Dead Fin Whale

Last Saturday, April 13th, I was participating in a beach naturalist class being held at Seahurst Park in Burien, Washington. When our group arrived that morning at 11 am there was a dead whale on the beach. It had just floated in about an hour before, and as the tide went out, we were able to walk right up to it.

The Seattle Aquarium, who was putting on the naturalist class, had many experts on site, and over the course of the afternoon biologists, ecologists, and scientists of all kinds arrived to inspect the animal and figure out what to do with it.

The experts told us that the whale was a Fin Whale, which is not common in the Puget Sound waters. There are only about 200-300 in this area of Washington at any given time. They also told us that they believed it died because it was struck by a large container ship.

It was very sad for me to see a dead whale, but at the same time I felt very honored to have the opportunity to see such a beautiful creature up close.

I attached a link to a news article written about the whale if you are interested in reading more about this unfortunate, but exciting occurrence.


Red Crossbills on Alki Beach, Washington

Red Crossbills are one of my absolute favorite birds. While on my morning walk along Alki Beach with Nature Man, we spotted of flock of these little beauties in a pine tree. There were about 8 total and as usual, they basically ignored us as they gorged on pine cone seeds. We were able to get very close and several “showed off” for us as we watched them hang upside down and hop around through the branches. We have now seen Red Crossbills on 3 separate occasions in Washington state– always near saltwater, and always in pine trees. Their beaks are designed specifically to get inside of pine cones, and they are amazing to watch!

Here is a map of the location where we spotted them today.

Facts about Red Crossbills:

  • Males are red and females are greenish-yellow in coloring, but shades can vary greatly between birds.
  • They are a member of the Finch family.
  • Red Crossbills bread in coniferous forests of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Adventure to Stehekin, Washington

This is a glimpse into an incredible adventure we took last September, 2012. Stehekin is part of North Cascades National Park and is only accessible by a 4-hour ferry boat ride, or by float plane. It is one of the most wild and remote places in Washington state, and is known for it’s abundance of black bears!

White River Falls, Oregon

ImageThis photo was taken April 1st, 2013 at White River Falls State Park in Oregon State. It is a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a dry, desolate, and remote area of central Oregon. Off camera, I am standing near the crumbled remains of a dam built in 1901 that is no longer in use. It was a warm and beautiful day, but unfortunately we didn’t see any wildlife here other than sage brush and a few crows… At least the waterfall was worth the stop!