kingfisherBelted kingfishers make a prominent appearance along local shorelines with their loud, cackling calls and determined flight patterns. They are largely aquatic feeders with skilled diving techniques, using their long straight bills to catch their prey in the water. The birds are short, stocky, and bluish-gray, with a rock-star-quality crest on the head and white underparts. Males have a single blue band on the breast (like the fellow in the photo above); females have two bands –one blue and the other a reddish-brown.

Along the coastline of the northern Olympic Peninsula, a relatively obscure rodent has been burrowing out an existence beneath stands of Douglas-fir and western hemlock for centuries. Known commonly as “mountain beaver,” no relation to the North American Beaver, has been called many names, notably “boomer,” “ground bear,” “giant mole,” or “sewellel beaver.”