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Dungeness Spit, Sequim, WA
September 2022


Synopsis
On a late September weekend, we camped at the Dungeness Recreation Area and hiked to the lighthouse at the end of Dungeness Spit. It was a wonderful fall day and summer still lingered in the air. Also lingering in the distance was wildfire smoke from the Cascades, but we were thankfully smokefree on the Strait.

During our early fall visit, there were still many people staying at the campground as well as hiking along the beach. But walk any distance away from the trailhead and there are a lot fewer people. We were lucky that the tides allowed us to hike all the way to the lighthouse and back in the morning without having to trudge on the log-strewn softer sand during high tide. There was a lot of bait ball action in the Strait of Juan de Fuca when we visited. The persistent cries of gulls alerted us to whenever a bait ball was pushed to the surface. Other seabirds joined in the action including Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Common and Pacific Loons, and Red-necked Grebes. From the pictures, I took I was able to see that the bait balls were Sand Lance, an abundant prey species important to not only seabirds, but salmonids as well. We were guessing that salmon or other predatory fish were pushing the fish up to the surface.

Not only did we enjoy the sounds and sights of the wildlife along the spit, but the sunset was spectacular (perhaps enhanced by a little wildfire smoke) over the flat waters. Also a delight to see in the sky was Jupiter at one of its closest distances to us in decades. We could make out the 4 largest moons through just our binoculars. At night, we also witnessed Elon Musk's continued quest to ruin the night sky with his continued launch of Starlink satellites. I read he's going to launch 30,000 eventually, so I guess see another string of lights go across the sky will become the norm.

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Pictures (click on thumbnail)





























A multitasking Douglas Squirrel can claim its territory and eat at the same time!
A large flock of Cedar Waxwings flycatching from the top of a cedar.
Bait balls attract a lot of action from gulls, seabirds, and a Harbor Seal. How many birds can you id?

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Mule deer
Coyote (h)
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Blooming flowers
Puget Sound gumweed
Aster sp.
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Yarrow

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page updated: 10/5/22