Nature’s night of love

by Bianca Perla on February 13, 2012 3 Comments



If you find your flashlight and take a moonlit walk to one of Vashon’s forested ponds or wetlands tonight you might witness the incredible way nature celebrates Valentine’s Day. This may not be your partner’s idea of a typical romantic evening, but it will be interesting! Valentine’s night is smack in the middle of peak salamander mating season on Vashon. Look for wriggling pairs or groups of both northwestern and the less common long-toed salamanders in the dark shallows. Sometimes they can be found amorously clasped together just under the floating leaves at the edges of still waters.

Ambystoma macrodactylum, from Vashon (2006). Notice that one toe is longer than the others on each foot-- hence the name “long-toed salamander”. Photo by: Kathryn True


These two species of native salamander (Ambystoma gracile and A. macrodactylum) are grouped together under the name mole ...

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Salmon-watching on Vashon-Maury Island

by Bianca Perla on November 9, 2011 3 Comments


Thanks to Stream and Marine Ecologist Bob Fuerstenberg and Abel Eckhardt, land steward, Vashon Maury Island Land Trust, for salmon information.

The rains are coming (and going), but they will soon arrive in earnest, and as the siren scent of their home streams wash into the Sound, salmon will follow their noses into Vashon waterways. There have already been a sprinkling (seven to be exact) of salmon sighted along Judd Creek, and with November’s trademark deluge (Nov. 19 is historically the Northwest’s rainiest day of the year), we expect more (hopefully many more) to follow.

Coho salmon or silvers (Oncorhynchus kisutch) spawn in the Puget Sound area from October through January, with a peak around Thanksgiving each year, depending on rains and tides.  Abel was awarded the first coho sighting in Judd Creek this year. On October 12th, while working at a Land ...

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What is a Phenology notebook?

by Bianca Perla on November 9, 2011 2 Comments


Phenology (fin-noll-uh-gee) is defined as:

A branch of science that studies the cycles of plant and animal life. Phenology tells scientists when events, such as bird migration, are happening on their usual schedule--and when an event might be out of time or place, especially in relation to the climate and change of seasons. 

Posts in this Phenology notebook section of the blog are designed to record anything to do with seasonal change on Vashon-Maury Island.  We are hoping to keep track of changes through time to get a feel for how life on these islands cycles. We also hope to get insight into how those cycles themselves may be changing overtime, and what implications, if any, this may have.

Remember how the salmonberry blooms right around the time hummingbirds arrive? Or how the salmon spawning time is aligned with fall rains that raise our creeks? And ...

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