Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Suspicious Male And Female Knocking on Doors Between 2-4am

photo of male 
knocking on doors late at night

Several residents have reported that a couple have recently been knocking on doors around 3am. The male wears a Brixton hood and the woman has a red coat on.

One neighbor, who lives on the 3600 block of 42nd Avenue NE, told the Laurelhurst Blog:
A man and a woman came to our home at 3am and rang our doorbell. We were out of town but my ring camera caught them. They were just spotted on another ring camera at 3am at two of my neighbors.  
They have hit 3 houses near me. I also found out that they shop regularly at the 76 station for cigarettes.  
One of the neighbors called 911 and the police came about 45 minutes later and they were gone. I have reported this to the Laurelhurst Security Patrol.
Other neighbors have reported the same couple in the 3000 block of 43rd Avenue NE, wearing the same jackets as previously reported. Reportedly the two people asked to use the phone to get back to Madison Park. A taxi was called and they left. 

Another resident on the Boulevard reported the same couple knocking around 2:45am needing to get home to Madison Park and wanting to use the phone. 

In the 3100 block of East Laurelhurst Drive, there were a few reports of the same people knocking on several doors between 2-3:30am. The same woman in the red coat appeared to be intoxicated and had trouble walking. They were also looking to get back to Madison Park.

Free Toddler Play Gym Wednesdays At Community Center

The Laurelhurst Community Center offers regular toddler play time on Wednesdays from 9:30-noon for walkers to five years old.

Here is information:

Children play, learn, and develop both motor and social skills in this highly interactive drop-in social and play time.  
Toddlers will meet new friends, play on bouncy toys, ride scooters and tricycles, play with bouncy balls, and much more.  
Parents must accompany their child at all times.Times are subject to change. 

Go here for more information.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Children's Hospital Construction Activity This Week

Children's Hospital has begun construction activity in preparation for the new Building Care, Forest B, Phase 2 of the expansion, planned to open in Spring of 2021.

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 has already 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 for the next four years, 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). 

The Hospital posted this information on their Construction Blog about specific construction activity this week:
    • Excavation
    • Install “lagging” to prevent cave-ins during earthwork
    • Install tie backs/anchors for retaining walls
    • Form and pour concrete footing and wall
    • Internal activities on L1 of Forest A: install hangers, pipes, firestops and seismic restraints for multiple water and air systems; core drilling in Forest stairwell #1; install infection prevention barriers; pour equipment pads
Construction noise will be generated throughout the week. The noisiest external work will be installing tie backs/anchors, which will take place all week. The noisiest internal work will be the core drilling and demolition.
Expect heavy truck traffic all week as excavated soil is hauled away from the site. Construction activity is weather-dependent and subject to change based on conditions.
All work will take place within standard construction hours: 8-6pm and 9-6pm on Saturday. 
Call 206-987-8000 or email with questions. 

Tomorrow Audubon Bird Walk At Magnuson

The Seattle Audubon Society is having a morning bird walk at Magnuson with Karen Wosilait tomorrow from 9-11am. 
The information says: 
Magnuson Park offers a variety of habitats, including ponds, forest, fields, and a lake named after a president. 
We will be walking 2 miles, up hill and down, looking and listening for forest birds.  Then we will stroll through the wetlands, looking for water birds.  This walk is suitable for any level of bird-watcher, including children (accompanied by adult).  Bring binoculars, warm water-proof clothes/shoes, water, and a willingness to stop and listen.
Meet at 9am at the Promontory Point Environmental Learning Center, a red-metal-roofed structure next to the little drive-in road at the west edge of parking lot E-1. It is marked with a pink square on the Magnuson Park map.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Wednesday Hospital Standing Advisory Committee Meeting, Public Invited


The Seattle Childrens Hospital Standing Advisory Committee is holding its 22nd meeting on Wednesday night from 6-8pm (in the Ocean Café - Whale Zone, 5th floor) in conjunction with Children's Hospital Staff and the Department of Neighborhoods.

The public is invited to listen and to give input at 7:15pm.

The SAC is made up of representatives from the Hospital staff, residents from various neighborhoods near and far and the group advises the City and Children’s Hospital on the development that is occurring under the provisions of the Children’s Hospital Major Institution Master Plan.

The agenda is:

  • Housekeeping - Approval of Agenda/Minutes for Meeting (Committee)
  • 2018 MIMP Annual Report
  • Forest B Update - Construction Management Plan

All About Recent Barred Owl Sightings

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.

