has brought her pup out about quarter of a mile from the nearest haul-out island, into deep water. Amazingly precocious. The pup is swimming on its own but it looks like mom swims under it to give pup a rest. I know this pup is just a few days old because it still has a pink umbilicus showing.

newborn pup  1

newborn pup  2

newborn pup 3

newborn pup 4

Because of the extremely rich milk she provides (50% fat!) the mom will lose a third of her own body weight during nursing. She spends more than half her time fishing to keep up, and hauls out to rest and conserve energy.

On July 27, I watched a group of seals hauled out on a low rock, including a mom-pup pair. The tide was coming in. While the mom napped, well situated, the pup was resting in a spot where the waves were washing over. It got boiled and swept off twice, crawling back on to be near mom, and then gave up. These are a few snaps from that episode. Mom joined pup in the water and they swam off into a kelp bed. An incoming tide is the best fishing time anyway.

washed pup  1

washed pup 2

washed pup 3

washed pup 4

My local bay is home to one friendly seal who plays with us in our kayaks. I've written about her before. One day, we saw another seal in the bay too: a mom and a pup. This was July 25, and I wondered whether this was the same pair with the newborn pup I'd seen earlier, but getting a good look at each of the mom's faces (in my other pics), I could see they were not the same individual. Friendly Seal did not interact with the mother and pup at all that we saw. Mom and baby were sleeping in this quiet protected bay. Sometimes mom was awake, sometimes pup, sometimes both, noses above the surface, eyes closed. Mom was so relaxed her tongue draped out. But never sound asleep, more dozing. They always knew where we were.

sleeping pup  1

sleeping pup 2

For a while pup rode on mom's back. They do that when they get tired. Mom doesn't seem to mind sinking a bit more.

sleeping pup 3

sleeping pup 4

Seals are pretty quiet, unlike sea lions. Baby seals do call out for their moms. They sound just like a baby - "maaaaa".

Pups spend a lot of time in the water with their moms, but sometimes they are left ashore while mom power-fishes. Here's a lone pup I saw from the boat. If you look closely, you'll see other seals in the water there. One might be the mom.

lone pup

The mortality rate of baby seals is much higher than that of adult seals. They are hunted by Bigg's (transient) killer whales and in the fall by Steller sea lions. If they become separated from mom they die of starvation. Human interference is a risk factor. There are diseases and environmental toxins. Entanglement in abandoned fishing gear and drowning. Getting hit by boat propellors. It is inevitable that some seals will not survive, leaving the better-adapted (and luckier) to keep the population numbers stable.

I see dead pups at this time of year. Here's one being scavenged by a Turkey Vulture.

dead pup

Male Harbor Seals do not live as long as females. They fight and posture during mating season, getting injuries and losing weight. These two males show facial lacerations, but things are peaceful at this moment. Males spend more time hauled out resting too at this time of year.

bruised males

Since I am a terrestrial creature, most of my sightings of seals are of them peeking above the surface, or on land, where they rest awkwardly, if alertly, like here watching us go by in the boat. Such calm belies their grace and power underwater, their true element.

moms and pups


Here are some sources for further reading about Harbor Seals:

Harbor seal species profile, Encyclopedia of Puget Sound



The Bucket is open for your observations of wildlife and nature. What have you seen in the natural world where you live?

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Originally posted to Backyard Science on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shutterbugs and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Castro Valley is back to normal summer (18+ / 0-)

    weather, cool, overcast and even foggy mornings with hot days, afternoons and evenings. Some dew forms on outdoor metal, but none, alas, on plants.

    Our Nuttal' Woodpecker has been noisily active all week, but I have no idea why.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 07:57:03 AM PDT

    •  Sunny and dry up here too lately. (12+ / 0-)

      Foggy mornings, yesterday the waterways were socked in long enough to make all the run ferries late. It burns off though by midday, and hot - maybe not as hot as you're getting but hot for us. Last night I stood outside for a while cooling off, too hot to sleep. It was nice out  - bright moonlight, and in the quiet I could hear the high tide waves breaking on the shore a quarter mile away. Even in this touristy season it gets very quiet at night.

      No idea either why your woodpecker is making a ruckus at this time of year. Our families are all fledged and pretty independent by now.

