[Tweeters] Mobs and Groupies in Port Townsend

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Nov 11 21:54:42 PST 2015

While lot's of interesting things have been going on in the nature of Port Townsend lately, I've been too burnt- out , due to family issues, to post about them, but today was just too good.

Actually, I'll start with a mob scene in town a few days ago. My sister and brother-in-law were in town for a few days helping me and my demented parents out, and were staying in a nice loft apartment downtown by that cool ol' victorian fountain at the base of the stairs to Uptown, and as we sat talking inside, a great ruckus ensued out in the elm trees on the slope outside. The kind of hyper -active Crow ruckus that just has Owl written all over it, and indeed about 20 Crows had found a Barred Owl out in the daylight , and were really giving it the whatfor. We all did get excellent looks at the hapless owl.
This morning, in desperate need of escape from eldercare issues, I managed to bop down to my standby hangout, the Marine Science Center at Fort Worden, and was soon smiling again. Quite the show going on down at the pier. This time starring The Fabulous Harbor Seals!
While I've posted plenty about the River Otters that hangout on dock float down there, today was all about seals. I did find a gutted Rhinoceros Auklet on the dock though - Otter meal no doubt - and got the closest look at a rhino ever. They have an interesting bill. (That, along with a Guillemot, and Double-crested Cormorant, are the birds down there that I've noted as Otter meals).
Moving back to the Seals, there have been at least four hanging out down there lately, mostly youngsters - about 3 to 4 ft long, but at least one larger one. The water has been very clear lately, which has allowed excellent looks at the Seals as they zoom around chasing herring, and other fish, of which there have been many, in big schools. Todays Seal Show was the best ever.
And then something cool happened - Seal groupies. These were a half-dozen, or so Mew Gulls, which have recently shown up on the scene down at the pier. Crying their plaintive cry's, these Mew Gulls were following the Seals every underwater moves, from the air, like so many feathery surveillance drones. As the Seals would near the surface, the little Gull's would aggressively dive right at their head, or very close to their body. Amusingly, the little Seals were often briefly floating belly up just below the surface - not sure what that was all about, but it was pretty cute. I know thats not science. But it did appear to be pretty cute. Whiskers up!
At any rate, the Seals seemed completely at ease with this aggressive gull diving- didn't flinch a bit, even with hits very near their heads. At first I'd thought the gull were "mobbing" the Seal's (maybe thinking of the above Crow mob scene), but no, just groupies hanging out with those rock 'n roll fishermen, hoping to score on some easy leftover fish snacks. It was a cool show to watch - front row seats for me!
Jeff Gibsonapproving the seals of Port Townsend Wa

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