[Tweeters] Spouting Whale, Blooming Grebe, etc.

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Mon Apr 4 21:46:14 PDT 2016

Bopped over to Fort Worden, here in ol' Port Townsend twice today, once early, once late in the day.
In the morning I walked out on the pier - it was dribbling rain slightly, and a bit breezy, etc - not the greatest viewing conditions. Way out in the middle of Admiralty Inlet ("The Big A"), in the gray, the chop and whatever, was a whole lot of seabirds floating in the tide currents, mostly Rhinos I suppose, but couldn't quite see clearly enough. That was because:
#1. The Sun was in my eyes. #2. I had raindrops on my lenses.
Oh sure, blame Mother Nature, blame the equipment. The Sun suggested "Like, uh, why don't you look a bit left of my face, ya goof!", and I did look a little bit North, and that's when I saw it rolling out of the grey waters ; a big Gray Whale up once, then up again and - exhale! Thar she blows.
Always cool to see a Great Whale in Puget Sound. This big one was headed South toward Everett, where I've seen them dredging the shallows down there in Ghost Shrimp heaven. It's like a big shrimp deli, on an alley off the main (Pacific) street, that some Gray whales have found out about. Mudville Deli.
Leaving the Sound I headed up to the prairie - Kah Tai that is - and rustled up some bloomin' prairie flowers (visually only) - them flowers changin' all the time. I first noted Camas blooming on 3/20, saw more a few days later, and today even more open. The "blue-and-gold " time in the prairie phenology, with the blue Camas and yellow Lomatium flowers predominating the color scheme. But there are a number of other more subtle players out there in the big picture - bright pink Geum trifolium, magenta Olsynium, the ever-subtle Chocolate Lily, and surprise - Naked Broomrape!
Naked Broomrape, I might remind Tweeters, is not a series of unfortunate events, but a wildflower of great beauty, with sort of an unfortunate common name. ( I tried to explain how that happened in a 5/13/14 tweeters post). In a pretty short prairie (most of the above mentioned plants are less than 6 inches tall right now), the gorgeous Broomrape is especially diminutive, and easy to miss in the other lush spring growth - it's single nodding flower of purple with a yellow tubular throat is just a few inches tall and the plant has about no visible leaves. Like a number of such charming things, the Broomrape is a parasite - this plant gets it's goodies off the root of another plant, and doesn't have much need for it's own leaves.
It was a perfect April scene at the prairie: blooming grassland, and green-gold blooming (golf course) maples, with a backdrop of dark impending rain clouds.I went home to work on indoor projects.
Later, afterwork, I headed back down to the pier at Fort Worden again for another pier review. April being kind of a tease, the Sun was now out again, and at my back. Just off of piers end were just a few Horned Grebes all in Winter garb but one was blooming (or should I say pluming) - not totally decked out in breeding party attire, but lookin' good.
Jeff GibsonApril fool, inPort Townsend Wa
PS: Mother Nature did later suggest that I clean my binocular lenses. Thanks Mom!

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