A Quizzical Look 

The crisp, cold chill of the morning air cleared the cobwebs from my mind. When I am out and about, I imagine myself fully alert to the wildlife around me. However, I suspect that even at my best, I still miss more than I see. For example, while walking south through the Arboretum, during the early morning, I had no idea there was an owl hunting among the bushes in front of me. I was certainly surprised by the silent flurry of wings when the Barred Owl rose up from the ground and landed on a small branch.

The owl glanced at me and then resumed searching the surrounding trees. The owl's lack of interest in me seemed to imply that I was, 'Too big to eat and too noisy to be dangerous.'

My own thoughts were equal parts - excitement and relief. For many winters, I have been able to check-in on one of the Barred Owls on a daily basis. At some point, I had become aware of one of the resident owls' winter roost. A shaded, horizontal branch deep within a stand of Western Red Cedars was a consistently used spot where the owl silently snoozed through the daylight hours. 

Sadly for me, for the last two winters, the owl has apparently found a new resting location. I no longer have a clue where the owl takes its siestas. 

As a matter of fact, until I heard a Barred Owl calling just last week, the only owl I had seen in the Arboretum this year was this Great Horned Owl. Since Great Horned Owls are quite capable of eating smaller owls, seeing one always makes me a bit concerned for our resident Barred Owls. 

It was certainly a warm feeling of relief to see this healthy-looking Barred Owl going about its business. It reassured me that we still have a good chance of seeing young owlets later this year.

At this point, the owl seemed to be evaluating my daughter's dog, Ginger. The owl's apparent conclusion was, 'Smaller than the human, but still too big to catch and carry.'

Later, while looking at this photo, I was struck by the subtle asymmetry in the owl's facial disk. The disk is the area outlined by the dark brown stripe which surrounds the eyes and beak. This concave, saucer-shape helps Barred Owls to funnel sounds to their ears. Their specialized hearing complements their night vision and their exceptionally silent flight to make them superb nocturnal hunters.

I enjoy trying to identify the individual creatures which live and reside around Union Bay. I have not had much luck with the Barred Owls. So, as I looked at this photo I wondered, Could the elevated dark brown 'eyebrow' above the bird's right eye enable consistent identification? Is this quizzical look unique to this individual?

I began searching my database for Barred Owl photos. A found this 2014 photo which shows the brown stripe on the right side of this owl's face was also higher than the stripe on the left.

Among the 2015 photos, I found a picture of a hatch-year bird with the same facial arrangement.

When I looked closely at an adult photo, in the same year, the pattern repeated.

In 2016 I found the same quizzical look. Potentially, all of these adult photos could be of the same bird, since the pictures were taken in the Arboretum. However, it does seem unlikely that I might have repeatedly photographed only one of a pair of reproducing adults.

Plus, I know that in the case of hatch-year birds the comparison from one year to the next must be of different individuals. So, this 2016 hatch-year photo represents at least the third Barred Owl with the same type of asymmetry.

In addition, this photo shows two different young in that year, so that increases my tally to at least four different individuals.

I also found a 2017 photograph which displayed a Barred Owl with a similar pattern. 

Finally, here is a Barred Owl photographed last year in Interlaken Park which shows a similar facial arrangement. This repetitive pattern implies to me that, as a species, Barred Owls have asymmetrical facial disks. Not only am I unable to use this feature to identify an individual adult, but I find it incredibly humorous and humbling that I have photographed these birds for years without being conscious of this consistently quizzical look.

The obvious next question was, Why are their faces asymmetrical? I remember Dennis Paulson teaching us, in our Master Birder Class, that some owls have asymmetrical ear alignments. With ears at different heights, owls can determine more precisely both the vertical and horizontal location of their prey. 

I did not remember whether the ears of Barred Owls ears were aligned symmetrically or not. Looking online, I found the following posting regarding:

from The International Owl Center, in Minnesota, which confirmed some asymmetry in Barred Owl ear locations. (If you follow the link above, you can then scroll down to the third photo to read about the Barred Owl ears.) My best guess is that Barred Owl's asymmetrical faces are a functional reflection of and correlation with their ears being at different heights.

After another internet search, I found a post which gives even more details about owls and their specialized hearing. Plus, the commentary gives me the impression that the author shares my belief that the asymmetrical shape of Barred Owl faces is related to the location of their ears. 

I doubt that I will ever look at a Barred Owl again, without smiling at their oddly quizzical look.

Wood Duck Update:

In a perfect follow up to last week's post, my friend David G Olsen, sent in his photo of female Wood Duck inspecting Box #9 on the south side of Union Bay. This March 2nd photo is our first recorded box inspection by a Wood Duck in 2019. The hen is clearly intent on kicking off the 2019 breeding season. Way to go, David! Thank you!

Additional signs of Spring, seen this week, include Mallards mating and Bald Eagles and Crows gathering sticks for their respective nests. 

