RonK

A Creek Preservation Project on Earth Day 2018 & When is a plant a weed?

 

Mt.baker loomed above Canyon Creek

Canyon Creek, Whatcom Co., WA State

April 22, 2018 (Earth Day)

There were so many Earth Day activities to attend that I had some difficulty choosing which to spend my day with. I chose to go with the Whatcom Land Trust that has preserved over 20,000 acres from Farm land to salmon spawning habitat, to watersheds, to river corridors, to old growth forests and parks and has facilitated preservation of thousands more acres.

Ocean and Beach Plastic Pollution Locally and Globally

 

A derelict sail boat washed up on a local beach from a winter storm a couple of years ago. It is polluting the beach and bay as it sheds particles from its fiberglass hull. Plastic decking has come off the bow and a number of other plastic items are wedged under the boat, not to mention the numerous cans of spray paint used to tag this mess. 

 

The Columbia River Rolling Into the Pacific Ocean -Part 2,

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment Washington, at the mouth of the Columbia River

We left off in Part 1 at Celilo Falls and The Dalles Dam, the last dam before the river meets the ocean. This remaining portion of the river’s journey is also spectacular although the landscape takes on a different character.  After leaving the Canadian Rockies, the terrain along the river has been relatively barren, semi-arid plateau with the river cutting deep canyons through ancient basalt flows. The vegetation is largely shrubs and grasses with some pine where it approaches the mountains.

Leaving The Dalles, the arid brown landscape of the Columbia Plateau gives way to greens of a more marine climate as it heads toward the ocean. This change is exemplified by the lushness and pastoral beauty of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.

“Roll on Columbia” The River that Drains the Pacific Northwest – Part I

The Columbia River, near Wenatchee WA, about mid way between its origins in British Columbia and its mouth at the Pacific Ocean.

 

I grew up along this river in the Tri-City area and have had occasion to travel along much if its1,200 mile course from British Columbia to its mouth where it joins the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River and its adjacent territory has a long and storied geologic and human history. More recently it was in large part instrumental in the settlement of the west and particularly the Pacific Northwest. The river was the last leg of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition which ultimately contributed to the opening up of the Washington and Oregon territory for settlement.

I’ll present the river in a two part series as it got kind of lengthy. This first part covers the river from its origins in Canada to The Dalles and Celilo Falls Oregon. The second part will cover its last 180 or so miles as it approaches and then meets the Pacific Ocean.

Sharing a Salmon Lunch with a Bald Eagle

 

This Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) has something pink like a salmon in its talon

Along the salmon spawning creeks and rivers of the west coast, winter is spawning time for salmon and gorging time for eagles. And it is great for us as well to watch them play out their age old sustenance routines in their natural habitat.

Snowy Owls and Trumpeter Swans are Snow Birds to the Pacific Northwest

Juvenile female Snowy Owl, Sandy Point WA

 

November/December, 2017

At the Edge of the Salish Sea

These two snowy white birds have recently returned to our area after summering and breeding in Alaska (Trumpeter Swan) and the arctic tundra (Snowy Owl). One does not have to be an avid birder to celebrate their annual arrival as both are real showboats with their white feathers and their relatively large size. The snowy Owl is the largest by weight of the NA owls  and has a 50” wingspan while the Trumpeter Swan is our largest native waterfowl, stretching up to six feet and weighing up to 26 lbs.

Fall Colors and Mountain Goats in the Mt. Baker Wilderness Area


North Cascades Mountain Goat (Oreamnos america) grazing on huckleberries and grasses on a warm October afternoon. What a beautiful specimen, well muscled with thick lustrous white fur and appearing very well fed.

Mount Baker Wilderness Area,

North Cascades Range,

NW Washington State

October 5, 2017

 

August Wildflowers on the Mountain

 

 

Yellow and Pink Monkey Flower, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National forest

 

Wild Flowers are usually aflame in mid August around the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, and so they were to the extent to which we could reach them. After a snowy winter and a near record snow pack, the snow had not yet melted from one of my favorite mountain trails.

The Great American Eclipse from 49 Degrees North

IMG_1767 (2)The sun 19 minutes into the eclipse, Note the sun spots (blips) at the center of the big bite.

 

Although we, in Bellingham WA, were not within the total eclipse range, we were close enough to get some feel for this exciting celestial event. Being just 20 miles from the Canadian border and about 300 miles north of the band of totality we were able to experience 90% of the eclipse.