Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Hospital Construction Activity This Week













Building Care, also called Forest B, of Phase 2 of Children's Hospital expansion is underway and the new building is planned to open in Spring of 2022. 
The 310,000 square-foot addition will add an eight-story building and will includes diagnostic and treatment facilities, primarily out-patient cancer and others) labs, new state-of-the-art operating rooms, 20 inpatient beds, and a lobby. There will be two floors of underground parking and sterile processing. This will bring SCH bed total to 409, up from 200 before its expansion 2012 plan. 

The helicopter landing pad moved temporarily to the roof of Forest A (176’), now known as Friends of Costco Building, Phase 1 of the expansion. The landing pad will be active until Building Care is completed. Noise is expected to be louder than the former ground-based helipad. When Forest B is complete, the helistop will moves to its permanent location on top of the Friends of Costco Building (same height). 

Lights were added to the horizontal swing arm (boom) portion of the tower crane to increase safety for helicopter landings. These are in addition to the lights at the end of the boom and on the crane operator’s cab. The additional lights will help the helicopter pilots in identifying the location of the boom when landing or departing the helipad in the dark. While the lights are visible from the ground, they are not bright enough to interfere with any neighboring properties. As a reminder, the tower crane is scheduled to remain onsite through August 2020.

The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week: 
  • Erect cladding and support steel
  • Pour concrete for walls, shafts, slabs, pads, curbs, stairs and decks
  • Install fireproofing
  • Paint
  • Install anchors for windows
  • Set and weld exterior walls
  • Install temporary roofing
  • Install glass
  • Install elevator machines and equipment
  • Install mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment
  • Build out electrical, mechanical, generator and pneumatic tube blower rooms
  • Install insulation
  • Install fire sprinkler systems
  • Install flooring
  • Install exhaust air, plumbing and medical gas risers
  • Set air handling units and supports
  • Interior activities: install infection prevention barriers, demolish sheetrock, and install mechanical, electrical, and plumbing in River B level 3 at vending machines

Work hours are 8-6pm weekdays and 9-6pm on Saturday. 
For questions, call 206-987-8000 or email construction@seattlechildrens.org.  

Friday, May 22, 2020

All About Orange-Crowned Warblers

Here is a recent post from the Union Bay Watch Blog published by Larry Hubbell, long-time local photographer and birder.

Here also is an in-depth article about Larry and his work.



Oh See WA

Orange-crowned Warblers are beautiful and inspiring. They commonly arrive in the Spring to breed in our area, however, they follow the sunshine and migrate south when our skies begin to turn gray in the Fall.

Their song is similar to a Chipping Sparrow - who missed his morning coffee. The song noticeably trails off at the end. Follow This Link to All About Birds and play the seventh recording (from Oregon) to hear an excellent example. After this, you may want to follow This Link and play the first Chipping Sparrow song (from California) for a nice comparison.

They nest and often feed close to the ground. From a birding perspective, this does make them somewhat easier to see. In spite of thick foliage and quick movements, at least, they are often at eye level. 

On the other hand, low nests can be easily disturbed or raided by a variety of creatures, including outdoor cats and off-leash dogs. This is true for all of our ground-nesting birds. Concern for their defenseless eggs and immobile young is especially valid from Earth Day, when the bulk of nesting is getting underway, until Independence Day, at which point many young birds have fledged.


So far, I have never photographed one of their orange crowns. From the front...


...or from the back, somehow the crown still eludes me.

The seventh slide on All About Birds does show that their crowns really do exist and can even be photographed. Hopefully, my persistence will pay off someday.


Another bird with a 'challenging' name is the Ring-necked Duck (RNDU). The ring is normally hidden.

Females (there is one on the left) do not have ringed necks. Plus, even if the males are sitting at the correct angle and the light is reasonably good the density of the color in the ring is so similar to the black on their heads and chests that it can be nearly impossible to see.

By zooming in and brightening the shadows, I can almost see the wine-colored ring around this bird's neck. However, I am not exactly certain how much imagination is involved.

