[Tweeters] More Biogeography

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Oct 20 17:15:26 PDT 2013

Thanks to tips by tweeters about the Godwits in North Everett, I went downhill this morning to check out the scene, since the spot is within my "ten-minute circle" - about the limit I'll purposefully put out to go find a rarity. That's just the way I roll. I've never seen a Bar-tailed Godwit before (except at closing time one night at the former Anchor Pub - that's a whole other story) and was a bit excited.

So anyway, missed out on the godwits this morning. Did see one Heermans Gull out on the log rafts - the only one I've seen this year here.

So there I was, at the tip of the Thumb of Everett, under gray skies. Since I was there I walked north on the beach a bit, to check the shore out just around the corner. This is a nice little remnant of beach in a town that has folded, spindled, and mutilated the vast portion of it's sound shoreline during what "Clam" Clemson, down at the Anchor Pub, used to call "that Industrial Evolution": back around the turn of the century when "captains of industry", or "capitalist wort hogs from hell", take your pick, trashed the landscape for personal profit. I have to admit, they did a pretty damn fine job of it!

Well, whateverett. This little bit of more or less original estuary beach, was interesting. Just up from the parking lot were perched several of the largest drift logs I've seen in Everett. Stuck at the highest tide mark, these huge logs had been there long enough to have sprouted a nice growth of Salal. The aforementioned "captains of industry" did such a good demolition job, that Salal, a vegetative icon of our Puget Sound coniferous forest's, is a very rarely seen plant in the North end of Everett. But here it survives on drift logs. Way to go Salal!"

Anyway, that got me a bit excited, because I thought maybe I'd find a Maritime Juniper on one of these drift logs. You see, back in 2009, I 'discovered' some Maritime Junipers out in the Snohomish Estuary, on Smith Island, growing out on similar drift logs in the remnant salt marsh out there. If you know what your'e looking for , these Junipers can be seen all the way accross the mouth of the river in bits of original vegetation left between all that Industrial Evolution thats taken place out there- the junipers are recognizable with binoculars from the Legion Park overlook. They make it all the way over to that big log yard across the river from where I was this morning. No Junipers did I see this morning. Boo hoo.

I'm kind of thinking I could easily remedy this apalling gap in Juniper distribution, by planting some seedlings on these nice big logs I found today. Thus encouraging a rare Puget Sound plant community. Sort of a "hands (or limbs I guess) across the estuary" sort of deal. As far as I know, this is the Southern-most group of these interesting little native trees on the Sound.

Well, so what , you might say, what are they good for? Well did you know that Townsend's Solitaire's like a juniper berry meal when they hang out in the lowlands in winter? They do!

I've seen them up on Fidalgo Island, where the Junipers are more abundant, eating them berries.So there you go.

Jeff Gibson

on the thumb of

Everett Wa

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