Showing posts from June, 2014


One, two, three, four, five, six.  "Cornucopia" is the collective noun for slugs.  I had to look this word up since I had never seen slugs in a group.  In fact, during all the treks I have taken in the woods, over all the years, I have never seen anything quite like this. One week ago, I was in the newly opened Kukutali Preserve which comprises Kiket and Flagstaff Islands in Skagit Bay.  Near the west end of the South Trail is a heap of fallen trees, rotten wood and bark.  It appears to be windfall that was cut up and piled next to the trail.  The stuff was swarming with Banana Slugs (Ariolimax columbianus) .  Most seemed to be resting with their antennae pulled in under their mantles. Banana Slugs are familiar forest denizens in the Pacific Northwest.  What we usually see are solitary individuals here and there along a trail.  There might be one or two of these reclusive creatures seen on a hike.  If it has rained overnight,  we could see several the next mor

Black Oystercatcher at Kukutali Preserve

Just across Skagit Bay from my home is Kiket Island and the smaller Flagstaff Island attached to it by a tombolo .  The islands now comprise the Kukutali Preserve .  It is owned and operated jointly by the Swinomish Tribal Community and Washington State Parks.  Until this week, access to the Preserve was limited to small guided groups by reservation only.  It is now open to the public and I made my first unescorted visit last Tuesday.  You can read about my visit and the history of this newly opened nature preserve at Fidalgo Island Crossings . With a good low tide, I returned this morning with a specific objective.  I wanted to see if the Black Oystercatchers (haematopus bachmani) I first met three years ago are still living at Flagstaff.  I spotted a pair calling and flying low over the bay towards Skagit Island on Tuesday. Sure enough, today I was rewarded by another encounter with one of my old friends.  Oystercatchers are non-migratory, form long-term pair bonds, and are