When I was a kid, I became the target of an irritated blue jay, who decided it was its mission to see how fast it could zoom by the top of my head — repeatedly. Once, it grazed the top of my head. I finally figured out that there was a nearby nest and the jay was only protecting its own.
Fortunately, I wasn’t hit in the back of my head by a barred owl, which happened to a jogger on Mount Erie — twice. These owls are known for their aggressiveness, and for a rapid invasion of spotted owl territory, concomitant with the decline of the smaller and more laid-back spotted owl.
Perhaps the jogger had invaded the barred owl’s territory. At least he fared better than spotted owls.
Highs and lows. If you’d like to see the shorebird migration at Grays Harbor but don’t want to indulge in the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival April 27-29, consider doing it on your own. High tides drive the shorebirds closer to the shoreline looking for food, creating a stunning spectacle.
Here are the high tides for those three days, but you can check out tide tables for other, less crowded dates around the festival: April 27, 12:16 a.m., 9:16 a.m.; April 28, 1:09 p.m., 10:09 a.m.; April 29, 1:58 p.m., 10:58 a.m.
Going close to the festival dates is your best bet, since the peak migration is about that time. One reader who might go to see the birds is Amy Perkins, who emailed about my April 1 column.
“I know you’ve mentioned before the costs of birding festivals around the country. I just looked up the ones from Grays Harbor and the Olympic Peninsula that you mentioned in (your) column. Wow, some of the classes are really pricey, making me think long and hard about whether to go at all, or whether to just take in the free events. As always, thanks for covering bird subjects in your column.”
Slowing down. Roadwork is underway for a five-month rehab for Hurricane Ridge Road. Expect delays up to 20 minutes in both directions.
Going up. The state’s wolf population continued to grow last year for the ninth straight year, according to the state Fish and Wildlife Department. There are at least 122 wolves, 22 packs, and 14 successful breeding pairs.
Going around. It’s time for the annual McClinchy Mile bike ride out of Arlington Choose from Loops of 28, 34 or 44 miles through beautiful scenery, flat or hilly, and with a burger and a beer. Or pick any length you want. Register in advance at bikesclub.org/mcclinchy.
Each loop has a rest stop with fresh food, bike support and volunteers.
The McClinchy has been hosted by B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County for more than 35 years and is the club’s major fundraiser. In 2017, the club gave $5,000 in grants for bike-related projects.
Going out. The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center’s has very little space for its exhibits, which have shown decades of wear and tear, and pre-21st century presentation. Those days are over. Olympic National Park has new interpretive and hands-on exhibits that offer multiple layers of discovery. Area artists and photographers have contributed to the process.
How do you create a space that works for visitors of all ages, fits in a small space and covers the range of ecosystems in the forest? See for yourself. The exhibit’s open house is April 20. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and daily beginning May 25.
Looking down, looking under. “Pacific Reed and Shore: A Photo Guide to Northwest Marine Life” (Harbour) is a slick (literally) way to identify life along the shore and below the waves. Mostly photographs and descriptions, it’s a quick water-resistant guide to the creatures at our feet.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or firstname.lastname@example.org.