Thursday, February 22, 2018

Red Bike Left On Surber Drive

A neighbor would like to share that this bike was left in the 3900 block of Surber Drive Northeast:

Saturday Union Bay Bird Walk With Audubon Society

The Seattle Audubon Society is holding a Bird Walk on Saturday from 9-11am at the Union Bay Natural Area, adjacent to the University of Washington main campus. The leaders are Julia Hansbrough and Jill Ericsson.

The information says:

Neighborhood Bird Walks - A Wonderful Way to Meet Seattle's Birds! 
Neighborhood bird walk for beginning birders or new Seattleites will especially enjoy this exposure to the rich variety of regional bird life. Families and non-members are welcome to attend.  Meet at the Center for Urban Horticulture in the East parking lot off NE 41st Street, one block beyond the place where Mary Gates Memorial Drive turns left to become NE 41st Street.

Meet at the Center for Urban Horticulture in the East parking lot off NE 41st Street, near the greenhouses, one block beyond the place where Mary Gates Memorial Drive turns left to becomes NE 41st Street.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beautiful Sunrise

A Laurelhurst Blog reader sent in these picture of this morning's sunrise seen from the neighborhood and added: "Sunrises, like this morning's, certainly makes it easier to start your day!"

February Plant Profile: Chilean Plum Yew

Each month the UW Botanic Gardens' Newsletter, E-Flora, posts in detail about a specific plant, among many other interesting posts about events and general information.

This month's feature is about the Chilean plum yew, which is rarely grown..

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Car Prowls West Of Park

Several cars prowls were reported in the neighborhood early Monday morning, in the 4400 block of NE 41st Street near Laurelhurst Park and another in the vicinity of West Laurelhurst Drive. 

A neighbor told the Laurelhurst Blog:

Both of our cars were rifled through prior to 5:30am on Monday on NE 41st Street. They didn’t get much - pocket knives, hat, spare change, sunglasses.  
They did take my neighbors car and it was all the same night of the Ravenna/Bryant jacking which ended up in a death.

It has been reported that the stolen car was recovered downtown.

Today "Sustainable Turf Management Practices" Class At Center For Urban Horticulture

UW Botanic Gardens’ Center for Urban Horticulture  (3501 NE 41st Street) is having a class today called "Sustainable Turf Management Practices" taught by Brian Skinner, Skinner Landscape Service, and David McDonald, Seattle Public Utilities.  The cost is $65.

The class information says:

Learn how to save time and money, and satisfy your clients by growing healthier turf.  Through a combination of lecture, hands-on activities, and teamwork, attendees will learn about building healthy soil, matching turf maintenance to the site, and practices that enhance turf health, from seed selection to planting, mowing, fertilizing, watering, and weed, pest and disease prevention.   
We’ll talk about the best equipment, look at real problems and solutions, share field knowledge, and have plenty of time for your questions.  Your clients will save money on irrigation, and love how their lawns look and perform. 
There will  be an optional equipment demonstration on-site immediately following class for those who are able to stay.
Register online or call 206-685-8033.

Friday, February 16, 2018

All About Townsend's 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.

Living Sunshine

A Townsend's Warbler is one of my favorite birds. I love the alternating patches of brilliant yellow. Catching just a glimpse of one makes me smile. I can almost feel the warmth of summer sunshine on my face. When most Townsend's Warblers are soaking up Vitamin D in Mexico or California a hardy few choose to stay here during the gray of winter. 

Normally, they prefer to feed in the upper foliage of coniferous trees, but apparently in winter they are sometimes forced to look for food wherever they can find it. In winter I often see them searching among the blossoms of the flowering Mahonia in the Arboretum. 
This particular plant variety, 'Arthur Menzies', creates a bit of a conundrum for folks, like myself, who believe native plants are better for our local environment. This plant supplies winter food for the native Townsend's Warblers and also for Anna's Hummingbirds. Even though this variety of plant was discovered in the Arboretum, I do not think we can honestly call it a native. It is a hybrid of two Chinese species. You can read the interesting back story by Niall Dunne, Communications Manager, Arboretum Foundation, by Clicking Here.
One of the most odd features of Townsend's Warblers is how their color schemes vary depending on your perspective. When viewed from behind, they appear mostly black and white. If I only saw one departing, without a glimpse of yellow, I might not even realize the bird was a warbler.
When they spread their tails, you can see that the black and white color scheme extends to end of their rectrices or tail feathers.
When observed face-to-face a male bird appears mostly black and yellow. As they flicker through the foliage it is easy to overlooking their two white wing bars.

At first glance, a mature female looks pretty much the same as a male. You might even assume that the difference is due to the lack of sunlight in this photo. That is not the case. Females are a dark, olive green in color on their crowns and auriculars, e.g. sides of the head, while mature males have black in these locations.

