Friday, July 30, 2010

Coyotes, Birds, Garden and Whales

Day before yesterday did not start out well. Two coyotes killed a baby goat (fortunately, not one of our grandson's goats). Johnny shot at one coyote to scare them off... they were too far away by then to hit. I barricaded the gate so the goats have to stay close to the barn and can not get out in that field where the coyotes caught the kid.. until we can do something about the varmints. Shirley Puppy alerted us to the danger and went after the coyotes when we arrived to stay with the goats. We need a second dog so one can stay with their charges while the other one chases off the predator. Johnny has now mowed that field so we can more easily see what's going on. Living with wildlife can be challenging.

But the rest of that day was good... visiting Black Oystercatcher sites and meeting another BLOY volunteer who showed us more good BLOY watching spots south of us. We saw fourteen at one site. She will be taking over monitoring the Boiler Bay fledgling(s) (we only found one of the 3 that hatched), freeing us to spend more time on our closer, north coast sites.

Johnny was able to climb The Thumb with me at Road's End this time, after our Boiler Bay rendezvous with the volunteer. One of our Road's End nesting pairs is no longer nesting. I don't know what happened to their eggs/chicks. A second pair has hatchlings that must be very hungry because the parents brought them pieces of shellfish non-stop. The third pair may be nesting on the distant offshore island but we did not locate that nest. It was a lovely day on the coast, fogless and almost windless.

Yesterday was mowing/weeding/hoeing/watering and thistle-pulling day. My garden is springing to life. Amazing what a little water and weeding will do. However, that has created one problem. I replanted a row that had nothing in it... but does now. I don't remember what I originally planted... pumpkins/squash/melons? I replanted winter squash. Both the original seeds, whatever they are, and the new ones are up. They look different. I will have to transplant one of the types into a separate row as they are way too close together. But it's so fun to see the seeds that were just languishing suddenly pop to life! Even one little watermelon that was hiding underground until the peacock left has dared to poke up now that the garden is netted and watered.

Today we spent a few hours on the coast searching for Black Oystercatchers at yet another site: Cape Kiwanda. We found no BLOY but we did find whales. You'll have to trust me that the small dark spot in the water, right in the path of a boat, is a gray whale. Even zoomed in that's hard to tell. The portion showing is only a fraction of the length of the whale, as you will see if you watch the (very long) video that Johnny took when the whale was close to shore... Be patient, I don't know how to edit videos so you have to wait a bit at the beginning for the whale to appear. It's right next to the rocky shore, at the bottom of the video.

While Johnny whale watched, I scanned the distant Haystack Rock for Black Oystercatchers but found none. BLOY seem to be gathering in large, non-nesting groups this year. Perhaps our cold wet spring made their nesting season too late and many gave up trying. The view was lovely anyway. And whales were an extra treat.

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