      Cool sighting here of an unusual summer bird: a male Western Tanager alighted near the feeder and flew off, twice! The females look so much like female/juv American goldfinches I'd have to get a very close look at the beak to ID her, if she's around.

  •  Who doesn't love the seals? (17+ / 0-)

    Very locally, Nemesis the pond continues to flourish as habitat, now homing some number of very small frogs (at least ten), numerous tadpoles, and at least two snakes in the vicinity, with a good number of visiting birds. Not bad for about 5 square yards.

    We bought a few water hyacinths and they are spreading all over.

  •  Lovely diary, OD! (14+ / 0-)

    So glad I had time to catch it before I hit the road. The mums and babes and all that blue sky and water look so refreshing.

    But I'm headed east and into the heat--I'll keep these images with me.

  •  A most unfortunate sunfish (18+ / 0-)

    I think the last time I posted it was to show an Osprey flapping away with a sunfish in its clutches.  This week, it's the Green Heron's turn to demonstrate its skills as a piscador...

    Plus, a couple of very blurry shots courtesy of a $19 underwater camera.

    This one is taken with me just off the research paddleboat in water about 20' deep.  You can see the visibility is pretty poor.  Often, especially after a light rain, visibility in the lake is 10-15', but if its a sunny day only a few hours are required to build up a green haze that drops visibility to 6-8'.

    Though these little blobs don't look like much, they are actually a cloud of sunfish fry which surrounded me and followed me through one part of the lake. They were pecking at my mask, and highly interested in the camera -- which was, of course, unable to focus on anything.

    I have another camera coming (I spent $49 this time!) so expect more dispatches from The Underlake World of Me.

        •  Mullet stranded at the feet of Greats BlueEgret (14+ / 0-)

          and allowed to live long and prosper.

          We went to the Goleta Estuary last night before high tide and sunset was about 8, still 1/2 hour to high tide, but the Input Device was in full operation.

          The beach top/sandbar has built up about two feet higher than the Slough/Estuary level. Why the berm tapers lower: it had breached several months ago and the buildup is lower there...sooooo...lower.

          The high tide waves, pretty small, about 1-2' at most was overtopping the berm and running into the Slough. But the best part was the width of the Machine: it was about 300' wide, so all the wave that overtopped was funneled to a channel that fed the Slough, with a standing waves rushing in about 10' wide, 6-10" deep and standing wave ripples and white water. If the waves had been bigger perhaps the input would have cut deeper before the tide dropped and the channel would thsaen be an exit, which is what happens eventually...or the county park worker decides it's too full, the airport says 'eek! big birds!!' emergency' and cuts it like they did last great sqwauks from all the relevant agencies..they even tried a cheat with a Declaration and a specially hooked up pipe siphon...finally park guy got on the tractor and got er done. idiot.
              That is now at present, not yet done, and may not be done, but since the high tides didn't have big surf, it hasn't breached, and it is full to the brim, up to the surrounding greenery edge , it's a very productive estuary for all concerned naturally speaking....(and always has been, Drake careened his ships inside the Slough before the settlers denuded the hillside and a big rainstorm washed it all down and filled it in in the 1850' the upper central valley area did as well. I think.)

          We will see what happens if it gets artificially breached by the airport wallahs, or gets left to it's own devices. So far it also hasn't got so full a jerk with a stick can drain was done at a smaller county park east a ways..the Arroyo Burro creek estuary, smaller and also productive. That event produced a big reaction pro and con with the Cons gleefully laughing at the anger of the fish and bird lovers, the kind of people that go stomp around in the Plover beaches in spite of the fencing and signs and docents, the kind that walk thru resting terns, gulls, and shorebirds or even turn their dogs loose on them.

          ( Not everybody is an idiot:.....The other night I watched two young people slowly approach the resting tern colony, perhaps 100 birds. They got very close, the birds never flinched or stirred, I think they got closer than I have. Later I congratulated them for they must be very calm nice people that the terns didn't arouse at their quiet approach. They were in agreement with how cool and harmless the terns were, very nice kids those two.)( I asked if they had seen any Skimmers and they hadn't and weren't sure what they were, then realized they had seen them at other times....outreach. Also outreached while studying a ray I could just see sitting on the sand, some kids and moms... then watched a brand new fledge, still with baby fuzzhead BCNHeron, trying to stalk his first fish. I collected about 8 Chinese tourists with that one. He poked and stalked but nothing got close enough...good luck little fella.) Back to Goleta last night, heh...

