Storms and rain have been a feature of the fall of 2021 in the Pacific Northwest. I was out with a buddy riding up the Centennial Trail in Snohomish County. Part of the trail, north of Arlington, takes you across an old rail bridge over the Stillaguamish River. The north and south forks of the river come together at this location and the combined river heads under the bridge and off towards Puget Sound.
The rivers were in flood and the amount of debris built up against the bridge was indicative of just how much damage the rivers had done on the local area. With two strong flows of water, the area where they came together was swirling with some violence. Whirlpools were popping up and heading downstream. Below the bridge, you could see upswellings of water from the lower levels and it looked like the sort of thing that would be very dangerous to find yourself in. The video I shot doesn’t really do it justice but you might get some sort of impression of how active it was.
Sunny Saturday afternoon and we were coming back from Discovery Park. Our route took us passed Commodore Park which gives immediate access to the Chittenden Locks at Ballard. With it being such a nice afternoon, we decided it was worth a brief stroll across to see what was going on. There were a number of smaller boats coming through the little lock which we watched for a while. Then, coming up from Puget Sound, we saw a large commercial vessel approaching.
It was a tug returning from time out on the open ocean. There are plenty of tugs in the area – many of which are not too big – but this one was a decent size. No doubt there are larger ones for open ocean recovery of vessels but this was still impressive. The crew was busy preparing for port. Hosing the salt off the superstructure, greasing up exposed metalwork and gathering all of the trash. They had to wait for a short while because the lock crews were still working the smaller lock. Then they were summoned in. A little burst of power from a tug this size can really get the water churning. Since they needed the larger lock, the other waiting boats were brought in too.
Once the water level was raised, the lock gates were opened and the water flowed through to finally balance things out. The current whipping past the tug made it look like it was moving at some speed even though it was standing still. Once cleared to depart, they pulled off gently. Since a lot of small craft were behind them in the lock, they couldn’t just give it the beans or their wash would have bounced everyone around. Instead, a delicate application of power and they were on their way. Below is a little video of them to go with the stills.
I was riding down along the west side of Lake Washington approaching Renton when I saw something large on a dead tree trunk alongside the road. With the number of bald eagles and ospreys that I see down there, I was assuming it would be one of them. However, it was a woodpecker. I have heard of the pileated woodpecker but had never seen one for real. It was pulling the trunk apart with abandon and it was huge. Combine the size with the crest and it looked just like a pterodactyl. The thing was massive when compared to any other woodpeckers I see. My phone was not ideal for photos but it did a pretty good job of getting some video.
I was riding along the Sammammish River Trail back in to Woodinville one weekend when the noise of geese suddenly filled the air. On the other side of the river from the trail are fields which often are filled with geese feeding. A large flock was gathered there on this day but their grazing had been interrupted by the arrival of a bald eagle. It flew across the area and barely changed course as it did so but it certainly startled the geese and they all took to the air.
They flew around in circles for a while waiting for the eagle to get safely out of the area. Then they gradually calmed down and more and more of them settled back in to the fields to resume eating. However, this was a slow process as they had clearly been spooked and weren’t going to relax easily. This was all starting as I cycled up but I did manage to pull my phone out and get a bit of video of this happening so here is the brief burst of excitement before things settled down again.
When walking along the shore at Mukilteo, I will often see one or two Murrelets diving for food in the shallows along the edge of Puget Sound. They are not rare but nor are they particularly abundant. Consequently, I was rather surprised when at the new ferry terminal to see a large number of them swimming in the water around the new pier structures. There was a constant stream of them diving down and surfacing again.
I can only assume that something is growing on the surface of the steel posts that support the new loading spans. The birds would swim up to the posts, dive straight down for a while – presumably as they grabbed the food – and then surface at an oblique angle. The result was a cycle of birds going down and back up again. It looked really strange and seemed like something that would stop but there must be plenty to eat as they just kept going. I figured video was the best way to show what was happening so below is a short clip of them feeding away!
It seems like we get one big snow storm a year where we live. It might not last long (although it has once) but it can give us a decent dump of snow. This year was the same thing. We got about a foot of snow. The weather warmed up soon afterwards but for a couple of days, we had lots of snow. I took a walk around to see what it was like. Quite a slow walk given how deep the snow was in places. Here are some shots from that weekend. I also took some video while I was out so the video clip is below too. The best bit was the guy with the ATV pulling a bunch of people around on sleds! They looked like they were having a blast.
The arrival of the balloon in Woodinville resulted in a previous post of the balloon flying in and another of the crew once the balloon was on the ground. I didn’t just shoot stills during the post landing time, though. I also decided to get a little video of the process of deflating the balloon. I was surprised how long it took but, while there is a large vent on the top of the balloon, once the envelope is lying on its side, the vent is no longer at the top and the air needs to be squeezed out. Here is the video I put together.
Lots of still shots from my visit to Coupeville and the FCLP training for their Growlers but I was there long enough and there were enough passes to allow me to stop worrying about stills and to try getting some video from a variety of angles. Here is a video I put together of some of the jets.
More from my video editing catch up today. I posted about the Snoqualmie Falls being in flood earlier this year after extensive rain. I also shot some video that day. It gives a better idea of how the spray from the falls gets driven up the hillside near the viewing area whereupon is dumps down on the visitors. Here is the edited highlights.
Being quarantined at home and working from home means you have limited things to shoot. It also means you get to see things that happen during the day which you normally miss by breaking at work. I put the trash out on Monday evenings but would not normally see it being collected during the day on Tuesday. Now I see that. Also, I get to enjoy the engineering of modern trash collection and the skill of the operator sweeping in to pick up each can in turn. These little thins amuse the engineer in me although I guess I am probably a long way from the rest of the populous in this. For a small percentage of you, here is some video I put together of our trash guy. Let’s hope we get to go out again soon and I will look for more exciting subjects!