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Friday, July 31, 2009

Anacortes Ferry Terminal and a Close Look at L41

On Wednesday we headed to the mainland to meet up with some friends from Portland and catch the Seattle Mariners game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. Still in the middle of the heat wave, we ended up being part of the hottest game in Mariners history on the day where the city Seattle set a record for the hottest temperature ever reached at 103. Thank goodness for air conditioned hotel rooms!

Yesterday we got caught in traffic on the way back north (that's one thing I don't miss at all while living on the island - here in the San Juans we don't even have a traffic light, let alone rush hour) and we ended up just missing our ferry by three cars. We had a lengthy 3.5 hour wait for the next ferry, but luckily it was finally cooling down and there is a nearby beach and marsh to explore. So, camera in hand, I decided to see what I could see.

There were a lot of ring-billed gulls in and among the glaucous-winged gulls, including this one that wasn't too skittish at all:


I think there was a gull on every single piling in the bay:


Some of the pilings also have nest boxes mounted on them, which have become the residences of purple martins, two of which I could see flying overhead. Another bird highlight was a single Caspian tern. After walking the beach I decided to follow the trail into the marsh, where there was an abundance of cattails:


I also found this flowering plant that was hard to photograph in the breeze, but this shot captured it pretty well. It's bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcmara):


There are also a lot of thistles and teasels in bloom right now. These first two shots of thistle species were taken at American Camp today, and the next two are Fuller's teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) photos that were taken at the Anacortes ferry terminal:




This one had a bumble bee on it!

Today the heat wave finally broke and temperatures are back to their normal summer range of the the 60s and 70s. It was a beautiful day to get out on the water, and I did just that while working on the Western Explorer. All three pods were headed in after looping way out west last night, and we met up with the lead group. It was the L12 subpod, and strangely they were more than 8 miles ahead of the other whales!

When we got on scene they were all nicely grouped up and moving quickly towards San Juan Island. We followed them for a while, then jetted off to look at a minke whale feeding near Hein Bank. Then, before heading back to Friday Harbor, we met up with the whales again just off of South Beach. They had all spread out and were foraging, and we got a nice look at L41 Mega as he zig-zagged on by:


3 comments:

Michele said...

Great photos!! Beautiful botanical shots...

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika
Never mind the orcas would ya look at that RBG! A real stonker, quite some time since I saw one over here...must try harder.

D

Monika said...

Thanks Michele!

Dave - He/she was a beauty! It's a great time of year for gulls over here, and I'm loving it. A good five or six species are common right now.