Another critical difference can be seen in the primarily yellow throats of the females... compared to the black throats of the males.

Curiously, the male throats do not all have the same amount of black.

This male shows a lot less black, but perhaps, growing a black throat is a process. Occasionally, mature females can also have a bit of black on their throats, however, their cheeks and crowns will still be olive-green.

Among both the males and females, their backs are olive green with small dark spots. Given their propensity to feed high in the trees it is easy to miss their green and black backs.
As you can see from the last few photos, these birds are often found gleaning food from the branches of conifers in the winter. Last month I found them mostly in the Pinetum, while this month, I am seeing them more in the Winter Garden among the Mahonia blossoms.

Juvenile Townsend Warblers lack the black feathers and have a paler shade of green than the mature females.
In addition, they have less markings on their sides, just below their wings. Since the younger birds, both male and female, look virtually the same we are unable to determine their gender.
The black on this bird's head helps us to conclude it is male.

However, when the bird looks down, we can see olive green with black spots on its crown.

This is the same bird, which we saw earlier, with a minimal amount of black on its throat. I am assuming that these characteristics indicate we are looking at a youthful male who is in the process of molting and growing in its mature black coloring.
While it is fun to try and deduce the gender and age of these little birds, truthfully, I am always just pleased to spot such a brilliant little warbler. Especially one who foregoes the sunshine of Central America to share the winter with us.
Most life on earth depends on sunshine for survival, but warblers are one of the few who give proper due to their life source. To me their brilliant coloring looks like sunshine come to life.

Seattle Musical Theatre Receives Grant To Rebuild Sand Point Naval Air Station's Original Movie Theater

Nora Kozloff with nearby Seattle Musical Theatre, located at Magnuson Park, would like to let the community know that the Theatre has recently been awarded a substantial grant and together with funds raised from subscribers, will enable a complete rebuild of the aging stage, called the "Save the Stage project."

Nora added that the Theatre has a 40 year history in this area with the past 13 years spent in Building 47 at Magnuson, using the original movie theater of the Sand Point Naval Air Station, in the historic building.

The original home of Civic Light Opera was the Jane Addams School theatre, where the company performed for 25 seasons. In 2002, the company moved to the Shoreline Community Center, and then to Magnuson in 2004. In 2006, the Board of Directors changed the name to  Seattle Musical Theatre (SMT).
Below is a press release that Nora said " intends to share the news of the Theatre's good fortune with members of both the greater community and our neighbors, many of whom have supported the Theatre over the years, and also to inform the community of the structural changes to the Theatre which will positively impact performances next season."

Nora said the project is fully funded and the Theatre is not seeking further contributions. 

Here is the press release: 

Seattle Musical Theatre (SMT) has received an award from the Morgan Family Foundation to rebuild the stage at their historic theatre in Magnuson Park. 
SMT kicked off the “Save the Stage” rebuild with the support of Artfund’s “power2give.”After meeting the initial target goal, fundraising has continued through Seattle Foundation’s  “GiveBig” and King County Employees Annual Giving Program.  
SMT began its campaign to “Save the Stage” after an inspection in 2016 revealed that the temporary stage built ten years earlier would need to be demolished and rebuilt. This inspection also uncovered a surprise.  
Amidst the sagging timbers was a crescent shaped half wall dating back to the Navy’s construction of the building in 1941; it was the original orchestra pit used to support the screening of silent films.  The location of the pit was apparently too far upstage for musical theatre productions, so a stage extension was built over it. 
Meanwhile, new Artistic Director Tyrone Brown began questioning the location of the orchestra in relation to the stage.  “SMT has been plagued by poor acoustics in this facility.  Why not return the orchestra to the center the way the Navy, in its wisdom, first envisioned it?” 
For the recent production of “Annie,” Brown moved the musicians to center stage, taking out the first row of seats.  The sound quality of the production was greatly improved, though the music at times overpowered the vocals.  
“That’s when we discovered a crawl space under the theatre floor,” noted Brown.  “We stepped up the fund-raising campaign and last week received the wonderful news that Seattle Foundation, through its partner organization, the Morgan Family Foundation, will fund permanently moving the orchestra to the center after dropping the theatre floor about two feet to create the new pit.” 
“We would like to move the original orchestra pit to the new location after the temporary stage is demolished,” says Tom Ansart, Secretary, and SMT board member.  He noted that the old pit is still accessible from the backstage dressing room in the basement.  “I presume the musicians entered the pit from the green room.  Although it probably isn’t feasible to move the existing wall, we can copy its features in the new design.  For historic preservation, we will leave the original wall in place.”

"AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’" is currently showing at the Theatre, followed by "The Producers" in April, then "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" in May and June.

For more information go here.