          The Mullet stuck inside the Slough were sensing the new Input water and maybe felt their need to break out, perhaps they were Steelhead, or perhaps some Sardines/Grunnion/Anchovies, I don't know, we couldn't ever see them but a quick shadow leading the waves made by their subsurface passage. They would swirl the water, jump when we weren't looking, but finally they tried to get Out, up the input channel, and when they'd get stranded for a second on the sandbars they would churn violently across and even flip and jump.

          The Greats were standing by the channel and never tried to grab one, we saw finally one launch from a tiny puddle and flew about 2' high and land in deeper water 5' away. Jaws hit the sand!..ours.
             What we saw was greenish yellow, faint stripes, very solid fish with grayer back, MsBee said definite big scales like we had seen on the very jumpy churny Mullet in Carpinteria Slough.

          The GBH actually stepped back when some splashed and churned at his feet.

          I have seen Mullet swarming by the Carpinteria Slough mouth at high tide, perhaps to escape if there was a breach, or perhaps to get yummy bits washing in..they are vegetarians I read once.
              There are also perhaps small sharks that have got in there as well, and if any Steelhead have gotten big enough to escape they could be there too. Churning up the Input Machine channel would be a strategy, but you'd have to run the gauntlet of ten Great Egrets, four Great Blues, a press gaggle of Snowie Egrets, 20 Curlews and Godwits.  If they got up the shallow rushing channel, the sandbar was about 60' across to the ocean and sometimes a half inch deep, I saw no fish try it.

          The referee for all this was a pair of Spotted Sandpipers (life list, I have the 60 pictures to prufs it).

          Spectators were us, a pug on a lease(sp :>)leash, his people, and 20 Stilts that cavorted all around us. The other spectators were the 150 Cormorants in the rookery above. 50 of them went out for a beer offshore and drifted around together.

          A Red Tail drifted silently overhead, the Cormorants in the trees stopped their growling and murmuring while he did, altho I have often seen him/them there I have never seen them attack the Cormorants, even when the nests are treetops and with babies. I think they instead work the fields behind the rookery Eucs forest...of course it doesn't mean they never have attacked the Corms, they Cormorants sometimes fly when the RT appears, they absolutely freaked when a Kestrel or Merlin flew into the I imagine they are very Falcon conscious (Peregrine..and I haven't seen it in the harbor since those two nights in a row)

          I never could get a picture of a Cormorant flying in set against the full moon...maybe tonite.


          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 11:48:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A magical full moon night out at the slough, KB (8+ / 0-)

            You guys and birds and so many fish nobody knows what to do with the multitudes. Not a bad problem to have. Love the image of the heron stepping carefully around flopping fish. What bounty. Those ponds are bird magnets.

            So the seas weren't rough enough to cut through the berm. The full pond stays. For a while.

            Your mention of all those baitfish reminded me of what I've been reading about the shifting range of some marine birds away from the Salish Sea and toward California. Extreme case - the Western Grebes, who are essentially gone from these waters. Not enough fish. Some just died and weren't replaced. Nearly all the rest went down your way since the sardines have come back.

            Our Great Blue population is declining too. Partly that's the fewer and stressed big rookeries. Partly it's fewer small fish. Along the beach here what I see them eating are gunnels and sculpins mostly.

            I hope you go out again tonight. Full ponds, full tummies, full moon... good times.

            •  Moonlight Migrations (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LIcenter, OceanDiver, Polly Syllabic

              two mystery sandpiper species,two plover species,  terns teaching fishing, sunset, idiots, surf, moonlight, magic..

              Went to Devereaux, saw many Snowie Plovers darting around along the shoreline at the surf, and inland inside their fenced area, many signs, docents, police writing tickets even,  diagrams, legal warnings. I yelled at a couple walking 30' inside the preserve with bright led flashlights, in the full moonlight....right thru an area they had to have passed when it was daylight, signs pleading with people to stay away because there were nests right there.
                   They kept ruined the vibe, but I got a hour in of peace before blood madness.

