Spring break for the birds

This is Protection Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Discovery and Sequim Bays. It’s just far enough from shore that it doesn’t lend itself to a good, clear shot. But it’s an interesting place. This is Puget Sound’s location for the avian version of spring break.

Protection Island is a 364-acre national wildlife refuge closed humans but it’s a hotspot for Washington state birds. An estimated 70% of the nesting seabird populations of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca come here. It’s home to one of the largest nesting colonies of rhinocerous auklets in the world and one of the last two nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area.

There is a 200 yard buffer zone around the island so taking closeups of the feathered visitors is off the table.

Obituary for the Four Season Trees

In 2011 and 2012 I posted a series of shots of what I called the “Four Season Trees,” a long line of lombardi poplars that bordered Kitchen-Dick Road. Summer, autumn, winter, and spring shots showed the trees in their seasonal cloaks. In January, a long row of these trees were taken down by the local Public Utility District. Reaching the end of their expected lifespans, branches of the trees had been responsible for a significant power outage in the area and the trees were showing signs of age and decay. Though the run of Four Season Trees were not taken down in January, the reprieve was brief. They’re now gone.

The view has certainly opened up. I had guessed that the trees were a windbreak. Further north along this road their job description included blocking windborne seeds from being blown into a tree farm that grows seed conifers. To date the sawn trees remain stacked as they’re shown in the top shot.