I really don’t want to think about the number of miles or the total elevation lost and gained that were traveled to find our first bird but it finally paid off with the discovery of our first bird (and second) to document for the volunteer COASST program.
This was only our second year for this site, and actually our first full year. Last year we had a late start as we waited for the permits to make their way through the system. I mention this because it makes is somewhat difficult to come up with any hard conclusions regarding the data.
Although only separated by a short drive, eastern and western Washington couldn’t be on more opposite sides of the spectrum; cool wet temperate rain forests vs. dry, hot desert. However, a visit to this desert has been on my to-do list for some time and I was anxious to explore and camp over on this side of the mountains, plus there was the added bonus of a visit to the famous Palouse Falls.
The trail was heavily overgrown compared to our first trip out in early May. I felt Theresa’s absence like a weight on my back. Bending down for a better look I saw yet another bit of cougar scat. Unlike the previous trip this was obviously not fresh but that didn’t keep my head from constantly swiveling as I started up the trail to Scott’s Bluff.
For all we have in common Theresa and I couldn’t have more different backgrounds. She was riding a horse long before she had a drivers license where I was soloing sailboats offshore. Our first multi-day paddle together she complained that her, “utter wasn’t working”; our first horseback ride I complained I needed a ‘mainsheet and rudder’ to control this beast.
Between chores around base-camp and setting up camera gear I’m almost always in need of a small tool of some sort. Multi-tools have just the assortment of tools I most need, but honestly, I had wearing them on my belt. Then I stumbled on an intriguing alternative from SOG and there’s no going back for me.
Looking toward the northwest I observed the dark clouds with a deep suspicion. Last time we attempted to conduct a bird survey on Toleak Beach we were hammered by wind and rain. I double checked the forecast. Saturday had a much better forecast but today the tides were better. A bit of a gamble -- which way to choose?
The sign stated that the private tree farm was closed to motor vehicles but opened to foot traffic. So, if we wanted to find our unnamed waterfall that meant hoofing the last 1.5 miles on foot. The thing that worried me was the high voltage wire crackling above the FJ.
It’s hard to say what’s going on, but for our first time out to Site 277 we certainly found much less in our traps this weekend with 2 traps totally empty. Is it the time of year or is something else going on?
As I was crawling through the rain slick log jam, I thought, “This can’t be the rain I’m feeling, it can’t be raining that hard, the surf must be dumping on the logs”! Well, it was both. And that was in direct competition with all the noise. This time the battle was between the wind in the tree tops and the dumping surf. Was I on Toleak Beach or an alien world.?