What type of tree produces this cone? Is the tree native to Union Bay?

Western Red Cedar: Yes. It is native to Union Bay and the western side of the Cascades.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Laurelhurst Community Club Collecting Dues And What The Funds Go Towards

The Laurelhurst Community Club is currently collecting annual dues which go towards supporting a variety of neighborhood projects and issues.

LCC invites neighbors to its monthly meeting on the second Monday of each month at 7pm at the Laurelhurst Community Center Fireside Room. 

This information was recently published in a recent LCC newsletter:

Dues Time + A Look at LCC’s Stewardship

Neighbors recently received LCC’s 2019 membership brochure and dues statement in the mail. Your $65 dues payment supports proactive efforts on land-use matters, environmental and traffic issues, crime prevention, neighborhood improvements, community forums, earthquake/emergency preparedness, newsletters, email updates, website hosting, and more. 
An extra $20 contribution pays for landscape maintenance on the Mary Gates Way / NE 41st Street planted median. Additional contributions are always welcome to support special neighborhood projects. Your neighbors on LCC’s all-volunteer Board of Trustees contribute hundreds of hours each year on your behalf to maintain the livability and vitality of our community and stretch the membership dues.  
Highlights of LCC’s 2018-19 goals and accomplishments: 

  • LCC advocates for a context-sensitive solution for development on the  17+ acre Talaris site. LCC dues pay for legal counsel and expert consultants on historic preservation as well as on hydrology and soils.
  • LCC representatives attend the Seattle Landmark Board deliberations and its Architectural Review Committee meetings in reference to Talaris and other local landmark preservation issues. 
  • LCC works with SPD on public safety and increasing coverage. 
  • LCC works closely with the LEAP (Laurelhurst Earthquake Action Preparedness) team and supports its efforts. In 2018, LEAP secured funding and began preparations for the neighborhood HUB. LEAP helps create and organize local clusters for emergency response and participated in UW’s resilience research project for local communities. 
  • LCC works with the UW, Sound Transit, and Metro to improve the  neighborhood’s needs for transit connections and pedestrian safety. n  LCC funds maintenance for public median strips along NE 41st Street and replaces dead plants and maintains the irrigation system. 
  • LCC advocates for more City of Seattle budget support to restore Laurelhurst Community Center operating hours and programs. 
  • LCC works with City Council as it develops a new tree ordinance to provide improved urban habitat and enhance its tree canopy. 
  • LCC is working with the car share providers to create more access at the Montlake Light Rail station. 
  • LCC participates in SR520 construction and design meetings to ensure continuous access from the northern approach to the Montlake Interchange.

Pay dues on LCC’s secure website (preferred –, or by mail to:

Laurelhurst Community Club

PMB #373

4616 25th Ave. NE

Seattle, WA 98105

For more information go here. 

Monday NEST Lecture On Downsizing

NEST (Northeast Seattle Together), which supports Northeast Seattle elder neighbors through a network of volunteers and vendors, is having a presentation on Monday at 2pm called "The Upside of Downsizing: Getting to Enough.

The event is being held at the Magnuson Park Brig (6344 NE 74th Street) in the Garden Room.

The information says:

Dr. Sara Hart will discuss her book: The Upside of Downsizing: Getting to Enough and her experience dealing with the emotional impact of downsizing. In this caring and lighthearted presentation, Dr. Hart will offer helpful hints on how to communicate effectively with Real Estate Agents, Professional Downsizers, Stagers, and friends and family. Dr. Hart will offer sage advice about taking care of yourself during the process and understanding what “getting to enough” means and how it can be so helpful to you. 
“How will I know when I have enough?” That is the question Sara Hart asks audiences when talking about her special project called Sign of Enough. She began her project in the mid 1990’s, and recently her passion has been refueled as the results of our over consumption and greed become more and more obvious. The idea also became the watch word for her as she completed a major downsizing of her home.  
Dr. Hart has been involved in helping to develop leaders and effective teams inside organizations for 30+ years. Prior to founding her own management consulting company, Hartcom, Sara was in charge of Training and Development for the research division of Pfizer both in the US and the UK. She has facilitated hundreds of groups and presented to scores of meetings.  

For more information go here or call the NEST office at 206-525-6378 or email

NEST is a non-profit grassroots operation serving NE Seattle seniors by creating a "virtual village" to helping them be able to stay in their own homes and neighborhoods they love. Volunteers provide companionship, care, as well as help seniors with a wide range of services, including gardening, computer help and more. to seniors aging in their homes. Ongoing classes (fitness, etc) are also offered, as well as access to events, transportation services, and various services (such as estate planners) who provide their services at a discount to members.