Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where the Cascades Meet the Sea

North Washington State Parks Ranger Amber Forest left the gates open for almost 70 of us as we joined local marine biologist Doug Stark and Beach Naturalist volunteers at Larrabee State Park for a night time tide pool viewing during a winter minus tide. Thanks to ReSources for Sustainable Communities and the North Sound Baykeepers.

The value of the Chuckanut Range goes far beyond the "extraction of natural resources"and developments that can and will happen in the future.  It is a classroom for young and old alike. The value of the Chuckanut Range for education, recreation, clean water and air and as a corridor for wildlife will enhance our lives as more and more people live in the Salish Sea watershed.

It is estimated that the 7 million people currently living in the Salish Sea watershed has the potential to nearly double in the next 35-50 years.

This close to the metropolitan areas of Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington the Chuckanuts have a much more important role that needs to be defined for the future.

It is open space.

Please click on any photograph to enlarge it.
All photos copyright Paul K. Anderson 2011

Beach Naturalist Volunteers and Staff from ReSources for Sustainable Communities
and North Sound Baykeepers meet prior to the night time beach walk. 

The Vancouver BC to Seattle Amtrak train passes nearby as 70 of us
viewed life on the edge of the Salish Sea.

Moms & Dads, Grandparents, kids, exchange students, couples, friends
all got into the spirit and mystery of the evening - even with the rain.

A new member of our community, recently from Montana,
gets his feet wet in salt water where the Cascades meet the Salish Sea.

The glow of lights of Victoria BC reflect off of the low clouds as a
ReSource trained beach naturalist views a sea star.

Exchange students at Western Washington University listen as a Beach Naturalist
describes the feeding habits of the sea star

"whoa, that was kinda prickly and that gooey stuff that makes it stick to rocks is  -

With great enthusiasm marine biologist Doug Stark kept students -young and old - under his spell as he described
life on the edges of the Salish Sea.

Please support:
ReSources for Sustainable Communties
North Sound Baykeepers
The Chuckanut Conservancy

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ringnecked Pheasant

All photos copyright by Paul K Anderson 2011

The sun and moon were aligning and we were having a "King Tide" here in the 4th Corner.  Tides up to three feet higher than the traditional high tides were arriving and possibly causing damage that we might find in the future as the climate warms.  This morning fortunately was calm and beaches remained intact, dikes weren't scoured away by the tides.  I didn't photograph any damage thankfully but I did find and follow 15 or so Ringneck Pheasants as they fed in early morning light along the banks of the Samish River.

Ringnecked Pheasants are iconic birds for me. Growing up in the mid-west these were the birds of choice for "sportsmen" and I remember how proud I was when my Mom and Grandmother served the family roast pheasant that Sunday evening after I had brought home my first trophy.

Mom had a hat made from the feathers - as it was very stylish for women to wear their best pheasant feather hat at church.  I could tell which of my 10 year old buddies had had a good hunt the previous year when their Mom showed up with a new pheasant hat.

Those hats were a distraction for all the young hunters sitting in church.  I would gaze at those hats and daydream away whole sermons thinking about the next time Dad was going to take my brother and I and a couple of friends out into the cornfields of eastern Iowa. The preacher may have been talking about loaves and fishes but I was sitting there salivating over the potential for roasted pheasant thigh and mashed potatoes smothered with rich brown country gravy.

Those were happy times and that led me to thinking about the role nature plays in our own happiness. I don't know how to describe that in such a short missive but I know we are fortunate to have places like the Chuckanut Range and the surrounding valleys, farmland, deltas, and waters so close to all of us.

I leave you with this short paragraph from Kathleen Dean Moore's latest book of essays titled:

Wild Comfort - The Solace of Nature.

"The earth offers gift after gift - life and the living of it, light and the return of it, the growing things, the roaring things, fire and nightmares, falling water and the wisdom of friends, forgiveness. My god, the gift of forgiveness, time and the scouring tides. How does one accept gifts as great as these and hold them in the mind?"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beauty Surrounds Us in the Chuckanut's and Samish Delta

photographed early Saturday morning 1-15-2011

Great Blue Heron

Adult male Northern Harrier

As I Walk with Beauty 
As I walk, as I walk
The universe is walking with me
In beauty it walks before me
In beauty it walks behind me
In beauty it walks below me
In beauty it walks above me
Beauty is on every side
As I walk, I walk with Beauty.

Traditional Navajo Prayer

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys - Fields Below the Chuckanuts

copyright Paul K Anderson

Mt.Baker Rising Above the Chuckanut's to Cascades Corridor

Snow fell overnight in Bellingham in a peculiar pattern. Just north of Bakerview Road there was little if any.  On my deck I measured a bit over 5 inches.  I decided it was perfect weather for a drive through the Chuckanuts.

To be honest I was envisioning a photograph with an eagle or hawk perched on a post or telephone pole or perhaps the stoic heron with some fresh snow landing on their feathers as I captured the image.  Alas, not to be.  This close to the Salish Sea it was warm enough to have been mostly rain with just a smattering of snow.

Many don't like to go out and photograph in inclement weather, it's either too dark or too gray, too wet.........

But some of the best photographs can be captured on the cusp of weather, coming in or leaving.

Down here on the Samish Delta just southeast of Edison this morning it was dark, gray, drizzly, snowing and for a brief moment partially clear. Cold, clear, northern air pushed the clouds south just enough to briefly reveal Baker in beautiful early morning light. I didn't have time to set up the tripod and use a longer lens so I hand held and cropped this image to draw in Baker as it poked its summit over the Chuckanut's to Cascades Corridor near Blanchard Mt.

copyright 2011 by Paul K. Anderson

Enjoy, and get out and visit the Chuckanuts,  and the small burgs and businesses surrounding it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Beautiful Frosty Morning Below the Chuckanuts

Annual Christmas bird counts were happening on this cold frosty morning.  I decided to get up and watch the sunrise over the Cascades warming up the Samish delta below Blanchard Mountain yesterday.  The birds put on quite a showing near the small town of Edison.

All photos copyright Paul K. Anderson 2011

Happy New Year's Everyone!

Enjoy the Chuckanuts and the surrounding landscape.