Resident birds such as common yellowthroat, marsh wrens and black-capped chickadees can be heard in the willow thickets. Finches, sparrows and swallows can be observed during different seasons. Low flowering shrubs provide food and nesting areas for hummingbirds and warblers. Red-tailed hawks nest in the alders. Woodland shrubs such as salal, thimbleberry, salmonberry, blackcap and blackberry produce fruit that is eaten by robins, cedar waxwings, deer, coyote and small mammals.
This native grass grows in dense tufts or clumps in many different environments as long as sufficient moisture is available, from tidal marshes and beaches to alpine meadows. The foliage is greenish through the summer and turns golden in the fall. Its tall, lacy seed heads can remain into winter.
Lyngby's is one of the most common sedges on the Pacific coast and can be found growing densely in estuaries and on mudflats from California to Alaska. In summer, seeds form in plump, tightly packed spikes. The entire plant is an ideal food for migrating geese and other fowl as it is very high in protein.
Pickleweed is a small succulent adapted to high salt conditions in mudflats and salt marshes. The plant filters the salt it absorbs from the environment and stores it in the cells of outer leaves, which turn reddish and die as the salinity builds over time. Pickleweed provides cover and nest material for small animals and food for some migrating waterfowl. Humans also enjoy its crunchy texture and salty flavor.
The golden to ruby colored salmonberries are usually the first to ripen in summertime and have been a favorite of Pacific Northwest peoples for centuries. The plant itself resembles other thorny berries in the area with deeply serrated green leaflets arranged in groups of three. The two lateral leaflets are said to resemble the two wings of a butterfly.
This native shrub is adapted to the moist soils around the waterways of the Pacific Northwest. It can grow to the size of a small tree and sports clusters of white flowers in spring and bright red berries in summer. In the past, the berries were an important food for coastal peoples. The plants also provide shelter and forage for songbirds and other animals.
Page Photo Credits Pickleweed and grass, ©Jan Weiser, Tufted Hairgrass, ©Jan Weiser, Lyngby's Sedge, ©Jan Weiser, Pickelweed, ©Jan Weiser, Salmonberry blossom, ©i'ina van Lawick, Red Elderberry, ©Dennis Ellison
Last Updated: Aug 22, 2012