              Against the late sunset afterglow I saw a group of about 20 dark of course birds go by, migrating by full moon I'm sure: they formed a clump that changed and evolved as they flew, unlike ducks, Corms, brandt, Pelicans that make long aerodynamically sensible formations, this was like the Blob, at 100' up and 200' out and 30 mph. Size was at  least large duck sized. Not awkward like Corms, not slow and methodical but intense w/fast beats and strong....dunno, but I have seen it.

              Then after that about 40 mystery sandpipers all started a chorus and lifted off and flew right out of the refuge and out to sea turning south and moving away into the gloom at high speed...also a migration, not out to sea or down the beach but down the coast. A dark patch on their stomach...

              Rock Sandpipers...still reading...Dunlin, had to be...or Black bellied Plovers...looking at pictures...Dunlin most likely. (pictures show a huge mixed flock with examples of all of those and more.

              As to the other mystery bird, no pictures too dark, only tail markings that match are rare wanderers...oh gee, I have to go back in the daytime. Stilt Sandpipers because small size and long legs, Dowitcher because of markings and exact back white stripe. grrrr.
                Two sp. of Greenshanks as well, but not likely, so Dowitchers...but so these were so small. Yep, go back. hike 5 miles of beach. yell at idiots. Carry a stick.

              ok, looked at the pictures, Plovers with black undersides, several kinds of sandpipers and plovers and peeps, terns, Whimbrels, the thing with a curved beak that isn't a curlew or whimbrel..egads...! Need more light, but what a spot, spotting scope as well, it's so chock a block with birds there...gnite.

              This machine kills Fascists.

              by KenBee on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 12:29:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fantastic moonlight movements. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KenBee, Polly Syllabic

                You're right of course, this bright moon is an excellent time to cover distance securely. Your mystery group of duck sized migrators is very intriguing. I will think on it...size and flying style.

                I love the image of the shorebirds dancing in the surf edge in moonlight. Magical.

    •  Fantastic! Underwater views. I can't wait (11+ / 0-)

      to see more pics of your aquatic habitat. Your viz means you'll have to get pretty close to see anything, and forget about the 20' bottom. I like your fins.

      How weird the fry were pecking at your mask. That's a bit too close to focus with any UW camera I'd think. I got a pretty good look at a cloud of baitfish going by with my gopro hanging over the side of my kayak, and the resolution was decent enough to identify them as sand lance. The gopro lens is wide angle and fixed focus  - like 4' to infinity.

      More Underlake World discoveries please!

      •  Perhaps sheltering under you (12+ / 0-)

        which may be why sharks roll by and look, why the seal does and whatever else is down there.

        You need a game camera under your might be disturbing...did you see the White Shark research camera drone...they appear from below and behind and bam! attacked the drone. The drone wasn't made to look like a seal like some have, it was just a tube with some stripes on it...still was attacked and warned by the territorial warning signs they could see too. It had 6 cameras on where did I see 'news' or the like..

        Nice seal nursery photos, I should get to Carpinteria again and take pictures with my new fancy starter dslr.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 11:53:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The school of sand lance were concentrated (6+ / 0-)

          in a brownish area of water, some very localized bloom of some sort. I just had time to put the camera in the water and we were drifting through the last of them. Out into clear water and they were gone. Evidently feeding on whatever plankton that was.

          I still haven't gotten a good look at what FS is interested in when she swims under the kayak. I don't see fish there (camera is on a stick). It is shady though, might be creating a microhabitat I haven't figured out yet. Further research indicated. She looks at the camera but doesn't go after it. Yet.

          But - GOOD NEWS! Maybe. The second derelict dock that the crane and barges have been working on for the last month, pulling off the deck and then yanking pilings....they've just started putting new pilings in! Steel. Yay! If they can refrain from putting those stupid cones on them the gulls and cormorants and all will have a place to perch again. I'm hoping. And the invertebrates will create new communities. Valuable hard substrate subtidal real estate. It's the Tulalip Indian tribe that owns the property. The dock used to be for their local fishing fleet but of course the salmon are gone now. I wonder what their intentions are. The Tulalips are a moderately well off tribe, with a giant casino/hotel complex just north of seattle, next to I-5. Big moneymaker, which they get some of.

      •  I'm planning to attach my GoPro to a long (6+ / 0-)

        handled crabbing net and see what's going on out in the bay. Probably very murky but it sounds like fun !

