Monday, January 5, 2015

Starting 2015 with Alki Beach Walk

Alki Beach Seattle - January 1, 2015
Nothing like starting out 2015 right with a walk on a gorgeous sunny New Year's Day morning at Alki Beach in West Seattle.   Here is the Google map. We parked along the street near Me-Kwa-Mooks park at about 10 am and started walking down the Charles Richey Viewpoint sidewalk.

People and Dogs Walking near Alki Beach in Seattle
Considering that it was New Year's Day, the area was surprisingly crowded with lots of people walking their dogs.

Alki Point Lighthouse
For lighthouse enthusiasts, there is a peek-a-boo glimpse of the Alki Point Lighthouse.  Unfortunately it is not open for visitors or tours even if it had not been a holiday.

Constellation Park and Marine Reserve Sculpture
The Constellation Park and Marine Reserve is part of a complex of connected parks along the Alki Beach area.  A sculpture depicting a tide pool with local marine species and a plaque commemorates its establishment in 1999.
 Canis Major Constellation in the sidewalk at Constellation Park
Why is Constellation Park named Constellation Park?  For about a half mile there are artworks that create diagrams of a couple of dozen constellations imbedded in the sidewalk along with a plaque with the name of each one - a great way to learn an astronomy lesson while taking a walk.  I couldn't resist posing my border collies for a photo op on the Canis Major Constellation (below).

Canis lupus familiaris and Canis Major
Along the beach walk there are several interpretive signs concerning Harbor Seals, in particular about protecting the young pups from harassment by people or dogs.  The young seals like to rest on the beach while their mothers feed.  Well-intentioned, but uninformed people often made the mistake of assuming the pups were orphaned and would try to "rescue" them.  The signs help to educate about the habits of harbor seals and encourage people to leave the seal pups alone.

Harbor Seal Sign at Alki Beach Seattle
Birding along Alki Beach in winter is always interesting and full of surprises.  You never know what species you might see.  I spotted this pair of beautiful Harlequin ducks on a rock a few yards off shore.

Harlequin Ducks at Alki Beach, Seattle

.Another of the pleasures of Alki is watching the marine traffic including the regular trips of the Washington State Ferries.

A Washington State Ferry Cruises Across Puget Sound
 Alki has so many random, unique features like this miniature Statue of Liberty. 
The Statue of Liberty at Alki Beach

The view of the Seattle downtown area and the Space Needle from Alki offers the perspective of what those on an approaching ship see as they enter Elliot Bay.
The View of the Space Needle from Alki Beach