Salmon Watchers Toast Big Year

by Bianca Perla on January 29, 2013 0 Comments


Written by: Kathryn True

The 2012 Salmon Watchers gathered for soup and stories last weekend to celebrate the best salmon return since 2003. A grand total of 202 live and dead fish were recorded by 23 enthusiastic volunteers of all ages—from 4 to over 65. The fish were mainly coho (152 live and 11 dead), though chum (11 live and 10 dead) and sea-run cutthroat trout (4 live), were also seen spawning in island streams.

Watch the video below for a visual summary of this year's effort. Photo and video clip credits: Kelly Keenan, Mabel Moses, Karen Olsen, and Bianca Perla: 

“We had a great salmon watching season this year,” says Vashon Nature Center Director Bianca Perla. “I always love the feeling of getting to experience our creeks so closely during this time, whether I see fish or not. But this year was amazing, particularly for coho. Volunteers ...

read more

Permission to Go into the Woods

by Bianca Perla on October 29, 2012 1 Comment

Written by: Kathryn True

I’m salmon watching at Baldwin Creek this fall, a rivulet just north of Shinglemill that also empties into the Fern Cove Estuary. My teen-aged daughter was dubious when I first showed her the little stream and has reminded me ever since, “There won’t be any salmon in there—it’s too small.” And maybe she’s right—it is very shallow and narrow in places, and the bridge leading to the Park Distric’s Fern Cove rental is built decidedly too close to the water. “So I’m creek watching,” I tell her with a smile. And so I am.

I realized yesterday as I breathed in the Earth-breath smell of humus and cedar, that creek watching is fine by me. Like many of you, I live on Vashon because of how easy it is to access nature. Walking out my door I can ...

read more

Join us in these fun fall activities

by Bianca Perla on September 13, 2012 2 Comments


Fall is on the horizon and with it come many opportunities to learn more about island wildlife and ecosystems. You can help us discover more about the mysteries of island nature by joining one of these volunteer science projects or programs. These events and projects are also a great way to meet some amazingly cool folks and become a part of the Vashon naturalist community.
If you are interested in any of the following opportunities email us at: for more information. 
  • Salmonwatchers are needed to watch our creeks from October 1st-December 31st. 
  • Land Trust Intro tours: learn more about conservation and restoration efforts by joining Vashon Nature Center Director and Vashon Maury Land Trust Board Member Bianca Perla at the Land Trust intro tour of Singer Farm on Saturday September 15th.
  • Cruise! The Ocean Inquiry project is offering a 1-day cruise on ...
read more

Snowy Owl Invasion

by Bianca Perla on November 30, 2011 1 Comment



Long before Harry Potter’s Hedwig, Snowy Owls held a magical allure. Perhaps it’s their startling size (nearly two feet tall), unblinking yellow stare, or Arctic providence, but these circumpolar owls stir excitement among even the most distracted citizenry. Whether Snowy’s decide to head south en masse is based largely on weather conditions and the availability of lemmings, their main food source. Every so often the Northwest experiences what is known as an irruption (a sudden and irregular increase) of Snowy Owls. During such years these tundra-dwellers sometimes stray as far south as Texas and Florida!

In November Snowy Owls were spied around Western Washington in Snohomish County, Ocean Shores, and on the Dungeness Spit. Then on Thanksgiving Day, a West Seattle family had one show up for dinner (though they prefer lemmings, Snowy Owls also eat birds…but none the size of turkeys ...

read more

Tidal Creatures of the night

by Bianca Perla on November 23, 2011 0 Comments



Creatures of the Night

This Friday, Nov. 25 at 10:45 p.m., the new-moon tide will ebb to a rare low of -3.4 feet. Taking this opportunity to explore an island community normally hidden from view, the Vashon Beach Naturalists will host a free Starlight Low-Tide Walk at the north-end ferry dock from 9-11 p.m. Sip a hot chocolate as you head to the beach with a naturalist guide to discover dozens of denizens of the intertidal zone: nudibranchs (sea slugs), sea cucumbers, and sea pens to name a few.

A shaggy mouse nudibranch (Aoelidia papillosa). Photo taken near Pt. Vashon by Kathryn True

Besides the fact that our local winter low tides occur only at night, this is a good time to get out for several reasons. At low tide on a hot summer day, animals that prefer cold, wet, and dark ...

read more
Page 1 of 1.

Post categories

No blog categories

Post archives

No blog archives