        •  Yes! You'd be surprised what the surface movement (5+ / 0-)

          hides. My GoPro adjusts really well to low light conditions. Murkiness means you can't see very far, but what's close by is amazingly clear.

          You may or may not have seen the Friendly Seal footage I posted earlier - this will give you an idea what it looks like in my bay. I took these with the camera on a wrist mount, so it's all sideways and cattywampus. My very first GoPro movie. But you can see how close is still in focus.

  •  Heading off for a couple of hours to (15+ / 0-)

    our local old car gathering and parade, the Lopez Concourse d'Elegance. This year we are arriving in an actual vintage vehicle, the 1957 Mk 1 Jaguar saloon that Mr O has been rebuilding for the last 10 years, reborn from a filigree of rust in the bushes into this - so far. Still things to do, like the windows in the doors etc. But exciting. Catch up with you later. Carry on!

    1957 Mk 1 Jaguar saloon

    •  Ooooh. Close to an Inspector Morse car! (11+ / 0-)

      I had no idea Mr. O was a Jaguar fan. What a loving project, and no wonder you are eager to show it off. I have all of Inspector Morse (and some Endeavour) DVDs and plan to replay them again and again. Can't get enough of his car.

      It's 58F and foggy here in Eureka today. My granddaughter's dad in Escondido had a massive stroke and died just after she flew in from Africa to see her mom, who is recovering from brain surgery. When I told her that her kitty had died as well, that got to her, and she burst into tears and had to get off the phone. She is recovering now and tending to family business. Mom (my daughter) has moved to a rehab hosp and is improving. One godawful week for Kate, though.

      W. H. Auden: "We must love one another or die."

      by martyc35 on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 12:51:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Poor Kate! A bad week for sure. (8+ / 0-)

        It will take time to process both those deaths. At least her mom is on the road to recovery. Sometimes just having business to deal with helps in keeping moving, you don't feel helpless. Kate sounds like she can handle it. But what a time.

        Inspector Morse - I didn't realize that but of course. Mr O is the classic car aficionado, I'm pretty clueless. But I do appreciate style and beauty, and his car has that. It's the version just prior to Morse's, something of an orphan, not many were manufactured. He says it was the sight of one of these when he was a youngster that turned him into a car guy. He spends some part of every day tinkering with it. One day it may be complete :)

  •  Great diary, wonderful and amusing pics, (10+ / 0-)

    and lots of details, even links. I could read about and look at seals for hours.

    I like the jag posted in your comment, too. I owned a Mark model Jag for awhile, it looked similar.  Boy, those Jags are pretty. I put a Buick engine in mine, the original engine was buggy.

    I saw saw newly hatched baby coots too day.  The brewers' blackbirds continue to arrive, there are a few hundred on the golf course currently.

    I now have 2 wrens frequenting the Frog Mitigation Area.  They like having easy access to running water.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 11:18:38 AM PDT

    •  Cool, wrens enjoying your open water. (6+ / 0-)

      Bound to attract the wildlife especially at this dry time.

      Congrats on the baby coots. Too cute!

      That's interesting you had a Mark 2 (I guess) Jag. There were some changes between the earlier version and that, including a larger window area. Since way more Mark 2s were manufactured than the earlier one (named Mark 1 retroactively), Mr O has used a lot of the parts from it. But some things are different and unavailable. A lot of blacksmithing and scrounging, including eBay, to assemble the necessary parts. He put a larger engine in it that the car was originally designed for, but it's a Jaguar engine.

      We had a good time at the car party. The Jag did refuse to go up the one hill we have so we had to stop and let it cool for a while. He thinks it's the fuel system. And there were a few other issues that need some work. But it was sweet to be out in it, vroom vroom.

  •  Sunny and 18 degrees this afternoon. (9+ / 0-)

    They sure have some odd temperatures in Canada, don't they? I'm in Edmonton for a 3 day seminar, not getting to spend much time outdoors, or at the computer.

    The West Edmonton Mall has a sea lion show, but you have to pay to see them. No seals that I know of. Malls with captive creatures and artificial beaches...not exactly the environment that I am fond of!

    Will be back in the States on Monday.

  •  Great shots of seals and pups. And the restoring (8+ / 0-)


    I just finished this morning picking my 60 lbs of blackberries for wine. This has been the best season I've seen in years for big and plentiful berries.  As I write this, they are sitting in crocks in the wine cellar awaiting the pitching of the yeast. Then let her rip.
      From here on out the picking will be for eating and baking.


