View from foot bridge over Green River

Briscoe Park on the Green River

This week I walked another couple of miles of the Green River.  This is the piece south of Southcenter right where I left off a few weeks ago.  First thing I came to was a footbridge over the river to divert us to the east side of the Green River.

Then the trail winds along the river with modern warehouses on the land side.  Got to look at all the back doors and underbelly of them.   Here is a series of photos of how it all looked.

I had a little off-road moment by going down this trail that followed close to the side of the river. Not a lot to show for that little piece of the adventure except some nasty blackberry scratches on my calf.  However, it was fun in that I wondered more than once if I was going to have to back track before I found a way back to the trail.

Once I got back up on the trail it curved around to this park called Briscoe Park.  It was then I had a childhood memory.

You see I used to live on the hill to the West of this area.  In the mid 60s I would ride my bicycle down here in the valley.  It was easy to get down here but a hell of a push back up the hill.  The valley was very different 50 years ago.  It was farmland not warehouses and the roads were more like country two lanes than the crazy 4 to 6 lane busy highways of today.

One day I rode my bike down a small little road and came upon this building.

Briscoe School -Photo courtesy of Museum of History & Industry

Briscoe School -Photo courtesy of Museum of History & Industry

It creeped me out.  I didn’t know why but this place was so bad, I couldn’t pedal fast enough to get away.  Now as an adult I know it was an evil place.  In the last few years the Catholic church and the Christian Brothers had to settle lawsuits over abuse.

In the early 70s the land was sold and the buildings destroyed.  The actual place of the school is now under several warehouses.  The City of Kent took what one of the survivors called a small oasis they could go to.  It is a piece of land surrounded on three sides by the river.  I took a short video so you can see what the park is like. It is still not a very happy place.  I walked around and found the buildings kind of unkempt and a quiet hush over the area.

The area has a great view of Mt Rainier.  You can see in this photo how the area is all warehouses and commerce along the river that used to be the highway of old.  That river is now just a recreation place.

Mt Rainier view from old Briscoe Site

Mt Rainier view from old Briscoe Site

I left the trail at that point & decided to make my way back to my car via West Valley Highway.  I was curious about what my country road looked like now.  Here is a shot of 190th and WVH. Not the same or recognizable in any way.

190th Street - used to be a country road to Briscoe Memorial School.

190th Street – used to be a country road to Briscoe Memorial School.

I was rewarded and penalized for using WVH.  I found a baby crow who let me take his picture and his mom didn’t attack me either.

However, when I got close to the 180th bridge I needed to cross to get to my car, the sidewalks disappeared.  I sent the City of Kent an email on “what the heck”.  They claim to be a bicycle and pedestrian friendly place.  I walked on the river side of a jersey barrier.  Big trucks whizzed by and I had to turn away so not to be blown over or sandblasted.  Not heard back from them yet.

No sidewalk on West Valley Highway south of 180th.

No sidewalk on West Valley Highway south of 180th.

Here was the bridge I finally made it to.  Got home safe and sound after an afternoon adventure.

180th Street Bridge viewed from the South

180th Street Bridge viewed from the South

 

Baby Crow on West Valley Hwy, Kent

Baby Crow stare down

I had walked another mile or two of the Green River Trail when I diverted myself to West Valley Hwy.  Along that busy street between two warehouses where a railroad came through I heard the familiar baby crow cry.  Next thing I knew I saw him fly into a small tree.   With a little effort I walked down the rails and got a few photos of him.  He gave me the crow stare down the whole time.

The first one above shows you how he is just sitting in the tree like any other crow.  If you don’t know the tell-tale signs of a baby crow you would think he was just a regular bird.

My photos got progressively more zoomed in.  I have learned to take as many photos as possible as fast as I can.  MIght not have it zoomed in as close as I want but getting perfection will mean missing the shot all together.  After taking about 7 photos I started to move closer and he decided I wasn’t his friend.  He flew away with mom in tow.

This little guy has the classic baby crow features.  He has blue eyes and he has a little bit of pink lip showing.  Both his eyes and mouth will eventually go black or dark brown when he matures.  Their feathers can be a dusty brown or not a true black.  That is harder to tell unless they are next to an adult crow.   The best sign is their voice.  They are still babies at heart begging for their next meal or are practicing to caw with an immature sound.

