Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter Harbor III

Karen does not limit her focus to waterfowl when she prowls around Petersburg’s boat harbors.  To her artist’s eye everything is fair game whether it moves or not.  Nor does she feel limited to the harbors.  Two sloughs duck down into Wrangell Narrows behind our harbors.  Hammer Slough in particular is lined with historic and not-so-historic homes and fishing gear storage warehouses accessed by land or sea — your choice — although at low tide you might think twice about the water option.

                              A small slough drains into Petersburg's South Harbor.

I often look at the old weathered buildings along Hammer Slough and wish our log house had not been painted when we purchased it.  Like an aged senior citizen, weathered wood has character.  Then again, also like an aged senior citizen, in our rainforest climate, it also has a finite life span.  We have seen a few historic buildings built on pilings in Hammer Slough succumb to the that mightiest of forces.  No, not wind or waves, but  a microscopic fungi or bacteria secretly nibbling it’s way into the wood while nobody’s looking until one of them takes that last “bite” and brings the whole structure down.  You can imagine the admiration it’s companions have on that day.  “Wow, you did THAT!”

                                    Life is always scenic when you live along Hammer Slough.

Grassy areas, so boring in summer could be a vacant lot anywhere in America — a wasteland coveted by developers — a “blight” on the landscape.  But add a layer of frost during clear, cold winter days and Karen discovers a magical world as exciting as any 4th of July fireworks display.

                                           Just a plain old boring spider web or is it?

   Wild Celery is pretty in summer, too, but don't touch it when the sun is shining or you'll get burned.

           The door into this warehouse has more character than the finest California mansion.

OK, this is not a fine mansion, but add a spot of sunlight hitting a frosty tree and it sure improves the decor.

                                                 A tree reflects in the harbor.

A belted kingfisher scours the water for a fish.  When it spots one, it does the improbable for a passerine bird.  It dives into the water to capture it's dinner.

Speaking of a fish dinner -- this Pacific loon has caught a sculpin dinner -- if it's eyes weren't bigger than it's stomach.

Maybe it should have shared with these harbor seals -- the one on the right seems to always be cruising around the harbor upside down.  

Come to think of it, with all the hungry predators, many with pointy beaks, Petersburg's harbors may be a lousy place to be a fish.

                  Ah, somebody that doesn't cater to fish dinners -- a friendly song sparrow.

OK, we need some ducks -- in this case a mallard drake and hen take their ease along the harbor shoreline...

                                           As a few Barrow's goldeneye cruise past.