Occasionally, when very lucky, I can document a portion of the ring. In this case, it is visible just above the chest.

The other classic example of this type of naming challenge is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (RCKI). Luckily, they are here in the Wintertime when there are fewer leaves to obstruct the view. In this photo, you can see just a hint of the bird's ruby crown on the back of its upturned head. 

I am still hoping to someday catch a photo of one of their crowns fully extended. Although, that may be challenging because I suspect they show off their crowns most often during the breeding season, which they spend in the mountains.

At least, with the Orange-crowned Warbler, there are some other aspects of its plumage that can be helpful. For example, the subtle stripes on its chest. 

They too are not always visible and shadows can make them rather difficult to distinguish.

 Orange-crowned Warblers love the small creatures which inhabit new Spring growth.

Well-camouflaged little caterpillars are probably critical to both them and their young.

Another important characteristic, which helps me to identify Orange-crowned Warblers, are their broken eye-rings.   

The rings are split by a subtle dark line that appears to run directly through the eye. There are other warblers with a somewhat similar arrangement, however, a good glimpse of the eye ring can help to eliminate both the Yellow and Wilson's Warblers as possibilities.

In total, there are four sub-species of Orange-crowned Warblers in North America. Our local subspecies is the brightest in color. I find their relative brightness surprising because our subspecies of Black-capped Chickadees (BCCH) and Downy Woodpeckers (DOWO) are some of the darkest on the continent. I have thought the darkness was due to the clouds in our area, however, if that is true then what is the reason for the sunny, bubbling, brightness of our Orange-crowned Warblers. 

The only thought that comes to mind is that the BCCH and DOWO are here year-round, so they get the complete winter darkness experience. Perhaps, having a relatively darker plumage helps hide them from predators - especially when the leaves have fallen. In the case of the Orange-crowned Warbler, they are only here during the brightest months of our year. Plus, during winter they reside in sunny places like Mexico or California where their relative brightness may be their most effective camouflage.

Curiously, the brightest spot on the Orange-crowned Warbler's body is in the last place I would expect - under the tail. The under tail coverts cover the unfeathered base of the tail feathers. I really can't imagine how having your brightest feathers in one of your most hidden locations is beneficial. I suppose this is just another example of why I find nature endlessly fascinating.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Seattle Public Schools Daily Neighborhood Lunch Delivery

Seattle Public Schools comes through Laurelhurst daily in a big yellow School Bus to deliver sack lunches to students.  

The bus stops at the corner of NE 50th Street and 47th Avenue NE at 11:35am daily. The person who hands out the lunches is wearing gloves and a mask.

Lunch consists of a sandwich, drink, vegetable and fruit. On Fridays, Seattle Public Schools also hands out food bags with snacks and other items for the week-end.

The delivery will also happen on Monday, even though it is a holiday.

Seattle Public Schools posted this information:
Seattle Public Schools is committed to providing meal service to students during this pandemic. Seattle Public Schools will provide student sack meals on many bus routes. 
The sack meals, which are prepared by our central kitchen staff, are available for all Seattle Public Schools students.

Go here for more information.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Seattle Police Department Online Crime Reporting


Seattle  Police published this information:


Seattle Police Department Online Crime Reporting
During these times of social distancing, we would like to remind community members that the Seattle Police Department has an online reporting option for some crimes. Please keep in mind the importance of reporting all crime, as this helps to create statistics and data, and data helps drive enforcement and resources. Crimes that can be filed online usually do not require an in-person police response and should meet the following criteria:
  • This is not an emergency situation
  • The incident occurred within Seattle city limits
  • There are no known suspects or information about the crime that can be followed up on
  • Crime needs to be listed online Property Crimes -Property Destruction -Graffiti -Car Break Ins -Theft Auto Accessories -Theft -Shoplifting Other Crimes -Drug Activity -Harassing Phone Calls -Credit Card Fraud -Wage Theft -Identity Theft -Lost Property Please go
here to submit an online crime report.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

New Emergency Hub Organized by Neighborhood LEAP

The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) posted this information in a recent newsletter:

Here Comes the Laurelhurst Communications Hub!
LEAP (Laurelhurst Emergency Action Plan) thanks Laurelhurst neighbors for helping reach the goal of $15,000 for the Laurelhurst emergency communications Hub.   
LEAP has already begun work on building and equipping the Hub. The concrete pad has been poured. Located at St. Stephen’s Church, the Hub will activate in the event of a major emergency (e.g., a catastrophic earthquake), when regular communications (landline and cell phones) are unavailable. 
The Hub will set up tents where neighbors can report what they need and find information about handling the disaster. Ham radios will enable trained volunteers to communicate with other Hubs and with the City to report crucial needs and to get the latest City news about available services. 
Having an established Hub in Laurelhurst will greatly increase our neighborhood’s resilience in an emergency. Again, thanks to all those who have contributed money and time to LEAP! Watch this newsletter for news about future Hub open houses and drills.
LEAP (Laurelhurst Earthquake Action Preparedness), a grassroots organization started by Laurelhurst residents, works closely with LCC, who supports its efforts. 

LEAP has created and organized local clusters, assisted by over 70 cluster captains ciovering about 20 homes each, in preparation for emergency response. Additional duties include help with building a family disaster supplies kit and establishing an emergency plan with neighbor, including a designated meeting and distributes LEAP communications to neighbors. 

LEAP has participated in UW’s resilience research project for local communities. 

For more information email LEAPLaurelhurst@outlook.com.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Hospital Construction Activity This Week














Building Care, also called Forest B, of Phase 2 of Children's Hospital expansion is underway and the new building is planned to open in Spring of 2022. 
The 310,000 square-foot addition will add an eight-story building and will includes diagnostic and treatment facilities, primarily out-patient cancer and others) labs, new state-of-the-art operating rooms, 20 inpatient beds, and a lobby. There will be two floors of underground parking and sterile processing. This will bring SCH bed total to 409, up from 200 before its expansion 2012 plan. 

The helicopter landing pad moved temporarily to the roof of Forest A (176’), now known as Friends of Costco Building, Phase 1 of the expansion. The landing pad will be active until Building Care is completed. Noise is expected to be louder than the former ground-based helipad. When Forest B is complete, the helistop will moves to its permanent location on top of the Friends of Costco Building (same height). 

Lights were added to the horizontal swing arm (boom) portion of the tower crane to increase safety for helicopter landings. These are in addition to the lights at the end of the boom and on the crane operator’s cab. The additional lights will help the helicopter pilots in identifying the location of the boom when landing or departing the helipad in the dark. While the lights are visible from the ground, they are not bright enough to interfere with any neighboring properties. As a reminder, the tower crane is scheduled to remain onsite through August 2020.

The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week: 
  • Expect heavy truck traffic, primarily for concrete and steel deliver
  • Erect structural and support steel
  • Install decking
  • Pour concrete for walls, shafts, slabs, pads, curbs and decks
  • Install fireproofing
  • Paint
  • Install anchors for windows
  • Set and weld exterior walls
  • Set up lift system
  • Install temporary roofing
  • Install glass
  • Build elevator care frames
  • Install elevator machines
  • Install mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment
  • Build out electrical, mechanical, generator and pneumatic tube blower rooms
  • Install drywall
  • Install insulation
  • Install fire sprinkler systems
  • Install flooring
  • Install exhaust air, plumbing and medical gas risers
  • Set air handling units
  • Saw cutting for connection points to Forest A, will be loudest activity this week
  • Interior activities: repair flooring, paint, clean and remove infection prevention barriers in River B patient family lounge

Work hours are 8-6pm weekdays and 9-6pm on Saturday. 
For questions, call 206-987-8000 or email construction@seattlechildrens.org.  

