Thursday, March 21, 2013

Padilla Bay

I, along with 4 others from my Meet-Up group, spent Saturday, 1/12/13, hiking along the Dike, at Padilla Bay. We first checked out the displays and exhibits inside the Breazeale Interpretive Center. The Padilla Bay is entirely intertidal, flooding at high tide and completely emptying at low tide. At low tide, it is a thick mud flat, covered with eelgrass. This supplies shelter and a nursery area for many creatures, like salmon, shrimp, crabs and other fish. These creatures feed the abundant wildlife here, eagles, otters, herons etc. That is the reason it is protected and was chosen as a National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Standing inside the giant, overhead aquarium.

Gerry, striking a pose! Can you say Vogue!? Are you singing it in your head now?

It will fall if I do not hold it up. Honest!

Our fearless leader, checking out fish.

Kerrie, Linda and Jay, at the end of the tunnel, once we left the Breazeale Interpretive Center.

Gerry, in the same tunnel.

Jay in a look out spot, overlooking Padilla Bay.

We headed out to hike in one direction, through the woods. This area is called the "Upland Trail" and is just a 1 mile loop that leads back to the Center.


A cool Highland bull, posing for pictures.

Mommy and baby Highlands.

The Highland family has a beautiful view behind them.

Mount Baker, in the background, behind the field of cattle.

A closer shot.

I don't need to read it twice. I'm outta here!

We hiked the wooded trails on the 'land' side of Padilla Bay.

Gerry, in the woods.

I spotted this giant Christmas tree, then saw Jay was there too, dwarfed by the size of the tree. He was looking at the tree, wondering what some things were, growing on it.

As I got closer, I saw what he was talking about. They were all over the tree.

And closer...

After returning home, I looked up these trees. As close as I can find, they may be Western Red Cedar and the odd growths are nothing more than their cones. I guess all cones are not created equal!

We headed back to the Breazeale Interpretive Center. We took a short drive to a parking lot. We then walked down the highway and started the hike around the Dike surrounding Padilla Bay. The Shore Trail is 5 miles, round trip.

Gerry and I named this "Carcass". hahaha That is just what it reminded us of.

An old tree stump, I found interesting.

The view here is beautiful!

As we hiked along, we walked on the raised dike, above the water. We were here at between the highest and lowest tides. The water is much higher sometimes, and other times completely gone, except for mud.

There are many spots with old, rotted pilings.

The sun shown bright all day. It was very cold, but the sky was bright blue and beautiful!

Everywhere you look were birds, swimming, fishing, eating, playing. At first glance, these looked like rocks, until I saw them moving.

Sandpipers in flight! They would land, scrounge the sand and shallow water for invertebrates and crustaceans, then fly a little farther away to continue looking for food. They didn't stay still long.

The oil refinery, across the bay.

The Eagle has landed!

I got closer, he was really large. This is the first real eagle that I have ever seen in the wild. It was cool!

He took wing and all I saw after that were tail feathers.

My last glimpse of him as he soared out of sight.

The shore and several small inlets along the way.

A lone bird, relaxing in the sun.

An abandoned pail. It was the one colorful spot in the sand.

Western Sandpipers, millions of them here! I spent a lot of time watching these birds. Gerry and I joked about them looking for the elusive Sand Worms!

Gerry =D

More pilings along the shoreline. It was very cold and there was a lot of ice on the ground. Some of the stiller water was frozen over.

The land side of the dike.

The bay side of the dike.

I could never get too much of the views here.

That's an oil tanker. Probably taking oil to the nearby refinery in Anacortes. It appeared to be hovering above the water.

A Great Blue Heron. We saw several of these. But, this one was the closest and just sat there, looking at us.

The mountains here are spectacular! These photos do them absolutely no justice.

A different view of Mount Baker, peeking from behind the other side of these mountains.

I could walk around here and look at the scenes all day!

Not sure what this building is, besides cool.

Besties! <3

Yak, yak, yak, giggle, giggle, giggle, yak, yak, these girls never stop talking! by Jay.

It was a beautiful day and a nice hike.

Originally posted January 12, 2013, by Stef.

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