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I took advantage of a spring minus tide to explore an interesting historical feature along the Bellingham waterfront and to investigate how the intertidal denizens were faring in and around this feature. As you will see, this is not a pristine Salish Sea beach, as if there were such a thing anymore.  However, in spite of 150 years of habitat trashing, there remains a remnant of an earlier ecosystem.

         2015-04-18 tin pile beach 012
                                                    The big tin rock

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Join me below the tangle of orange bull kelp to explore this bit of beach.
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Great Blue Heron @ Padden
My favorite picture of a GBH taken in the Padden Creek estuary within a quarter mile of the Heronry. This was taken a few years ago in early spring, about now.

The Great Blue Heron (GBH; Ardea herodias) is found in all parts of North and Central America. Although many areas like to claim them as their own, residents of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea in particular, feel a strong affinity for these statuesque creatures. To most locals, they are right up there with eagles and gulls as being part of our “native” landscape and part of our ecosystem. While not endangered at this time, they are considered a species of interest.

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
As is probably of true a large number of heronries and their habitats around the country, our local ones have been encroached upon by development, polluted by industry, and degraded by loss of habitat. We have four such heronries in Whatcom County (the far northwestern corner of Washington State), and all have required preservation and reparation efforts to keep them viable. Recently significant restoration efforts have been taken locally and the Great Blue Heron (GBH) seems to be holding its own. This diary shows our local GBHs from one heronry that has survived in spite of habitat loss and industrial encroachment to within 30 yards of its closest nesting trees.

Please follow below the intricately woven heron's nest to see the herony itself being built by Mom and Pop herons.

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Fri Apr 03, 2015 at 07:30 AM PDT

The Daily Bucket: Spring Starts

by RonK

Spring is always when the important things begin, at least to me. Color returns to our gray veiled water, sky, and landscape. Now that there is light it is time to get the vegetable and herb gardens going and try to net the tender shoots before the deer sniff them out and nip all the young buds.

2015-03-31 heron2 042
They got some of the Bergenia stalks but not all of them

Recent buckets by OD and Milly have roused me to take a few shots of my own backyard. It is interesting to compare our growing progress. Although we are all in the PNW part of Washington State, on or very near the water, just 54 and 28 miles apart (as the crow flies), we have rather different micro-climates that make some differences in the timing of growth. Milly is clearly in a rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, and OD gets some moderating effects of the shadow as well.  (my photos were taken on 3/31/15.)

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Continue below the orange mat of compost for more.
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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
I have a beautiful camellia bush/tree that has been at the house since long before I bought it 40 years ago. Below you see its size and although fading badly now, it has had its best flowering year in my memory. As you can see, it has been shaped to be tree-like to allow light into the kitchen windows behind it.

I have a question for the botanists bucketeers and others who might be able to explain it's various and variegated coloring characteristics illustrated below.  

                    2015-03-04 camellia 005

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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
IMG_1158 - Copy

Our national emblem, the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalu) is the only eagle unique to North America. As I am sure many of you know, had Ben Franklin had his way, our symbol would have been the Wild Turkey. According to Franklin, the eagle

” … is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his living honestly. … Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”
Maybe Ben was right about the eagle. Here one flees from a dive bombing crow.

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Follow below the aerie nesting material to see more on this matter of eagles.

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Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 07:30 AM PST

The Daily Bucket: Salmon Come Home

by RonK

                        Blue-Salmon-Spawning
                            Blue Salmon Spawning - Southern Oregon Gallery

In order to return home salmon often have to jump, thus their name which comes from the Latin salmo, which in turn comes from salire, meaning "to leap". (Wikipedia and other sites)

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
The six species of west coast Salmonids (Oncorhynchus spp) are migratory fish that may travel thousands of miles from their native streams or rivers and across the Pacific Ocean to Alaskan waters and along the Aleutian archipelago. Most travel for at least two years (pinks) and others for four to five years, feeding and growing in the northern Pacific. Historically, Chinook salmon for example (aka King, Spring, or Tyee [when greater than 30 lbs.]), were found to grow up to a hundred pounds and more from feeding in the icy waters of the north pacific ocean, rich in nutritious food fish and plankton. When they reach sexual maturity their “return home” genes are triggered hormonally to tell them that it is time to begin their final journey to their natal stream to spawn the next generation that will begin the venerable cycle again.

