[Tweeters] Spring Things

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Feb 25 09:19:01 PST 2016

Walked around Fort Worden here in Port Townsend yesterday to check out the scene.
Rather than Murrelets off the pier there were ten bright Guillemots in a close-knit group diving - all in bright breeding plumage. Pretty quiet other wise, so I headed to North Beach. Still pretty quiet bird-wise there, but a few of the usual suspects around: Red-breasted Mergansers, Surf Scoters, Buffleheads, Horned Grebes, one Eagle, two Oystercatchers. Way out over the Strait, several droopy loons flew past - Red-throated probably. "The Droopy Loon" would make a good bar name I think.
Under the shadows of the North-facing bluffs, the ground was coming alive with new green growth: in a wet clay section, the Coltsfoot was showing it's new maple-like leaves. A Red-flowering Currant beginning to bloom, was a bit of color in all the greens, grays and browns, but the brightest color in the scene (not counting oystercatcher beaks that had gone by) were a couple of Red Alder logs lying on the beach: partially de-barked by the surf the red dye of the inner bark had stained the logs quite brightly. People have been known to use this dye in their creative endeavors .
After working out my gimpy leg walking over the big beach cobble , I turned around and walked the easternmost shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which ends at Point Wilson. There right on the point, in the calm waters, were similar numbers of Marbled Murrelets as I'd seen the day before down at the pier - I counted 28. As the day before they were mostly paired-up, and quite vocal, talking to each other in little chirps. It's kinda cool to think that soon (hopefully) these little seabirds will sitting on a nest high up in a towering forest conifer.
Did see several more alcids- a couple more Guillemots (still in their winter underwear) and just a few Rhino's, way out there. Walking out the dunes I did note the first Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) blooms opening. A pair of Ravens flew by below the hill, where the deciduous understory was bright green with Indian Plums leafing out, and the Alder catkins, are going from winter rose to sort of a tan color, shining in the late morning light.
Later, just before dusk , I walked up the fort hill to breathe in some extra oxygen, and heard a nice chorus of Robins. Several Bewicks Wrens joined in from the brush.
Taking a last snoop on the pier, I did get the tail ends of 5 otters as they swam off.
Jeff Gibsongimpin' on inPort Townsend Wa

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