High and Dry

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”

– Joseph Campbell

 

Wednesday September 11

We are at the beach. It's a gorgeous afternoon. Wendy is enjoying a hot and sunny day with a soft sea breeze while just three feet away, I am cool and comfortable in the shade (like a true mushroom)

The tide is heading out fast. Small crabs speed sideways towards the water, racing the tide's ebb.

 

We count eleven jellyfish stranded high and dry on the rocky beach. We believe they are all of the same species as the beautiful 'Lion's Mane' we observed just off Liz and Andy's dock (August 7 Post). Seeing them baking on the rocks like some quivering blob of synthetic goo is heartbreaking. You want to pick them up and throw them back into the surf…but…since they travel on the ocean currents, they'd probably just drift back onto the beach. Their sting remains something to avoid…even though they appear quite dead (at least according to the flies)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion%27s_mane_jellyfish

 

On a ideally clear day (like this one), you can see all the way to Mount Baker in Washington State (Koma Kulshan or 'steep white mountain' to the early Nooksack Indians)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Baker

 

Despite the distance, the mountain's 10,781' snowy peak still projects massive power and energy

 

Mt. Baker is an active stratovolcano (like Mt. Fuji in Japan) and even the threat of eruption, as in 1975, is a major cause for concern.

http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2000/fs059-00/

(yeah, I wish this was our photo)

By 4pm the water has receded to it's lowest and the beach is completely revealed.

 

A guy stomps past us…he's in fishing gear and carryies a big white bucket…

“Sorry about this”, he says as he passes

He's walking hard towards the water…

“We were fishing today”

He gets to the water's edge, stops, lifts the bucket…

“Just putting back what we took”

…and unloads a full load of chum (fish skins and innards) into the shallows.

Wendy and I are rooted in place, mouths agape (awwwkward)

Fish Guy turns and sees us staring…

“The crabs'll eat it up”, he says…”they LOVE it”

Wendy sputters “I guess something will eat it”

Fish Guy concludes the lesson, “You want to do this at low tide though, otherwise it just stinks up the beach”

With that, he wheels on his heels and strides back to his car.

Thank You Fish Guy. Because you dumped your chum bucket at Low Tide…we have avoided 'just stinking up the beach' for yet another day

There are a lot of birds on the beach today…gulls, loons (including nine hatchlings) and ravens. Of that number only one solitary gull is even the least bit interested in Fish Guy's harvest. Finding himself alone with this bonanza seems to mystify the bird. He swims tentatively near the chum line…

…then he flys over to sit in a buoy. You can see his wheels turning, 'say, what's the deal here…it can't be this easy'

A good ten minutes go by before Johnathan Livingston feels safe enough to swim over for a quick test. He darts in, nibbles a bite and then scurries away.

Nothing bad happens to him

J.L. starts swimming in excited, ever tightening circles. This is blowing his mind…you can actually hear tiny gull synapses exploding

He charges directly to the food…'damn the torpedoes''…and starts reefing on a huge slab of filleted fish skin. With a mighty effort he jerks it up into the air and in one gulp, stuffs the entire thing into his craw

 

Grabbing another large chunk of pink flesh, he flies off triumphantly to another nearby buoy.

He makes several more undisturbed trips to his trophy cache of food. All on his own, with no help at all from any of those chum loving crabs, this gull has vindicated Fish Guy's position.

Mission accomplished

 

As we mentioned the other day, our friends at Mountsberg have begun their fall training. This is Michelle (she's really passionate about the outdoors and a very gutsy lady) in the Raptor Center at the 'berg. Michelle Loves her job…because of the cool stuff she gets to do. That's Echo on her wrist…Echo is an Eastern Screech Owl. A tiny perfect predator and as cute as a button, Echo lives at Mountsberg because he lost an eye and can no longer survive in the wild. He participates in education programs that teach kids and adults about owls and the means by which our species and their's can live safely together

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/eastern_screech-owl/id

 

Here's Sandra, another awesome interpreter from Mountsberg. Everyone will of course recognize Sandra from our August 9 and 15 Posts

 

Sandra is a dear friend and someone who is completely devoted to her work. She literally brings it home with her (she lives at Mountsberg). She just came back from a solo trip into the backcountry area of Algonquin Park.

http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/

Algonquin is a vast provincial park on the eastern edge of Ontario. It is a rugged environment with lots of wild, predatory animals. Soloing for a week at Algonquin takes some brass (we're talking spheres). On the last night of her trip, Sandra was the only person on the lake.

We'll let Sandra tell it…

“All of the wildlife was great but the Great Horned Owls were really fun. I had a great conversation with them and called the one in quite close. I kinda felt like they were saying thank you for rescuing one of their wild brethren the week before (rescued a wild great horned that was caught by a fish hook at the north end of the reservoir – what a privileged experience that was!)”

Sandra is also committed to learning photography…here are some of her camping pictures

 

 

Now you know why we love these people.

Hey, wait a minute…isn't she also Falcon Lady?

(shhh…you'll blow her secret identity)

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle

 

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4 thoughts on “High and Dry

  1. Echo is quite offended that you got her confused with Otus, our dearly-missed one-eyed screech who passed away last year. Echo would like you to know that she has two perfectly good eyes, thank you very much, and is a ‘she’, not a ‘he’, and also that her reason for a captive life is human imprinting due to her nest tree being cut down.

    Echo wishes you a pleasant day.

  2. Where is the picture of the new haircut? It sounds as though you are missing Mountsberg as I am sure they are missing you too. My family is going on a bison ride this Sunday and it won’t be the same without either you or Brian.
    Sandra’s mommy

  3. Love you guys. Tried to send you a photo of “Steve” but my phone wouldn’t send it. He told me to say Hi to Moose and tell him that he wishes he was there to teach the public all about him.

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