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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

March 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Eagles on the mend after accidental poisoning

Six eagles found nearly dead over the weekend from poisoning after they fed on the carcasses of two euthanized horses have nearly recovered, the wildlife director at a Bainbridge animal shelter said today.     One of the sickened eagles, too ill to stand, on the examination table at the West Sound Wildlife Shelter. Volunteer veterinarian Charles Crawford,…

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March 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

All hail, the mighty Otter

No, not this kind: Homer the otter enjoys a Capelin at Point Defiance Park and Zoo in Tacoma. Photo by Alan Berner, Seattle Times staff photographer   This kind: My beaten, battered OtterBox case for my beloved iPhone. How rugged is this great little thing? So rugged that when I found my phone this morning on the top of…

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March 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Can you identify this spider?

It’s often the new or unique that stand out to us.  Paired with its red head and odd shape, that was certainly the case for this spider.  I found it while digging in the familiar territory of my yard garden recently and, as soon as it turned up, I knew it was something I hadn’t…

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March 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Spring: In many places, it’s earlier than ever

Welcome to spring. To many, the most welcome of seasons, our time of birth and renewal arrives in the Northern hemisphere March 20. Already the Puget lowlands have responded to the longer days. The swamp lanterns are glowing (thanks John Gussman, for this beautiful photo from the Elwha Valley, taken last week!)   Swamp lanters glow in…

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March 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Kelp armageddon at the mouth of the Elwha

There are winners and losers as the Elwha dam removal project underway transforms the Olympic Mountain watershed.

Running 45 miles from its origins in the snow fields of the Olympics, the Elwha reaches the saltwater of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where a new world is unfolding.

Melissa Foley took this photo of kelp on its holdfast

Melissa Foley took this photo of kelp on its holdfast

 With the Elwha Dam gone as of just about a year ago, and Glines Canyon Dam nearly 2/3 down, silt and sediment, wood, leaves, sticks and other organic material long trapped behind the dams is cutting loose.

Some of it is banked in soft slumping heaps along the river banks, and even the deepest pools in the river have filled in. And some sediment is making it all the way to the near shore at the river mouth.

Where, researchers tracking sediment transport by the river before, during and after dam removal could tell you, a kelp Armageddon is underway. “It’s amazing,” said Helen Berry, Marine Ecologist with the state Department of Natural Resources.

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March 14, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Remembering Alden Mason: a celebration

Artist Alden Mason helped us see the landscapes of the Northwest in a new way. Even its most familiar features, from trees to salmon. Alden Mason, Salmon Talk, 2005. Mixed media on paper. 26 x 35 inches. Courtesy Foster/White Gallery Mason died last month, and when I wrote his obituary, arrangements for a service had not…

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