Wednesday, February 18, 2009

San Juan with my Valentines

Waiting for the Anacortes Ferry to Friday Harbor

There is a moment, just before dawn, when the sky looks rather like silk dyed a deep cadet blue and the mountains on the horizon resemble dark satin ribbon. It only lasts a moment but it always catches the eye of my heart when I see it. Taking in that vision was the transition from busy morning packing to day of sensuality... or at least eye candy

San Juan Island is one of a couple of places we love to go to on Valentines day but Ray was working on V-day so it had to be put off until the 17th. What a bit of luck that was. The weather was so much better on the 17th then it was on the 14th.

Leaving Anacortus The sunrise seemed stunning and we hoped it was a tell for the rest of the day. The sun was all peach and gold, coming through a hole in the clouds to check her reflection on the sea.

We had forgot to bring breakfast, so instead of grains and fruit, we had cheese, crackers and coffee. Really not a bad way to start a day. Who cares what is eaten when you have a sunrise like this one?

Bringing Rudy with us, we did not go up to the passenger-deck, something fun on Valentines Day when most are dressed in Red, pink or purple and the lips of the women we meet are painted a shade of red that would seem outlandish any other day. I don't know if it was because of my silly prayer before we left (I'm sure God has more on his plate then where we park on the ferry) or what, but we got a great spot for watching the beauty that is Puget Sound.

The Olympic Mountains on The Washington State Peninsula. Often the pollution in Washington is so bad that they are hidden in the haze, but on this morning they were glowing on the horizon.

Another cup of Coffee and the rhythm of the engine with all the beauty coming right in the window made the trip seem shorter then usual. We didn't even think about looking for wildlife until we got to Lopez Island.

  1. California Gull
  2. Cormorant
  3. Pigeon Guillemot (Lopez Ferry Dock)
  4. Harbor Seal
  5. Bald Eagle
  6. Red Tail Hawk

Pulling into Friday Harbor is always beautiful, but we had come to skirt the Island and headed straight to Cattle Point Lighthouse. There is a rock out in the water that is usually alive with gulls and eagles in late spring. Sometimes it is bitter-cold in the wind that begins in the Bearing Sea, blasting on the south edge of San Juan. This day it was surprisingly mild. Sweater weather.

No eagles on the rock this early in spring (late in winter?) but Ray did spot two of them in a tree. Can you see them?

Can you see them now?

We could hear bird song everywhere and we should have looked for the singers but we were so charmed with Rudy's first walk on a little bit of a trail that we just forgot to give our attention to the choir.

Is this new? I don't remember seeing it before.

The beach below the light house looked inviting, but Ray's foot has been hurting so we stuck to the rocks above.

Driving past American Camp we saw the first of many island deer. What we did not see, and were hoping for, was the little black island fox, which, much to my surprise, is a red fox. The first time we saw one, we spent quite a while looking through books for the name of that fox. It was actually a San Juan mammals Book we saw in a book store on cannery row (after we had already spent too much money) that we discovered that the little black fox was really a red fox.

This is False Bay. It is more of a mud flat then a bay. Can you see the Great Blue Heron on the right? He is standing on the bottom of the bay. That is how shallow it is.

I think that this is about as high as I have ever seen the tide when we have been to False Bay.

  • 7. American Wigeon
  • 8. Pintail Ducks
  • 9. Mew Gulls
  • 10. Black Oyster Catcher
  • 11. Canada Goose

There is a pond. Once you drive past Lime Kiln, head up the hill, wind around and look right. We love that pond. There is always something on the pond that I don't see in the sea. I have no idea what the name of the pond is.
  • 12. Buffelheads
  • 13. Hooded Mergansers.

(By the time I got out of the truck with the camera all I could see was the pond, but it is a pretty pond)

We had lunch at San Juan County Park. We love that park! Got out and walked some more to see what was in the water. This is where I saw my first Pacific Loon, but not today. All that we saw in the water was a family of Red Breasted Mergansers (#14).

From the truck, as we feasted on the Potato Salad I made last night (the sandwiches got eaten on the ferry) and crackers, we spied on more birds. I have seen Varied Thrush at this park as well as a little yellow-green warbler, but not today. Maybe because there are still not leaves in the Maples. What we did see;

  • 15. Northern Flickers
  • 16. Juncos
  • 17. American Robins
  • 18. Fox Sparrow

Back to Friday Harbor by way of the pond across from the Duck Soup Inn where we say (#19) Mallards and (#20) Swans. I'm not sure if the Swans were Trumpeter or Tundra. We had hoped to have coffee and a lavender biscotti at Pelindaba but they have closed their tea (coffee to us) room for the winter. I did manage to get out the door with lavender dog shampoo and lavender dog cookies (it didn't calm either of them down)

In line for the ferry home. We did manage to get coffee from the shop by the holding area. I guess it is called the Doctors Office? We had some yummy truffles and turtles from the San Juan Coffee Company (why we did not get coffee there is a mystery). First we stopped at a gift shop to get a doo-dah for Jason. I was in there quite a while before I realized that it was closed. The coffee lady took care of it for us AND sold us the doo-dah for Jason.

Good Valentine!

By the way, do the pigeons at the ferry dock count as number 21?


  1. What an absolutely beautiful day. Thanks for posting all these pictures. And Rudy, what a treat for him to go along.
    I saw the eagles in the tree. Your bird count is climbing.

    Glad the day worked out so nice and all the sites you got to see.


  2. Hey! Thanks Joy. I just read what I wrote. What a bunch of mistakes. Spell check will never replace proof-reading.

    I also forgot to include the Belted Kingfisher that we spotted under the dock.

    BTW, the only birds that count are those that I can see from my back yard. But thanks for your encouragement! You always make me smile.