I drove over to this park that sits right on the Puget Sound so when I got out of my car there was a strong smell of low tide and the sea. It was 10:45am and about 52 degrees with cloud cover. The grass that was near the parking lot before the trailheads had almost a dozen American Robins scattered looking for worms and squirrels near the trash cans and picking up pinecones from the surrounding trees. Below there is a link to a picture I took of a partially chewed up pinecone that an Eastern Gray Squirrel had dropped just off the path. They usually eat away at pinecones for the nutrients inside and they are easy to obtain.
I chose to go in the morning so I could observe some birds too and compare the species to what I have found at the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA) and other areas on campus. Right away I heard a chickadee and later on spotted one flying overhead. After walking for about five minutes I was taking a picture of a Big-Leaf Maple when two robins burst out of the tree cover chirping at each other and then flew away. I had been hearing some short tweets but couldn't place the bird until the robins appeared. It is hard to always tell if a bird call you're hearing is a robin because they have almost twenty different sounds, depending on the situation. Another sound I kept hearing was a short, repetitive call that belonged to the Hermit Thrush. It has a very round body and a tiny head, giving it an odd but distinctive shape. The colorings are brown with streaks of white and gray along its whole body. Besides the Hermit Thrush, most of the bird species found in Carkeek Park are the same I have spotted around University of Washington and UBNA.
One of the first things I noticed about the trees in this area was the lichen on their branches and how much of the tree was covered in different variations of lichen. The crostose lichen was the majority I could see from the trail and its presence proves their is good air quality in the area. From the very edge of the trail there were roughly 4 feet tall Horsetail (that grew so well because of the marshy, wet environment) and tall buttercups. About a meter off the trail there was a mix of Common Ivy, Deer Fern, and Sword Ferns that covered about 95% of the ground. Some of the medium sized trees were Salmonberry and just above them were the Red Cedars and Big Leaf Maples. At the top of a small hill on the trail I looked back at the forested area and could not see straight through to the water and had not been walking more than 15 minutes, so the area is thriving and has a strong ecosystem.