    "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

    by RonK on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 03:11:29 PM PDT

    •  60 pounds of blackberries! Oh your poor hands. (6+ / 0-)

      Or do you wear gloves? That's a marathon picking session. You'll be set up for wine for a while. I imagine it also makes great gifts. There's a winery on the island that makes a blackberry wine sometimes. One time I opened a bottle and it exploded out the top. I'm sure there's some serious biochemistry involved in doing it right. The power of yeast.

      Baking - I just made a blueberry rhubarb pie yesterday. Delish. Blackberry sounds good too. Now the heat of the day is off, I think I'll take a little walk and see.

      Thanks Ron.

      •  blue berry rhubarb pie sounds wonderful. (6+ / 0-)

        Actually the 60lbs were over several sessions but still a lot of picking.  Someone asked me the other day at the gym if i got in a fight with a cat! my legs, even through jeans really get scarred up. But it is worth it.

        Interms of exploding bottles, you have to be sure that the yeast are dead before bottling or else - fountain of wine.

        "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

        by RonK on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 04:20:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What a great presentation (7+ / 0-)

    You relate the information in such an informative and casually familiar way. It's a pleasure to read, learn and look.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 04:08:51 PM PDT

  •  Very late to the party (7+ / 0-)

    I was at a dog event all day and only just now got to read your great bucket.  I always learn a lot from your diaries - even on topics that I think I know something about.  So thank you!

    Our most exciting observation recently: I saw whale blow in Discovery Bay and, after I pointed it out to Mr. Watt, he saw a dark whale back arcing above the water.  This was just south of Protection Island.  I'm speculating that it was Humpback whales in the bay.  I'm not confident enough about the species to report the sighting to the Salish Sea whale sightings reporting website.  It was clearly not Orca.  It was definitely big whale.

    Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by Milly Watt on Sat Aug 09, 2014 at 06:32:32 PM PDT

    •  Wow, that is a spectacular sighting! (6+ / 0-)

      I have heard both grey and humpback have been seen in the Sea this summer. What we can do is check the sightings page and see what kind anybody else in your area at that time saw. I know you don't get the whale watch boats down there but maybe somebody saw it. That day I saw orcas off Point Colville, a few days later when they updated the reports I could tell where they'd been and where they went after by the times and places.

      Checking the site (for anyone not familiar with the page we're talking about you can find it here) now, I see a lot of reports of humpback(s) on August 4 and 5, from Whidbey all the way down to Tacoma. No grey whale sightings for quite a while. Chances are very good it was a humpback you saw. Awesome.

      And thanks Milly! I imagine you have moms and pups out at Protection Island, along with nesting Rhinos and Puffins.

    •  Great sighting! (4+ / 0-)

      That must have been quite a thrill.

      I saw several whales (I'd be 95% sure they were humpbacks - definitely not Orcas which would have been more exciting for me personally) from the Port Angeles-Victoria ferry on July 4.  More of an open water situation but not that far from you.

      "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

      by matching mole on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 04:06:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We caught a short glimpse of a humpback (4+ / 0-)

      in the waters off the San Juan islands while we were on a wildlife watching boat last May.

      We just got back from a trip to Northern California. We took a whale watching boat from Moss Landing and saw more humpbacks than we could count in Monterey Bay. They are coming so close in that you can even spot them from the shore.

      The bay is full of anchovies this year, and the humpbacks are eating their fill.

  •  As usual a fantastic diary. (4+ / 0-)

    Great photos and detailed information very well laid out.

    It's been a busy few days for me, traveling around southern Ontario visiting relatives.  Yesterday we had a belated 80th birthday party for my dad so I can report the sighting of several elderly Canadian socialists..

    We did have an amazing pair of bird observations (photos still on my camera as I didn't bring the cable) at my relatives' cottage on Friday morning.  A juvenile bald eagle landed on the dead pine outside.  Eagles have only fairly recently returned to the area and this was evidence of local nesting.  After a few minutes it left and then a few minutes later a merlin arrived and landed in the same spot.  That was a life bird for my cousin and her husband and only the 4th one I've ever seen.  For the record, Devil Lake about 30 miles north of Kingston, Ontario.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 04:17:03 AM PDT

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