[Tweeters] Sound Seasons

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Oct 3 04:36:44 PDT 2013

About done with my Edmonds boat gig, in the 'land of clear waters'. Got to see many interesting birds and sea creatures.

On the last day of September I was down on the boat, and in the morning a flock of about 20 White-fronted Geese honked over the boat. I rarely seem to hear them, so that was kind of neat. Fall messengers. And our Summer/Fall visitors, the Heermans Gulls are still in plenty along the jetty, with their funny call.

On October first, heard and saw two Caspian Terns - hadn't heard or seen any the rest of my 12 days or so down here. That afternoon I stopped by to pick up something I'd left at the boat yard, and just as I walked up to the inside corner of the fence, a Kingfisher zoomed over the corner, just missing the fence by literally an inch! It reminded me of Accipiter's "steeple chasing" over hedges, houses, whatever, on their stealth missions to nail feeder birds. But as the fence was clear across the railroad tracks from the marsh, the Kingfisher wouldn't have been sneaking up on a fish. Just being a hotshot.

That morning the Olympics were glowing between the clouds, with a new heavy coat of snow. Winter up there now, while big Darner dragonflies were patrolling the marina- a bit of summer down here, and also fall, with various migrants coming and going.

Back home in Mudville (aka Everett) we are getting a fresh supply of mud. Just before the last few storms, the water here was about as clear as it ever gets, after a long dry season with less river runoff. I even saw some fish, and other sea creatures out about the docks.

Earlier in the day yesterday, I was driving up the Snohomish River Rd, noting the high muddy river was full of driftwood, headed to a beach near you maybe. A single imm. Peregrine zoomed at high speed along the road, and the skies over Fields Riffle were full of migrating swallows.

Stopping briefly at the 10th st boat launch on the Everett waterfront the skies were dark, and the water calm. Pretty quiet. An adult Peregrine was perched out on one of the pilings. The tide was up over the mudflats, the water having returned to it's typical estuary murk. Couldn't see nuthin' under the surface.

The big rafts of cedar logs that had been around most the summer, were all gone, so the seals will have to park elsewhere. But out in the calm murky bay, huge ripples! Really moving fast! I was thinking "Sea Lion!" at first, but I've rarely seen Sea Lions (aka Sea dogs) inside of Jetty Island. Nope, 'just' Harbor Seals - some big ones I guess.

In another exciting episode of 'The Sound and the Furry', several seals were really tearing it up in the quiet shallow waters - making lots of big ripples. It took a bit of watching to id the critters, as seals can stay down a long time. They also were needing their sensitive whiskers to find anything in the muddy murk, I would imagine. I guess seals are so good at finding prey that way in dark and murky waters ,that even blind seals have been found to get along OK with whisker sense alone. Pretty cool.

Jeff Gibson
back in murky
Everett Wa

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