The western hemlock forest is about 80 years old. The Lake Cavanaugh area was nearly devoid of trees by 1940. There is a small remnant patch of old trees on the steepest upper slopes that were either too hard to log or poor quality timber.(HERE), the trees that were left are habitat for marbled murrlets and hence some of the forest is protected. And some of the slopes may be precluded from logging due to potential landslides and debris flow hazards. I say 'may' because that can be a geology judgement call clear cut logging has been permitted on active alluvial fan areas.
Monday, May 29, 2023
I have had numerous ventures up the north slope of Frailey Mountain south of Lake Cavanaugh in Skagit County. The slopes are steep and streams on the mountain have had a history of debris flows; hence, I have had numerous ventures assessing the geology risks of the area.
The forest on the lower sloes is predominantly western hemlock. It is one of the easier forest areas to walk through as there is very little understory brush as the hemlocks shade out just about everything. But amongst the hemlocks are big(!) hints of the past.
Western red cedar stump amongst the western hemlocks
Large cedar stump and if you look carefully an even bigger one back in the trees
Saturday, May 6, 2023
I was alerted to the nearby presence of a northern flicker by the drumming on a metal gutter. The bird then swooped past my head and landed on the edge of a plowed area where he confronted another flicker.
The two birds pushed out there chests and faced off for several minutes. Occasionally one would jump upward and the other would respond in kind.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
Approaching a pond in eastern Washington there was a sudden loud splashing. It has been a cold spring, but on this day the sun was warm. The splashing was from turtles jumping into the water upon my approach.
Turtle heads in the water and one bolder turtle on the shore
While pausing nearby one the the turtles began walking across the grass away from the pond
A bit later I heard rustling and saw the turtle in a patch of bark chips
This turtle kept going across a street and off to parts unknown to me at least
I suspect this turtle is a female and was off to lay eggs some distance from the pond. Painted turtles are common. This particular turtle habitat is clearly not natural with lawn and pavement. But the pond itself is not natural; the pond us part of a broad irrigation system. Prior to the irrigation system there would hev been no turtles within several miles of this location.