Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Neighborhood Birdist, Connie Sidles, Documents The Winter Goings On At The Montlake Fill

Connie Sidles, who maintains a blog documenting the many types of birds, including beautiful pictures, at the nearby Union Bay Natural Area, also known as the Montlake Fill, recently posted about the mild winter at the Montlake Fill in Laurelhurst.


January 30th, 2013

Since that long ago day when the glaciers released their hold on the land and fled back to their home in the mountain fasts, ice no longer rules in the lowlands of the Fill. Our winters are mild now. The soft blanket of gray clouds that covers us from November to February drops showers of life-giving rain, encouraging insects to hatch, winter flowers to bloom, and birds to forage everywhere.

Oh, but the rocks remember the ice. They remember how the glaciers carved deep gouges through the basalt. Lake Washington is a reminder of the relentless power of the ice. Its very bed was hollowed out by a glacier—a lake of ice choking the valleys, creeping over the tops of the foothills, scouring everything in its path.

The boulders that lie at the south end of Main Pond are a reminder, too. They are erratics, stony remnants sheared from some unknown bedrock in the north, plucked up by the glacier, and slowly rolled along within the ice—a frozen river of ice more than a mile thick.

Though the thick ice is gone now, sometimes in January, when the night blanket of clouds rolls back from the Fill and allows the meager warmth of the land to escape into the starry emptiness of space, a little of the ice comes back. It hunkers down on the ponds and trails, on the grass stems and rose bushes, anywhere a drop of water might have lingered too long, caught by the freezing touch of an icy hand tapping it into immobility.

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