Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear

My recent trip to Dungeness Spit was nearly idyllic except for a couple of moments. As we were walking along the beach listening to the sound of waves lapping the shore, I heard a funny “buzzing” sound and could not figure where it was coming from since I could not see anyone in sight. Finally, I looked up and saw what I thought was a small airplane flying overhead. Leslie said “drone,” but at first I didn’t believe her.


She was right, a drone was following us, or at least the shoreline as we walked. I didn’t mind that as much as I would have minded a helicopter flying low overhead, but it still creeped me out.

It wasn’t long before a Coast Guard boat came around the point, going somewhere at full blast.

Coast Guard Patrol

Perhaps I should be reassured our government is so vigilant. I’m not. Combined with recent stories of Homeland Security clashes with locals in Forks and nearby areas, I wonder if this heightened security is either good or necessary.

Leslie worries that the government knows of threats that would justify these measures but won’t tell the public because we might become too worried. I worry we’re quickly becoming a police state where our every move is monitored out of fear that we might “step out of line.” And more and more, I feel like “stepping out of line” to save some small part of this planet for my grandkids and great grandkids.

Most of all, I worry I might have something in common in with the Right Wing crazies that I despise.

Dungeness Scenery

Even without wildlife, Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge would a remarkable place. Looking eastward as you first walk the beach toward the lighthouse, Mount Baker rises above the Cascades in the distance.

Mt. Baker

To the south, across the lagoon, the Olympics seem perhaps even more impressive, though in reality they’re not nearly as high as Mount Baker.

Olympics from Dungeness Spit

I’ve always been fascinated by the sound of ocean waves lapping the shore while I scan the horizon for birds and animals. Although I’ve only seen harbor seals here before, on this visit we were greeted by the much larger Sea Lion.

Sea Lion

I find the abstract beauty driftwood pieces like this irresistible.

Driftwood Trunk

Though we generally don’t make it the full five and half miles to the lighthouse, seeing the towering Olympics on the walk back helps me forget how leg-weary I always get walking on uneven rocks and loose sand


Olympics from Dungeness Spit

Pigeon Guillemots at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

After I canceled my 3-day trip to the Columbia Gorge, I decided Leslie and I should spend the next sunny day at the beach. We ended up spending two days at the beach, not one. We spent the first day at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, more for the beach than for bird watching.

However, I did know that Pigeon Guillemots nest there, and I was hoping to get some shots of them nesting. The first thing we saw when we reached the beach was Guillemots, quite close to the shore.

Pigeon Guillemot

Looking up at the protected cliffs where they nest, I saw lots of birds landing on the crumbling banks.

Pigeon Guillemot

It soon became clear we were too early to see chicks, that we had arrived in the middle of the courting rituals.

Pigeon Guillemot

More often than not, however, the ritual seemed to end with both birds sliding down the bank and flying off.

Perhaps this couple was a little more experienced because they were cuddled up talking to each other in a more stable environment.

Pigeon Guillemot

It was a fascinating experience.

Pt Defiance Rose Garden

The day after I came back from Vancouver because of heavy rains, I spent a sunny afternoon at the Point Defiance Rose Gardens. I was surprised by how many roses were in bloom. And though some of the rose showed wear from recent rains, they were still quite striking.

I’ll have to admit that some of my favorite colors are the first to bloom, like this orange beauty,

Orange Rose

or this striking yellow one.

Yellow Rose

Luckily, there are lots of new blooms emerging that don’t show any signs of the recent weather.

Rose Bud

As usual, I wasn’t content to focus on just the roses. There’s a hug variety of flowers in the surrounding beds, but one of my favorites was the Calendula.


I was a little surprised to see how well the iris were doing since earlier species seemed quite stunted. There was certainly nothing stunted by this purple and white beauty.

Purple and White Iris

I may have missed the wildflowers in the Columbia Gorge for this year, but I won’t miss my repeated visits to the nearby Pt. Defiance Gardens.