Whatcom Magazine

Here’s what’s coming naturally to Whatcom’s land, sea and air

Trumpeter swans often arrive in Whatcom County in November, with many taking up residence in local farm fields.
Trumpeter swans often arrive in Whatcom County in November, with many taking up residence in local farm fields. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

SEPTEMBER

▪ Berries fruit in the mountains, bringing bears into the meadows.

▪ Orb-weaving spiders reach peak size and mate.

▪ Southern resident (or Salish Sea) orcas leave at the end of the month.

▪ Rivers reach their lowest flows.

▪ Two weeks after the first thorough rain of the fall, mushrooms sprout, including chanterelles and boletes.

▪ Huge wracks of eelgrass and kelp wash up on beaches.

OCTOBER

▪ Migrating birds of prey ride thermals near ridge tops.

▪ Douglas fir cones open, releasing seeds to the wind.

▪ When big-leaf maples lose their leaves, mosses and licorice ferns on their branches start growing.

▪ Rough-legged hawks arrive from the Arctic, along with a variety of hawks and owls that winter in the area.

▪ Snow geese arrive.

▪ Gray whales migrate south.

▪ Chinook, coho and chum salmon begin running in Whatcom Creek and continue into December. Coho and chum begin running on Chuckanut Creek and continue into December.

▪ Black bears den and enter a modified form of hibernation known as torpor. Though drowsy, bears still can defend themselves and their cubs should a predator threaten.

▪ Brant arrive at Padilla Bay.

NOVEMBER

▪ Trumpeter swans arrive.

▪ Mosses mate, their sperm swimming through rainwater. Their spore bodies form over the winter.

▪ Varied thrushes appear in inhabited areas of the lowlands.

▪ Extreme high tides of winter are pushed higher still by November storms.

▪ Most slugs go into hibernation.

▪ Coho and chum begin running in the Nooksack River and Squalicum Creek, and continue into December.

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