Friday, May 15, 2020

Drivers Reaching High Speeds On Streets Around Laurelhurst Elementary School

The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) published this information in a recent newsletter:


Speeding on Arterial


Neighbors from the 4700 block of 47th Avenue NE met with District 4Council member Pedersen in mid February concerning consistently high rates of speed on 47th Avenue NE between Sand Point Way and NE 45th Street, which includes the block that Laurelhurst Elementary School is on.  
Drivers often speed at 40 to 50 mph at night and drive well over the posted 20 mph school zone speeds during the day. The existing traffic circle near the school and Sun Park has not been effective in slowing drivers. 
Traffic has increased over the years with Children's Hospital expansion and the SR520 toll increases, which has caused some drivers to change their route to the eastside. 
The recent discussion with Pedersen included the steps needed to 1) post 20 or 25 mph on this arterial 2) petition for speed bumps on 47th Avenue NE 3) clearly mark and perhaps enforce the 20 mph school zone when children are present 4) restripe speed diverts and crosswalks  and 5 ) install a speed monitoring device. 
Councilmember Pedersen was very responsive and has contacted SDOT to address these concerns.
In 2014, two residents who live near the busy NE 47th Street and 47th Avenue NE intersection, submitted an application to Neighborhood Park and Street Fund citing in their application that there was "excessive speed and lack of awareness of pedestrians around Laurelhurst Elementary during school hours," which was ultimately rejected. However, temporary radar machines were placed on NE 45th Street.

Neighbors wondered at the time why the radar machine wasn't put on the much more highly travelled vehicle and pedestrian routes of 46th and 47th Avenues NE.

One neighbor recently told the Laurelhurst Blog:

46th Avenue NE is a narrower road than most City streets and cars go very fast on that street. 47th Avenue NE seems to be used as a cut through street, almost like a freeway and has been for years. Hopefully Pedersen will have a solution soon before anyone is hurt.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

March Neighborhood Crime Activity Report


Below is the neighborhood March crime activity.

The Neighborhood Private Security Patrol activity report (subscribe here) was not provided by the Laurelhurst Community Club.


3/2 11:33am 3800 block of 42nd Avenue NE
SUSPICIOUS PERSON

3/2 5:38pm 4400 block of 52nd Avenue NE
DISTURBANCE

3/2 2:51am 4700 block of 45th Avenue NE
DISTURBANCE

3/9 8:55pm 5300 block of NE 42nd Street
DISTURBANCE

3/20 3000 block of NE 43rd Street 10:43pm
CAR PROWL

3/21 6:13pm 3800 block of 42nd Avenue NE
NARCOTICS COMPLAINT

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Baby Osprey Near QFC


Here is a recent post from the Union Bay Watch Blog published by Larry Hubbell, long-time local photographer and birder.

Here also is an in-depth article about Larry and his work.


Hope Returns


This is Hope. She and her mate, Stewart, successfully incubated, hatched out and raised one young osprey in 2019. We named it, Rama. This all took place in their nest just south of the QFC at University Village. Specifically, the nest is on the south side of 45th Street on top of the northern light pole above the intramural activities (IMA) soccer field. I suspect Rama was their first offspring.

This belief is base on the fact that in 2018 they only half-finished their nest and they did not appear to do any actual egg-laying or incubating. Stewart is on the right. (Mature males generally have pure white chests.)

In 2019, about a quarter-mile to the south our older osprey pair, Chester and Lacey, appeared to be on course to lay eggs for the fourth year. Their nest is on the osprey platform at the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA). This photo shows Lacey, the female of the pair at the nest site begging Chester for food in early May of 2019. 

It is interesting to compare the faintly brown smudge of coloring on her chest with the crisp dark brown spots on Hope's chest (in the first photo above). The difference is distinctive.

Sadly, Lacey did not settle on eggs in mid-May, as she has done in previous years. This might be related to the fact that in 2018 her young did not survive the summer. 

So far, this photo, taken above the UW Baseball field in June of 2019, is my last photo of Lacey. I believe she apparently left the Union Bay area in mid-summer in 2019.

