Lighting up smiles | FerryFare

Do the Port of Kingston’s Christmas lights have you thinking, “That must have been a really big trip to Costco”?

It’s actually volunteers who turn a half million LED lights into the cool displays. With Bellevue Botanical Garden designs, the lights are botanically correct. As soon as the holidays are over, volunteer stalwarts scout and conjure new display ideas. From March through November, Kingston’s light elves build the new and repair the old.

A big thanks to Maxine Walters, Patty Fortune, Brenda Morrow, Pam Metcalf, Hollace Vaughan, Chiquita Smith, Anne Mossman, Peggy Krause, Dick Coar, Jan Richards, Rita Beebe, Julie Swanberg, Dee Peterson, and Lee Fallon.

Interested in lighting up smiles in Kingston? Contact Ray Carpenter at the port.

Ferry cool birding: Kitsap Audubon Society’s Gene Bullock offers us advice on birding from the ferry.

“The Kingston Marina and ferry terminal are great places to watch birds from November to early May. I always keep my binoculars handy when I make the trip to Edmonds. Birds that breed in the Arctic think Kitsap is downright tropical because our shorelines are usually ice-free year round. Marine birds and waterfowl love to find winter havens in the protected coves and inlets along the Kitsap coastline.

“Horned grebes play among the marina slips and seem to delight in diving just when you get your camera poised. The marina can also be a great place to find pairs of Hooded Mergansers fanning their colorful crests to dazzle and impress potential mates. The resident kingfisher is also likely to do a rattling flyby to demonstrate who’s in charge.

“The pilings along both sides of the terminals are usually elbow-to-elbow with up to three species of cormorants: Double-crested, pelagic and Brandt’s. These birds can dive deeper to chase fish because their feathers lack oils that would make them too buoyant; but afterward they can be seen drying their wings in the sun. Rafts of surf scoters, white-winged scoters, barrows and common goldeneyes, as well as horned grebes, red-breasted nergansers and common loons can usually be seen floating in and around the terminal.

“On the Edmonds side, we sometimes see a red-throated loon as well. Of course, there are always gulls galore. Kitsap can get more than a dozen species of gulls, but glacous-winged gulls are the most common. At Point No Point and other areas along our coast, we get large wintering flocks of Bonaparte’s and Heermann’s gulls. But don’t put your binocs away when your boat leaves the terminal. During the crossing, watch for pigeon guillemots, common murres, rhinoceros auklets and endangered marbled murrelets that may be foraging farther from shore.”

Ferry Merry Christmas!

— Your Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee