Illahee 5/13/14 Missing Float, Seal Activity, Low Tides, Crab Eggs, Sleeping Mallards, Frilled Dogwinkles, Sand Dollars, Chiton, Hen Pheasant, Blueberry Park Gardens

Missing Float.  One of Illahee’s long time floats disappeared during the early morning hours last Friday (5/9/14).  A check of the Illahee webcam showed the float there at midnight when the webcam shut down, but gone when the webcam began in the morning (the webcam was 24/7 but recently was changed since not much happens from midnight to daylight).  One resident noted the float was gone when he looked out at 3 am, so it disappeared sometime between midnight and 3, probably to the north as someone said there was a south wind that evening.  Below is an old photo of what we used to see every day for years.

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Seal Activity.  Lots of seal activity since the float disappeared as seals are seen swimming around the area wondering what happened to the float, and they overwhelm the smaller floats in the area, as shown below.

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Low Tides.  Lots of low tides this month with lots to look at.
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Crab Eggs.  We noticed the sea gulls hunting for crabs during the low tides and looking for the females, where they turn them over and eat their eggs, as can be seen in this photo.
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Sleeping Mallards.  It is interesting to note both of the sleeping mallards standing on one leg.  We have heard of and seen some with babies, and hope to get some pictures.
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Frilled Dogwinkles.  We also noticed a bunch of frilled dogwinkle shells on the beach.  The mud covering the shells is from the excessive sedimentation coming from the storm flows of Illahee Creek.  A few years ago the Port of Illahee noted 32″ of mud under the innermost float at the dock.   We checked the internet for dogwinkle photos and found some photos we had posted years earlier in an Update, see http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/2011/04/frilled-dogwinkles-article-in-kitsap.html.
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Sand Dollars.  Another low tide sighting are the vast sand dollar beds in the Schutt Point area.
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Chiton.  Below is a chiton, a marine mollusc, on a sand dollar shell.  Their dorsal shell is comprised of 8 separate shell plates (we had been told they had 7 shell plates and just checked and found out it they have 8 – never to late to learn from sources like Wikipedia).
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Hen Pheasant.  In the past we have included photos of a male or rooster pheasant, and have been asked if there are any female or hen pheasants around.  There is at least one somewhere along the shoreline and we are hoping to see some young ones soon.
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Blueberry Park Gardens.  We heard of some Illahee gardeners who hoped to evade the local deer population by getting some garden plots at Bremerton’s Blueberry Park, only to find there are deer there also.
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Jim Aho