Images and video shot with my Olympus OM-D, E-M5 (micro four thirds) + Lumix 100-300mm lens.
The bluffs above South Beach at Seattle’s Discovery Park are layered records of glacial history. There’s Vashon Till (mixed rocks, sand and silt), Esperance Sand, Lawton Clay (a blue-grey clay and silt) and Kitsap Formation sediments.
The beach itself sloughed away from the cliffs, and is now a plateau of sand, cobbles, boulders and erratics.
When low tide approaches zero, as it did for two days earlier this month …
… the water’s edge reveals the eel grass that draws in Brant Geese for shoreline foraging.
We first saw Puget Sound Brants scarfing eel grass last year, while sitting alone at Vashon Island’s eastern shore. The geese swam toward us, within yards, barely noticing my shutter click.
This year, on the much busier South Beach with dog walkers and beach combers, the Brants give us humans wide berth … and decline to turn their photogenic faces to the light.
We pass the remnants of a Harbor seal pup protection area … broken marine-mammal tape and signs pointing to a now-vacant haul-out zone. In a few months, a new crop of pups will be back on the beaches, with Seal Sitters and wildlife appreciators looking out for the young ones’ privacy and safety as they warm up and rest in these mixed-use environments.
Just past the sign, a flock of winter Scaup flushes across Puget Sound with a Red-breasted Merganser flying solo above his Scaup mates.
The Brant Geese fly back and forth between foraging beaches, dotting the pastel blues with their blacks and whites.
In the changeable light of the afternoon, Puget Sound morphs from golds to blues to pinks to blues again.
We see the telltale geysers of tidal life … the subterranean organisms proving their viability and vitality.
And the nearby American Crows (or Northwestern Crows), watching, listening for those very signs, so they can root out those burrows with their beaks.
Way offshore, we hear the bark and cough of a California sea lion surfacing, then realize it’s two sea lions, swimming in tandem.
The sun drops and the tide dips –receding from a 1.3 on its way down to zero.
South Beach then stages the scene that is my last photo for the night — West Point Lighthouse reflected in one massive tide pool.
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