Baby Crow - see the pink lip and blue eyes

Baby Crow – see the pink lip and blue eyes

Crows lover Fish Sign from the 50s on 4th Ave

Seattle History in Signs

This last couple of weeks Crow Stalker has stumbled upon a couple old Seattle Signs.  The one above is down on 4th Avenue being used by a crow.  Funny enough this old 50s style sign says Fish which is a good food product according to crows.

Across the street is an old Rainier Beer Sign on the side of Western Neon.   After a little research I found that is from the old Tumwater Brewery and they are refurbishing this one. Remember how the Big Red R is now back on top of the old Rainier Brewery next to I-5? Same company that fixed that all up.

DSCN5481

Old Rainier Beer Sign under repair. Was on the Tumwater Brewery.

Next is a sign from a place long gone but not forgotten.  I found this in a little hidden warehouse while I was wandering the Green River/Interurban Trails of late.

Longacres Sign lives on!

Longacres Sign lives on!

Pink Mouth baby crow in Arbor Heights - Seattle

Baby Crow Famine is Over

Crow Stalker has been in a Baby Crow drought or famine.  Kind of left me sad and wondering about my crow mojo.  What is a birder to do?

But today, I got more than my fill of baby crows.  My walk around Arbor Heights started by going towards the pond that was owned by King County Water Land Resources Division.They have punched a new road through to the pond from 106th and I was curious about what they were doing.

As I started out, not more than two blocks from home I found my first baby crow.  He was on the power lines crying and the main picture of this blog is him.  See how his mouth has a pink/red poofy look?  That is a sure sign of a baby crow, pink mouth.  An adult crow has a black mouth, so it is a true give away.

Then in the gully that I cut around the edge of, I heard another baby crying.  It is pretty common that I will never see the baby.  Even after watching and standing in different places I never saw the little guy.  I did get a picture of his home though for you to see how hard it can be to pick them out.

There is a baby crow in that tall tree.

There is a baby crow in that tall tree.

I got down to the pond construction site to find it scraped out.  Gone is the Red Winged Blackbird and cat tails that gave it a rural look.  Not sure what it will look like after they are done but not the same for a long time.   This also explains why we had a Red Winged Blackbird visit our feeder.  I was very surprised since we are not near a marsh.  They were displaced and seeking a new home.

Pond dug up - no more red winged blackbirds

Pond dug up – no more red winged blackbirds

Here are two pictures from Christmas 2013.

Cat tails & Blackbird

Cat tails & Blackbird

Red Wing Blackbird showing off

Red Wing Blackbird showing off

King Co WLRD pond being remodeled

King Co WLRD pond being remodeled

However, at the edge I found these two little guys. See the pink mouth.

Twin baby crows nagging parents

Twin baby crows nagging parents

Madrona trees near Puget Sound are great nurseries.  I have written several articles about the baby crows in my madrona forest.  On this walk behind some houses (far from the water) was a baby crying.  He was in a madrona tree waiting for mom or dad to return.

Baby Crow waiting for mom in madrona

Baby Crow waiting for mom in madrona

Madrona tree with cry baby

Madrona tree with cry baby

As I wandered through the neighborhood towards Fauntleroy Park I came to this little blue house that was for sale.On the roof was a baby and parent doing the feeding thing. When I approached to take a photo, mom sent baby into the tree. I could hear him up there every once in a while but the real show was mom giving me the what for. They are a protective parent and that is why you hear people talk about crow attacks. They are like mama bears with wings.

Big Fir tree Crow Home

Big Fir tree Crow Home

Mom in blue house tree scolding me.

Mom in blue house tree scolding me.  Even a peanut won’t calm her.

Last is this baby.  He looks just like an adult to the untrained eye.  I knew he was a baby by his voice and his clumsy ways.

Can you tell this is a baby crow?  His voice was the only clue I had.

Can you tell this is a baby crow? His voice was the only clue I had.

One other thing I encountered today but didn’t get a picture was a baby in a large fir tree.This tree is in the yard of a distinguished bird researcher. He passed away several years ago but his legacy is several banded crows in the neighborhood and of course his top notched research. This little guy was talking to himself. He clucked, chattered and in general was practicing his vocal cords.  Not a bit of the cry baby mama mama sound.  Mom came along but I could never catch a glimpse of him.  But I was delighted by his chatter.  A big thank you to Toni who came out and talked to me a little about the crows and her family. Crow lovers do exist everywhere.

 

 

Green River under I-405 on trail

Bridged Nature

This week’s Green River Trail adventure took me under many bridges that span the river at Southcenter.  Starting just south of Fort Dent where I had left off my last trail walk, I wove my way to 180th and back north on the Interurban trail.

This section of the trail gives one the most unique view of bridge after bridge from an angle you never see from your moving car.  It is a meeting of nature and highways.  Hence – Nature Bridged.

The beginning of my walk today was through an area where at least 4 bridges cross the Green River.  This first picture shows Hwy 181 or West Valley Hwy/Interurban.  Check out the other bridge in the distance.

West Valley Hwy/Interurban way Bridge over Green River & I405 ramp

West Valley Hwy/Interurban way Bridge over Green River & I-405 ramp

Next comes ramps to I-405 and Southcenter Blvd.

Bridges over Green River - I 405 & Southcenter Blvd

Bridges over Green River – I 405 & Southcenter Blvd

Green River under Southcenter Blvd

Green River under Southcenter Blvd

When you emerge from under that bridge there was I-405 rumbling by on its bridge.

Trail goes under I-405

Trail goes under I-405

Pillar of bridge over Green River under I-405

Pillar of bridge over Green River under I-405

I-405 Bridge from down under

I-405 Bridge from down under

Hanging in the brush is a remnant of an old car wreck.  Did this just get thrown off the bridge or did the whole car come over?

Car Part survives on Green River

Car Part survives on Green River

A reminder that bicycle traffic is brisk on the trail.  I was in the minority walking and had to watch my back all the time.  No one tickled a bell at me the whole time, but then I walk on the left so I can see who is coming.  Then the bike traffic going my way doesn’t run over me either.

Green River Trail Sign

Green River Trail Sign

I round the next bend and came upon old pilings in the river surrounded by hotels.  There is a historical marker there that tells us what they are but alas someone ripped off the informational plate.  Dang!  Does anyone know what these are?  note: I did more research and found this is Nelson Landing. The farmhouse is still there on West Valley and is a protected trust historical site. Those pilings are the boat landing before freeways.  Mystery solved buts sad the plaque was stolen.

Old Pilings - what did they support?  Old bridge?

Old Pilings – what did they support? Old bridge?

What did this historic marker say?

What did this historic marker say?

After a bit of walking along, I came to Strander Blvd and it’s bridge.  Under we went.

Strander Blvd Bridge over Green River

Strander Blvd Bridge over Green River

Under Strander Blvd

Under Strander Blvd

Trail dives under Strander

Trail dives under Strander

The best bridge was the old railroad trestle.  It was the oldest by far and looked to still be in use.  I got another view of it on my return trip.  I walked back on the Interurban trail which is on the other side of the river and follows the route of the old Interurban rails and the modern railroad tracks.  These tracks are the main lines out of Seattle.

Lastly came the 180th South Bridge which meets up with West Valley Highway.

180th South Bridge at West Valley

180th South Bridge at West Valley

 

180th Bridge over Green River at Orilla

180th Bridge over Green River at Orilla

From here I hiked back to the car along the Interurban Trail.  Not as nearly pretty but I did see a mother Downy Woodpecker feed her baby.

Interurban trail sign

Interurban trail sign

Power lines create optic illusion on Interurban trail

Power lines create optic illusion on Interurban trail

And the adventure ended with another bridge.  Not as pretty as all the Green River bridges. Hope you enjoyed the under belly of bridges from the trails.

Bridge over West Valley Highway - not that pretty

Bridge over West Valley Highway – not that pretty

Low Tide on Puget Sound

Beach Party at Low Tide

Saturday in Seattle was in the 80s and the tide on Puget Sound was very low. My local beach was busy with both us humans and our bird friends.

The birds (mostly my crow beach posse) do the same things we humans do.   They pose for a good photo

Beach Posing

Beach Posing

Fight over picnic food

Birds fight over picnic just like kids.

Birds fight over food just like kids.

And  generally frolic in the sun.

 

For those that follow the Crows with me, remember my Follower?   Here he is looking really relaxed in the sun only 4 feet from me.  He slowly is getting more comfortable with me and has become brave enough to get even closer.

My watching got comfortable in the sun

My follower got comfortable in the sun

Lastly, I have no baby crow updates.  My baby mojo this year isn’t that great or maybe there aren’t many to be had.  Has the unusual warm weather caused them to have them too early and I missed them?  I have recently seen a crow family building a nest outside my office window. Late in the year to start a family or is it their second attempt?  Not sure but I will keep your posted.