Chester seemed to hang around longer. However, in early fall, when the weather begins to turn cold, fish move to deeper water which makes it harder for osprey to catch them. So, the osprey fly south and generally do not return to our area until April of the following year. This leaves us with some major mysteries for 2020.
  • Will both pairs return to the Union Bay area?
  • Will both pairs produce offspring?
  • Will their offspring successfully fledge?
It may be a big advantage for Hope and Stewart that their nest site is not located near the Union Bay shore. Bald eagles love to hunt along the water's edge and they also enjoy being apex predators, which includes stealing fish from the osprey.

As a matter of fact, Friday morning, this immature Bald Eagle was in a tree just north of the UBNA osprey platform. In contrast, I do not ever remember seeing a bald eagle perched this close to Hope and Stewart's nest, even though it is fairly close.

Click Here to visit my Union Bay map that displays these nesting locations. The osprey nest sites are shown with yellow stars.


On April 8th, I saw my first osprey of 2020. It flew east above the UBNA. As my friend, Jeff later pointed out it was carrying a fish. I did not get a close look at the osprey. However, since it did not stop to feed near either of our two local nest sites, I suspect it did not belong to either of our established Union Bay pairs of osprey.

Last Sunday at dawn, I happened to stop within sight of the osprey platform at the UBNA. I watched a female dive into the water twice. The second time she came up with a fish. She flew north. I followed. She stopped and ate the fish on top of a light pole immediately southeast of Hope and Stewart's nest. This made me suspect she was Hope. Osprey have a high level of site fidelity. They may travel thousands of miles during migration but in the Spring the same two ospreys generally return to the exact same nest they used the year before.

On Tuesday, for the first time this year, I photographed Hope and Stewart back at their nest, just south of QFC. I cannot be absolutely positive they are the same two ospreys, but their timely return to the same site increases my confidence. Plus, Hope's dark bib on her chest fits perfectly with her photos from previous years.

Friday morning, they were both still there. Sadly, with the field closure, my photo is rather distant.

I finally decided to approach the nest from the sidewalk on the south side of 45th Street. The angle is not optimal but it was the best I could do. 

As I watched a maintenance person drove up and stopped below the nest. He picked up an armful of sticks, loaded them into his vehicle and carried them away. I felt a little bad for the osprey. I was sad to see them drop so many sticks. I wondered if the removal of the sticks would make their nest rebuilding more challenging. However, they normally take dead branches from nearby treetops - instead of retrieving them from the ground.

(Afterwards, I learned that the maintenance person has been picking up an daily armload of sticks from below the nest.) 

Almost immediately, Stewart lifted off from the nest. If you look closely you can see little pieces of grass falling away from his talons. I wonder if this pair is already bringing in soft nest-lining material. If the grass was leftover from last year I am thinking it should have decomposed by now.


I could not resist zooming in on his talons to show how curved, sharp and perfectly adapted they are for catching fish.

Stewart put my mind at ease. He hardly even slowed down as he broke a branch off the top of a nearby tree.


As he carried the stick back toward the nest my hope for their future steadily increased.

Emotions are funny things. Watching him approach the nest was like seeing a plan in action. Noticing how capable he is, observing his direct and purposeful approach made my hope grow.

I breathed a sigh of relief as my concern for this pair of osprey diminished. My shoulders relaxed a bit and a smile crossed my face.

Without any effort on my part, my hope for their 2020 reproductive effort transformed into faith. 

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I believe they will successfully nest again this year. 

On the other hand, I have seen no sign of Chester or Lacey. My hope for their nesting success continues to fade with each passing day. When and if they return, I would expect to see them resting in the trees north of the UBNA nesting platform, catching fish, eating on the light poles above the UW Baseball Facility (or in the trees), mating with each other and bringing sticks to the nesting platform. 

Stewart and Hope might do a few of these things in the same area. However, the key is where do they go when they are done. Tentatively identifying osprey requires paying attention to their site fidelity. Where do they go to eat? Where do they sit when they are full? Do they bring sticks to a particular nest? Where are they sitting at the end of the day?

During the next couple of weeks, feel free to send me an email, with the time, location and activity, if you see any sign of Chester or Lacey near the UBNA nest site: ldhubbell@comcast.net