Please step over the salmon egg sac below and continue with the story:

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This diary describes an Ice Age Floods Institute field trip that I took in September that explored some of the remnants of the ice age floods in the pacific Northwest that periodically burst from Glacial Lake Missoula and later from Lake Columbia over the last approximately one million years. This particular field trip covered the Central Columbia region, the Hanford Reach National Monument, White Bluffs, including the larger Pasco Basin. This diary covers just one segment of this huge flood area that is too large to describe in a single diary. I described the part that flooded the Walla Walla Valley previously and plan to cover other areas in the future.

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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

                                  The Columbia River turns West through Wallula Gap



             Follow along below the tangled Tumble Weed for a tour back to the Pleistocene

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2014-10-28 Whatcom Falls Fall 035

An overcast October day seemed like a great time to take a hike though Whatcom Falls Park (Bellingham WA) to get some pics of Whatcom Creek and the turning foliage. The city park has been around for over 100 years but some of the infrastructure was built during the depression era (WPA). The creek drains from Lake Whatcom and runs about 3 miles into Bellingham Bay. The drop of about 400 feet from the lake to the bay enables a number of picturesque waterfalls both within and outside of the park itself. At the head is a pond called Derby Pond , specifically designed for youngsters’ fishing in the spring – no adults allowed to fish. The park also houses a fish hatchery with Rainbow Trout as big as small salmon. On the Creek’s course to the bay, it runs through Whatcom Falls Park, an industrial area, then through town, and over a final waterfall into Marine Heritage Park where there is a salmon hatchery. Along the creek are popular and well used walking, running, and biking trails that meander through cedar, fir, vine and big leaf maple trees. All are illustrated below the tangled roots on the trail. Be careful not to trip on them.

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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Mt. Shuksan in the clouds across Picture Lake
Mt. Skuksan
Last weekend appeared as if it might be last chance I could get up to Mount Shuksan  and Mt. Baker National Forest before the snows set in. So, with grand kids again, I went up to see the Fall colors and what happened to the plants that I saw on my last foray a couple of months ago.

This is largely a photo diary of Alpine scenery in the Mt. Baker National Forest and Wilderness Area. So follow along below the withered and drying Fragile Fern (Cystopteris fragilis) to see more of the majesty of the Cascade Mountains.

As is apparent, it was mostly cloudy, rendering a muted and misty landscape, although the welcome sun peaked through from time to time.

Photos are all in lightbox so click away for enlargements.

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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
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                                                      Pinot Noir on the vine

Follow below the tangled grape vines to hear about the frogs and snakes.

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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
I took a late August trip to the Mt. Baker National Forest that features both Mt. Baker and Mt. Shucksan to see the sights with grandkids again. Accompanying me were cousins, Ryan (13) and Ava (7). As before, we stopped at Picture Lake for some shots of Mt. Shucksan. Last year it was too misty to see much of the mountain but the misty lake was cool. We got the both the lake and the mountain this time.

                                    2014-08-22 Mt. baker - 14 008

                                     Picture Lake and Mt. Shucksan

Continue below the tangled Mountain Spikemoss to see more mountains and their flora.

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Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 07:15 AM PDT

The Daily Bucket: A return to Haida Gwai

by RonK

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
A couple of years ago I wrote a diary concerning a fishing trip to Haida Gwaii, formerly “The Queen Charlotte Islands,” of British Columbia. I was fortunate to be able to return in July of this year. As much as I enjoy the world-class fishing, that is only part of the draw. The seemingly primeval land appears mostly untouched by encroaching hands that plundered the lands and wildlife further south, down the pacific coast. However, this is only a relative statement. Serious cultural, social, and wildlife damage was done here too.

reed salmon

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