Tag Archives: san Juan island

Are Eagles Compensation for Foxes

My visit to Cattle Point in search of foxes had me trekking along the cliff tops hoping to spot some creatures on the prowl.  I met a local couple that suggested they normally saw foxes further along the coast and so I headed that way.  As I kept moving, I did get some wildlife encounters but it was with bald eagles rather than foxes.  They were soaring along the cliff tops using the updrafts.  At one point, one popped up over the edge close to me and stared at me briefly before gliding on.  I was too slow to pick up the camera and instead watched it fly by.  I did catch some of its compatriots later in my walk, though.  If I’m not getting foxes, eagles are okay but I can get them at home!

Cattle Point and the Forecast Wasn’t Even Good!

We took a day trip to San Juan Island.  I was interested in trying to get some pictures of the foxes that live in that area.  The forecast for the day was not that great but, with nothing else planned, a trip to the Islands seemed like it would be fun even if it proved to be damp.  However, it didn’t prove to be damp.  Instead, the weather was gorgeous.  It really couldn’t have been nicer for a Sunday out.

I was wandering along the edge of the bluffs on the lookout for foxes.  The results of my wildlife photography efforts will be in other posts.  For these, I shall just show the views I got of the coastline.  Some of these are long range shots taken with the 500mm I was carrying for the wildlife.  Others are wider shots taken with the phone.  Cattle Point is a really lovely part of the island and I would struggle to be bored with being in this place.

What Spooked All Of The Gulls?

Just off Cattle Point on San Juan Island, there is a small island which, on the day we were visiting, was very popular with a load of gulls.  While we were standing, looking in that direction, all of the gulls took off at once and were circling for a few minutes before they settled down again.  I had assumed that a bird of prey was nearby to cause them to get airborne.  There are plenty of eagles in the area.  However, I couldn’t make out anything specific that had caused them to be startled.  Maybe just one of them decided to take off and the rest followed just in case!

Old School Power Provision

Roche Harbor on San Juan Island is now a resort town with a marina, hotel, restaurants and accommodation.  However, it started out as a production facility for lime.  Some of the original elements of the town have been preserved and one part is the old power production site.  The original generator set was supplemented by a second as demands increased for power.  The images of them belching smoke as they worked didn’t make it look like a fun place to be back in those days.  Now, they are inactive and cleaned and painted but they are a reminder of how things used to be done.

Beaver Beats Us To Friday Harbor

We took the ferry to Friday Harbor for a day out on San Juan Island while mum was visiting.  As the ferry approached the harbor, we were standing up at the front of the car deck watching what was going on.  Of course, I had the camera with me – fortunately with the longer lens fitted.  A buzz came from our right as a DHC-2 Beaver came into sight on final approach for the harbor.  I didn’t have everything set up exactly as would have been ideal but sometimes you just have to get the shot.

The plane touched down and taxied to the jetty to drop off and pick up its passengers.  I didn’t recognize the colors but a look at the shots back at home shows the name Friday Harbor Seaplanes.  I have seen a few of their planes show up on tracking since so I guess they have a good operation running.  They operate to Kenmore so I should really check back to see whether I have shot them in the past and didn’t realize it.

Fields Of Lavender

Nothing like making a mistake and having it work out better than your original plan.  We were driving across San Juan Island after visiting Roche Harbor heading to Lime Kiln State Park.  We had been discussing the lavender festival taking place at Sequim during the day but it was not close enough that we were seriously considering a visit.  I thought I knew the route to the park but I managed to miss the turning and, after going for a while, realized the mistake.

I put the destination in to the GPS and it told me that my turning was coming up.  As we headed back in the right direction, we came around a corner to see a purple field in front of us.  A rapid turn off and we checked out this lavender farm.  It was not on a road we would otherwise have used that day so we really were lucky to see it.

They have two main types of lavender that they farm but there was a pick your own field in which there were dozens of varieties.  I had never thought about different types of lavender before visiting this place!  There were pathways throughout the fields so it was easy to wander through looking at the patterns that the plants made as they were grown.  Too close and you could see too much of the orderliness and the raised beds and irrigation system.  However, stay back a little and it all blended together nicely.

Steller’s Sea Lion Looking for Attention

Lime Kiln Point is a popular spot for watching whales.  A humpback was not far offshore but a Steller’s sea lion came swimming up along the shore.  It was very close in and headed past the lighthouse and to the north.  We went back to watching for the whale.  A little while later, a snort came from our right with a spray of water.  The Steller’s was back and was bobbing in the water right in front of us.  It hung around long enough to take a couple of shots and then it went back north.  I think it was jealous of the attention the whale was getting!

Cattle Point

We made a couple of visits to Cattle Point on San Juan Island during our visit there.  It is a lovely spot for a stroll along the cliff tops.  The lighthouse is not quite what you might hope for.  It is functional but not elegant.  However, the rest of the area is just lovely.  Not only is it a great place to walk but the road running down to the point provides a beautiful overlook of the point with the water around it and the mountains in the background including Mt Baker looking imposing covered in snow.  We had great weather both times were were there on this trip.

Lime Kiln State Park

B11I8501.jpgFurther up the coast from Grandma’s Cove was Lime Kiln State Park.  The area used to be a hive of lime production – hence the name of the park – but now the focus was on the lovely shoreline and the great views.  The inclusion of a lighthouse certainly did nothing to harm the view.  There were also the remains of a fortification of some sort on a headland which we had seen from further away when traveling towards to the park up the coast road.

B11I8489.jpgThe lighthouse provided a base for a volunteer group that was tracking the wildlife in the area.  They had some signs identifying which whales had been seen in the area and when.  We did not time our visit there well to see the whales although we did catch some later in the day further up the coast.  The volunteers had binoculars to lend out to visitors if they needed them but, with no whales to be seen, we didn’t require them this time.


Grandma’s Cove

B11I8462.jpgTake a walk from Americas Camp on San Juan Island and you are quickly down by the water.  One of the trails leads to a lovely little bay called Grandma’s Cove.  I don’t know who Grandma was or even whose grandma she was.  Why the cove was hers is a mystery to me too.  However, she obviously had pretty good taste because it is an idyllic spot.  Almost no one was there when I visited.  Unfortunately, a couple of guys were down on the beach and were interested in making art in the sand.  This disrupted my vision of the shots a touch but, when you are somewhere so lovely, it is hard to be upset about anything for long.

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