[Tweeters] Pier Review

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Mar 17 08:11:08 PDT 2016

I was so thrilled with my Ides of March visit to the pier at Fort Worden, here in Port Townsend, that I went down there in the morning yesterday to sea what I could see.
I was hoping that a bit of morning light would show some new sea creatures, but the tide was up, and the water below the pier still dark. Near shore it was pretty quiet bird-wise, but way out on the Sound, in a tidal rip, a big feeding frenzy was going on - a great number (I didn't count) of Rhinoceros Auklets, cormorants and gulls, were piling on a new feeding spot.
Then off to Sequim for some more medical tests. I think I've been tested for almost everything at this point, except my brain - I think I'm on my own for that one. Anyhoo, if one takes the Sequim Ave. exit into downtown Sequim, you can see a remnant of the Garry Oak groves, and a bit of the ol' prairie there. Sequim has done a good thing preserving these wonderful trees - there are even some big ones incorporated as street trees. I'm a bit of a Oak freak, so they were nice to see.
After my test I went off to work a few hours at a landscape job in Cape George, which was remarkably calm and sunny. Heard a single Western Grebe calling way out toward Protection Island- haven't heard one in awhile.
After work, I again stopped off for another pier review at the Marine Science Center. Oh sure, I know I'm always blathering on about the spot, but it does change all the time. Again, the tide was out at 430, and the viewing light was good. The pier regulars, Rock Pigeon, and Kingfisher were about, also a few Buffleheads, RB Mergansers, Guillemots, and a pair of Marbled Murrelets.
Obvious even from shore, was a single River Otter diving and surfacing around the floating dock. I walked out there, snooping the water again- the swarms of little Mysid shrimp of the day before were gone, but I did spy some much smaller zooplankton bopping around - type unknown. Near the surface , above the eelgrass bed, were numbers of young herring -about 1 -1/2" long - that I got very close binocular views of.
The big show of the day turned out to be the Otter, which continued diving around the pier the whole time I was there, easily seen in the clear water. It was making a systematic search of most of the pilings supporting the pier. It would surface, then dive down, spiraling around each post. Then it would surface and look right at me - just checking - and dive again.
All winter I'd been wondering how the very obvious Kelp Crabs clinging to the pilings had escaped the gnarly jaws of the Otters down here - they eat a lot of crabs here - and on this pier review did note that there seemed to be a smaller number of them, probably no coincidence.
Still looking around, I did see some Tubesnouts snouting about, doing their thing.
Jeff Gibsonsnouting about inPort Townsend Wa

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