Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Orcas Red Eye and a Wildlife First (for me)

I traveled the "Orcas Red Eye" this morning. This entails rolling out of bed at 4:10 and being on the road by 4:15. At 5:30 I joined the rest of the bleary headed workers on the ferry to Orcas Island at 5:30. I pulled my wool hat over my eyes and was oblivious to the world as the ferry engines took me to my destination. A nice deep one hour nap.

Some good geology work and chance to see some very good bedrock exposures. Also some wildlife interactions including a wildlife first for me.

My first site was bit cliffy and good to be be wide awake. But I enjoyed hearing this loon dive and resurface below me while I plotted and schemed routes down a cliffy slope for a proposed shoreline access trail.

The rhythmic diving and surfacing of the loon (he could hold his breath a long time) was disrupted by the honking of a pair of geese.

I visited three sections of shoreline on Orcas and a pair of geese flew into all three sites honking while I was there. A geese conspiracy? A pair of geese somehow wronged by me in the past coming to disrupt my quiet? Or am I misunderstanding them and they were happy to see me. Most likely they could care less about me and their noise had other purposes.

The tide was way out so I saw lots of starfish. The orange ones are easy to spot, so I always like seeing the purple ones.

But the exciting wildlife was not captured with pictures. While traversing through the forest, I flushed a turkey vulture off of dead deer. A bit unexpected, but the big first came later and made me yelp.

I was walking a rocky shore reach and a wildly chattering bird landed on my head. My hands shot up and I gave a yelp fully expecting a beak to start jabbing my head. Then another bird landed on my head! This very unexpected event ended very shortly with my two "attackers" flying off still chattering madly. Turns out they were having some sort of territorial dispute and my head was just a clever defensive maneuver spot. 

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