July encounters with flora and fauna / by Leslie Seaton

I am about to post another "three years ago today..." post, and felt like I ought to just insert a quick "not three years ago" note just to break it up a little. I'll be posting more in-depth galleries of each of the below, but here are some highlights of the flora and fauna I met in July, including seals, raptors, chimps, a really aggressively affectionate elk, grizzlies (ok the bears were just via second-hand tales), peanut butter trees, berries, bees (of course).

Dr. Maze bees

Kurtwood Farm cows

Raptors and their people at the Washington Falconers Association Picnic


More bees at Vendovi Island

Also slugs...

And seals...


(Second-hand encounters with) Grizzlies at The Mountaineers

The below is obviously not mine, it's the trailer for the book Crown of the Continent, The Wildest Rockies recently out from The Mountaineers about the Crown of the Continent wilderness area throughout Glacier National Park and beyond. I saw photographer Steven Gnam and writer Douglas Chadwick speak at The Mountaineers center about the book and this very special wilderness. Gnam has gotten very close-up with wildlife, and it was inspiring to hear his stories of heading out into the wilderness to shoot (and to howl back at wolves). 

  • Favorite quote, from Chadwick: "Nature is not a collection of species, it's a process."
  • Favorite factoid, also from Chadwick: A tracking collar showed a wolverine climb 5000 vertical feet in 90 minutes.

Seattle University flora

I went on a tree tour with local plant expert Arthur Lee Jacobson. It probably won't cure my Trouble with Trees, but every little bit of effort helps with identification. I tried to not be too distracted by the herbaceous plants and really focus on the woody ones. Met this interesting specimen, the peanut butter tree (I believe Clerodendrum trichotomum), which does, in fact, smell just like peanut butter (the "natural" kind, not, like, Jif) when you rub its leaves.

I did still get distracted by some glamorous plants.

Chimpanzees (and an elk and a horse) 

I've been following the Cle Elum Seven for a while, so when they opened up opportunities to donate and visit, I decided to go. Due to their very careful safety precautions, we didn't get close to the chimps. 

But there is a female elk (Ellie) in the neighborhood who is super friendly, so that was a satisfying if a tiny bit terrifying close-up wildlife encounter.

Also a neighboring horse got loose. Ellie didn't care.

Gold Creek Pond daisies

Gold Creek Pond is a nice, easy, ADA-accessible trail on I-90. It is also home to every daisy in the universe.


Magic Mountain berries

To close out the month, I took a birthday hike at Alger Alps. It once was my berry mecca, but it's really looking stressed out lately. I am hopeful the berry plants will bounce back. I was still able to at least sample if not collect a little variety, including native Pacific blackberries...


...and non-native Himalayans.


Not much to report for non-berry flora, other than the usually accommodating Pearly Everlasting.