Posted by: silverstar98121 | May 3, 2009

Nature Notes, Fantasy Edition

nature-notes2This week I have some serious stuff, and some not so serious stuff. We’ve been having our usual Spring weather for Seattle. Changeable. Yesterday I headed to the store to shop for groceries. It was sunny and sixty. By the time I finished, it was pouring rain. I got drenched running for the bus. But that’s Seattle for you.

I’m trying to notice little things. For instance, there is a tree around the

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

corner that has lily-of-the-valley growing underneath it. I love the stuff, despite the fact that it’s poisonous. This little plot of flowers under the tree is spreading, as lily of the valley is wont to do. The other plant in the picture is some kind of parasite on the trees, too, that grows around here. At least I think it’s a parasite, it grows around the base of the trees. I’ve had no luck identifying it.

Artificial pond.

Artificial pond.

We took a trip today across Lake Washington to Lake Sammamish State Park. On the way there we encountered some strange wildlife. They were near this pond. The pond is near a parking garage and bus terminal, and serves to filter the oil and other pollutants from the stormwater before it gets back into the groundwater.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

It’s quite an ingenious system, and one that probably should be used more often than it is.

Salmon on the bridge.

Salmon on the bridge.

We also saw some salmon. OK, so they were up on a highway brigde. This is a fantasy nature note, you know!

Lake Sammamish is a large lake east of Seattle. It’s in a heavily populated, yet wooded area. On the way there, we saw a deer standing in the highway. At the lake we could hear red-winged blackbirds calling. The ubiqitous mallards were there, of course, and seemed pretty tame as some of the children were feeding them.



There were these other creatures there that I’ve been told are mythological, but which looked pretty real to me. There were a whole bunch of them, and you could identify them by their wings. I’ve decided I need a big pair of wings to put on Miss Scarlett when we go to these shindigs. After all, she really does fly. Did I tell you I decided she was female, because she pirouettes so gracefully? Oh yes, definitely female.  The only male I’ve seen dance like that was Mikhail Baryshnikov.

And the last fantasy creature we saw at the Lake was this flying fish.

Flying fish!

Flying fish!

Unfortunately, by the time I got around to trying to get a picture of it, it had been grounded by lack of wind. Too bad. It was really pretty when it was flying.

All good things must come to an end, and so after our picnic, we packed up and headed back to Seattle by bus. It’s nice to know there are places like that to go where they still have real birds along with their fantasy animals.

Don’t forget to go see who else is posting in Nature Notes at Rambling Wood’s place.


  1. Fairies? That’s just cool… I hang out with drag queens sometimes, but they usually only come out at night!

  2. Ah…this is clever Eileen…I love the fantasy creatures. I may need to invite some to over winter here in Buffalo so I have some company for the long winters. I was thinking that everyone is Seattle must have really green lawns with all the rain you get….Thanks for this very unique Nature Note.. Michelle

    • All that brown is a sandy beach, Michelle. There are lifeguards there in the summer, and people swim. Our lawns are backward here, though. They are green in the winter when the rains come, and brown in the summer because people just let them go for the most part.

  3. I love lily of the valley. We used to have some around the old 1800’s victorian I grew up in. They were probably planted by the original owners. I used to pick them regularly, and probably chew on them, and otherwise handle them thoroughly as a child. Who knew they were poisonous? Probably explains a few things. Wow. Now I know, don’t eat lily of the valley, and don’t feed dogs grapes.

  4. I didn’t know lilies of the valley are poisonous. My mother used to grow them on the side of the house growing up.

    Would love to know how you came up with the fantasy creatures idea. The photo with all those costumed folk seems rather inspirational.

    • Well, Leora, there were a few things:
      1) I stole the idea from F*** You, Penguin, which occasionally has fantasy animal week.
      2) I knew we were going to commune with the fairy folk this weekend.
      3) The flying fish just showed up for a photo op
      4) Apparently my underactive physical body adds to an overactive imagination

  5. I have GOT to get back out to Seattle… you painted such a great written picture to go along with the digital photos. sounds like a superb day.

    • When shall I expect you? I recommend a summer tour.

  6. looks like not many knew about lily of the valley being poisonous. you can add my name to that list too

  7. Mine too.

    Very enjoyable day. Love the fairies.

    I saw MB dance shortly after he defected in Canada and did a tour with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I was 17 and to this day have never seen anything like him.

    • Lucky you! The most I got was seeing him on a movie screen. But some of the close-ups of his leotard more than made up for that in my 16 year old mind.

  8. wow – lucky Azahar. I would love to have seen him dance

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