Wednesday, July 18, 2018

CALIFORNIA SEA LION 'DUDLEY' CAPTURED AND REMOVED FROM ALIK BEACH WEST SEATTLE 7-18-18

A Juvenile California Sea Lion named 'Dudley' was captured and removed from Alki beach in West Seattle on 7-18-18.  Dudley is approximately 5-7 years old.  He had lost the use of his hind flippers which showed some lacerations which may or not be associated with the loss of use.  He may also be ill.  Normally sea lions in this condition in the wild are placed under observation if possible and not captured.  Nature will then take its course.  There are over 300,000 California Sea Lions in the North Pacific and they are not endangered however they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Dudley would have be left to nature but he moved onto a heavily used public beach where he likely would have interacted with humans...at 400 pounds and a defensive disposition it is possible he could have caused serious harm to anyone who came too close.  This is the reason for his capture and removal from the beach.  It is likely that Dudley would have faced a slow painful death if left to nature.  The WDFW and NOAA and Seal Sitters staff were all involved in the capture.  This is the first capture of a California Sea Lion on Alki beach ever recorded. Beaching of Sea Lions in Puget Sound is extremely rare as they rest in the water or often on offshore platforms or buoys.  All California Sea Lions in the Seattle area are males that come north from California, Oregon or Washington coasts during the non-breeding season and are seen in the area from August till May.  By May all but a few have migrated south to breeding grounds in California, although some do breed on the Washington and Oregon coasts.  Females remain south and nurse pups for about 6 months.  We do not see females in the Seattle area.  The capture went smoothly even though Dudley did put up some resistance and it was the professional expertise of the WDFW and NOAA that made the capture go well.  More on Dudley's fate later. 

Finally on a happier note at the same time Dudley was being captured we noticed a nest just below where we were standing that was full of White-crowned Sparrow chicks....Life begins..

Dudley

Dudley

Ribs and backbone showing - Dudley about 200 lbs underweight

WDFW capture boat

Preparing for capture

Dudley resists capture



Safely in cage

Ready for transport to WDFW lab.
White-Crowned Sparrow chicks

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

J AND L RESIDENT ORCA WHALES HAVE RETURNED TO INSIDE WATERS - AND OTHER SAN JUAN ISLAND ITEMS

The good news is J and L pods of the Southern Resident Community of Orca whales have returned to inside waters and were seen in the San Juan Islands during mid June.  The bad news is that L92 Crewser is missing and presumed dead.  That leaves the Southern Resident Community at 75 whales which is the lowest since studies began in the 1970's.  Low populations of Chinook Salmon are a major cause of the decline of the endangered whales along with excessive noise levels, contamination and likely other factors.  In addition to the Orca whales and one Humpback Whale we viewed San Juan Island foxes, Hummingbirds, Harbor Seals, Eagles and River Otters.  We packed a lot into 4 wonderful days made even better by a visit from my sister Pat and company of sweetie Gretchen.

Barn Swallow






Humpback Whale














River Otter with fish














Research boat collecting whale poop samples



WDFW Whale Police Boat


Saturday, May 12, 2018

GREENBELT OWLS SEEM TO HAVE GONE TO NEST...BUT HAVEN'T FOUND THE NESTS

The two pair of Barred Owls in the West Duwamish Greenbelt have not been seen since May 4th and are assumed to have gone nest but the location of the nests has not be found.  The pair in Lincoln Park have been pair bonding daily and can often be found in the same area especially because the crows and ravens scolding gives them away.  A group of Transient Orcas was in Puget Sound this week but never came within 3 miles of West Seattle so no images are available here. On May 10th all the pieces came together bird watching wise in Lincoln Park with a very cooperative Pileated Woodpecker, Male Raven, fledged Raven chick, and both Barred Owls.  We are looking at a weather forecast of 80 degrees this weekend through Monday.  Caspian Terns have been seen in numbers at Alki and making daily flights from the Duwamish River.  Next week I will do the Sea Star wasting disease survey....so back to the beach and some real marine stuff. .



















Female Barred Owl Lincoln Park

Female Barred Owl Lincoln Park

Fledged Raven Lincoln Park

Male Raven Lincoln Park

Pair bonding Barred Owls Lincoln Park

Pileated Woodpecker Lincoln Park

Pileated Woodpecker Lincoln Park

Male Raven in rain - Lincoln Park