Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eagle Landing Park

The other day Roger, Charlie and I took a short trip over to Eagle Landing Park.  Eagle Landing Park is a small six-acre park, in a quiet residential neighborhood.  It opened on June 15th, 2005, and it is located at the west end of SW 149th Street, where it meets 25th Ave SW, in Burien.  The walk from the parking lot to the beach is about a quarter of a mile, dropping 275 feet in elevation. 
 The goal of the park is to provide visitors with an intimate experience of nature close to an urban center.  Instead of driving for an hour to feel at home in the woods, you can have this experience within walking distance of City Hall.  The park feels much larger than it is (it's roughly the same size as Lake Burien School Park) because the trees screen out the surrounding homes and provide the illusion of endless forest. 

Adding to the impression of untamed wilderness are the screams of the eagles, who have been nesting in a tree in the middle of the park since 1989.  The park is home to over fifty species of native plants, and volunteers are working to remove invasive plants such as ivy and reintroduce more species of native plants.  Visitors have seen woodpeckers, hawks, raccoons, otters and foxes, and you may see these creatures if you keep your dog on a leash and walk quietly along the trail. 

A pair of bald eagles began nesting in these woods in 1989, and according to reports have produced two offspring every year from '89 through 2005.  (In 2006 and '07, they don't seem to have had any offspring, although they still spend much of their time in the area.  One possibility is that they have simply retired after producing over thirty offspring, and are enjoying their golden years.  Wouldn't you?)  Their nest tree is located in the middle of the upper half of the park, and their perch tree is on the southern boundary of the park in the middle of the steep slope above the beach. They lay their eggs in late March or early April, and those eggs hatch in late spring. The first flight of the fledglings usually happens around mid-July. In late August, the parents and the young leave the area, and in late September the adults come back to the nest tree without the fledglings, having launched them on their own careers. Through the winter, the white-headed adults can be seen snapping off brittle alder branches for nesting material. We see them flying back and forth fishing along the sound quite often from the back deck of our house.
Bald Eagle on the perch tree at Eagle Landing
Coopers Hawk at the park
One of the things that we love here in the Pacific Northwest is the abundance of bird life in our area. From the majestic eagles to the bright blue Stellar Jay, we have a multitude of beautiful birds in our backyard on a daily basis. My morning routine always includes sitting on the deck with my coffee and listening to the singing birds. A great way to start the day!

No comments:

Post a Comment