Tuesday, November 24, 2015


For 4 days in a row a gull has been observed on the top of the seawall at the 1300 block of Alki Ave feeding on a recently caught flounder.  Now this may or may not be the same individual gull, but it looks like it might be and is certainly the same species.  It's quite possible that one gull has found a perfect place to catch flounder and is in a perfect groove.  Due to foot and dog traffic in the area I was only able to get images of the gull feeding one of the days as it kept moving as it was spooked by traffic.
Today was the break in the chain of feeding days and for good reason.  A strong high pressure system has entered the area with strong north winds....pushing high tide surf against the seawall and making it an impossible place to fish for flounder.  Perhaps when the wind calms down the gull will be back and with more flounder.
                                HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


You may all be getting a little tired of the same old story....Orcas visit Alki Beach and West Seattle again - 11-10-15.  Sorry.
Members of all three Southern Resident pods were present (J, K and L pod).  It appears that the three pods are spiliting up and traveling in mixed groups with some members of each pod traveling together.  The whales passed West Seattle Alki Beach early in the afternoon today to the delight of perhaps 100 or more whale watchers.  Usually the whales travel on the west side of the Sound in our area and binoculars are needed to view them but in the last five days they have come close to the Seattle side of the Sound and no need for binoculars.  The whales are on the Endangered Species List and were being followed by a research boat which collects data and also whale feces in an attempt of determine what the whales are eating.  The rough water today made feces collection impossible.....so no pictures...sorry.  Boat in the images is research pooper scooper boat.


Thursday, November 5, 2015


Members of the Southern Resident Orca (Killer Whale) community were present off Seattle again and passed closer to Alki Beach than they did on 11-03.  Possibly members of all 3 resident pods were present but a minimum of 2 pods.  Will have to wait for positive identification to know exactly who was in the pods.  The whales were spread out over a several square miles as they foraged for Chum Salmon that are returning to Puget Sound rivers to spawn.  Approximately 1.7 million Chum Salmon return to spawn every year with about 90% of the runs coming in the fall months...November and December being very busy.
The Southern Resident Community is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and are the subject of a Federal Recovery Plan.  2015 was a good year for the Southern Residents as their favorite food, Chinook Salmon, had strong runs.  Now the Orcas are turning their attention to Chum Salmon...the second most plentiful salmon species in Puget Sound....Pink (Humpy)Salmon being the most plentiful with approximately 6.5 million fish returning this year.  However Pink Salmon runs are only large in odd number years with only a very small percentage of Pinks returning in even number years.  Orcas do not normally feed on Pink Salmon as they are feeding on Chinook Salmon at the time of the Pink's return.  Chinook are much larger and provide much greater nutrition value for the Orcas.  Chum can also reach much larger size than Pinks.
The Southern Residents can be expected to be feeding in Puget Sound as long as the Chum Salmon runs continue.  Two of the three pods (K &L) will spend much of the winter in the open ocean moving as far south as Monterey CA.  One pod (J) spends more time in inside waters of Washington and British Columbia.
Images taken from Alki Beach Park in West Seattle.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Two or three Southern Resident Killer Whale pods were in Puget Sound today feeding on Chum Salmon.  This is the first observed visit by the Resident Pods this Fall.  The whales spent much of their time off Vashon Island.  They were seen headed north at 1:30pm off Bainbridge Island.  The video was taken from Constellation Marine Reserve in West Seattle about 3 miles from the whales....so quality is not good.

Monday, November 2, 2015


The first big storm of Fall arrived the day before Halloween and brought heavy rain and wind to Western Washington.  We spent the weekend at Long Beach WA and were lucky enough to have breaks in the weather long enough for three good beach walks.  Washington State is expected to have normal Fall weather during this El Nino year with dryer and warmer weather coming after the start of Winter.  Sanderlings were present in large numbers and one dead gull (not sure the species) and one dead Cassin's Auklet were seem.  We lucked out with a very nice sunset on Halloween....
A question often asked is:  What causes sea foam on the beach?
For the answer go here:  http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/seafoam.html

3 Spined Stickleback

Cassin's Auklet



Glove chase

Sea Rocket and dune grass

Sea foam - Popping these bubbles can release toxic algal particles into the air...if toxic algal cells are part of the makeup of the sea foam

Sea foam - popping these bubbles can be harmful to your health

Razor Clam shell

Seal flipper

Gretchen and sea foam

Happy Halloween