Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A trip to the beach

One of the advantages to living in the Puget Sound basin is that you can easily drive to different habitats within a short period of time. The coast and the mountains are less than two hours away, Portland, Vancouver B.C. and a desert are all within three hours.

In the Western lowlands the weather is driven by what happens out in the Pacific Ocean. Everything hinges on the pressure out at sea. The further inland you go the less you realize the powerhouse off shore. When planning a trip to the coast you have to trust the weather satellites, make your best plan and take your chances.

This past weekend it looked as if the weather was going to offer up a rare fall high pressure window with mild winds, sunshine and warm temperatures. My wife had just returned from a trip to Florida and I had been working on remodeling around the house for the past five weeks. I wanted to get a way and the weather satellite on Friday's late news showed a gap coming for one day, Sunday.

Sunday morning came in cold and foggy here at the South end of the Puget Sound. We had lunch, clothing, camera,coffee and dogs loaded up and out the door at 0700. The trip out to the coast was slower than expected, temperatures were in the mid thirties with patchy heavy fog. Westward on I-5 south to Olympia then out to Aberdeen. Since this is my blog I get very myopic. I only see what animals are in it for me.

Our first stop was a break for the dogs. They are still puppies and held out all the way to Aberdeen. We stopped on the south side of town by a mall for a quick romp. Within seconds of stopping I noticed a small group of crows in the heavy fog when one of them jumped and exposed white feathers on it's wings.

This is the second bird like this I have found this year. In fact this is the second bird like this I have seen in over forty years of bird watching.

Just minutes outside of West Port the sky opened to a brilliant blue with wispy clouds over the ocean. Here is how the day went.

Strings of Brown Pelicans were orbiting the town of West Port clockwise. We worked our way to the North side of town were the break water let us get a better look.

They were getting closer

Then they came in.


We leashed up the dogs and took a walk out into the marina and then out to the far break water.

This Common Loon in winter colors was preening along our walk and allowed us to get very close.

After a good preening it is time to show off!

This big boy passed us on his way out to open water.

As the Sea Lion was headed out the fishermen were headed in.

So, here we are in Washington state, Sea Lions and Harbor seals are plentiful at the opening to a large bay. These guys are out there surfing on the waves hitting the breakers. I am not paranoid but the thought of sharks does come to mind.

Pelagic Cormorant

After a while we headed South toward Tokeland. For years now we have made a fall pilgrimage to the coast for the Dungeness crabs. This year is exceptional. If you are not into crabs that is fine. If you are, nothing beats one caught and cooked just before you eat it. Sorry, some how I did not get any pictures of the crabs.

Marbled Godwits at the Tokland Marina

A better look

Finally we get to the beach.


The water was cold, Phoebe did not mind at all while chasing the ball. Lister on the other hand made sure he did not get his belly wet.

Plenty of room to run

The dry sand proved to be as much fun as the wet.



In the end it was a beautiful day and fun was had by all! We spent the day at the beach and had a fantastic drive with the leaves in fall colors. Home safe with plenty of time for a leisurely dinner and very tired puppies.


Anonymous said...

Your pictures are beautiful, and the blog is wonderful to read. I love seeing the dogs on the beach! It makes me want to call in sick tomorrow and bring our babies down to Charleston..you've inspired me:)

Jackless Jill said...

Truly amazing Dea, your pictures brings to life the amazing but unexpected sunshine we've been having for the fall in the great Pacific Northwest. I'm sitting here totally relaxed from reading your blog and viewing your photos even though I've had a hell of a day and week.

Anonymous said...

GREAT beach & dog pictures...wish we had the day off to go with you guys...XOXOOXXOOX Pat & Mark