Tag Archives: animals

Deer on Mercer Island– Photo Evidence

Bank in 2008, I blogged about a deer sighting in Mercer Island. So far that post has 36 comments, with people contributing various sightings and theories on our deer. At the time I had no photos. But as of my run on Saturday, now I do.


This was on the trail right by the old Stevenson property (more on that later) off Island Crest Way, around 2 in the afternoon. Just in case you missed them:


Since I last blogged about the deer here, there’s been (for MI) a heated discussion of the deer and whether they are a problem. Patch covered them. A blog called the Northwest Sportsman did a kind of a rant on the subject, but it’s hard to figure out what side they came down on.

Conner Webster even uploaded a video of the deer, complete with pretty cool deer theme music that I assume was added later and did not appear with the deer. Click to go to vimeo to watch the video:


The Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife captures the pros & cons of our brown fuzzy neighbors: “Their aesthetic beauty is appreciated and admired, although their fondness for garden and landscape plants tries some peoples’ patience.”

3 Ducklings at Ellis Pond

Second batch this year at Ellis Pond, from what I can tell:


Contest: Send Photos of the Mercer Island Deer

In the last few years a new kind of resident has come to Mercer Island: a small family of deer. These are actually old residents– the Island used to be home to many deer.

Reports from around the Island confirm that there are have been deer in recent years (check out the comments on this post) and my neighbor saw some while we were camping. Something had definitely munched the plants in our yard.

Unfortunately, as a part-time blogger, the only prize I can offer is your name and our thanks in this blog. But find those photos and send them in

Creepy Sounds at Night

Not to scare you, but there’s something creepy out there. From a reader:

“Since you’re the only Mercer Island blogger I know about, I thought I’d ask you about this situation:

Around dusk my visiting mother and I heard the most frightening commotion outside and against the house. It sounded like a woman making all sorts of odd and very loud moans, with no intelligible words, while crashing about as though trying to forcefully open one of our doors. (The rattling and banging sounded like it was against the metal frame of the door or the attached windows, rather than a random wall). It lasted for several minutes, during which we called the cops for fear that someone quite mentally ill was attempting to break in, and we didn’t want to go into that room, so we didn’t see what was outside. A police officer came and took a look around and didn’t finding anything; he figured it was raccoons fighting over territory, which did make sense given that I know they’re common and pretty active, and I didn’t grow up here so I’m a raccoon newbie.
Here’s the thing: Any audio I can find of raccoons fighting, or mating, or whatever, sounds more screechy and less human (closer to cats fighting, a noise with which I’m quite familiar), and this was truly eerie. Do you have any sense of what lives on this island, is large enough to make a real racket, and sounds human…hopefully without actually being an actual violent, disoriented woman trying to break into my house? 
  Thanks for any ideas you might have!”


The best I could come up with is: “Holy crap Molly, that does sound creepy.”  Except for raccoons and those ever-wandering deer, a potential bobcat and maybe an odd owl or eagle, I don’t think we have many big creatures on the Island. Way back when some thought the Island haunted, and we know there were once bears.

Anyone else have a better explanation?

And just in case you’re wondering, here’s what fighting raccoons sound like.

Bobcat on Mercer Island?

Several news outlets are reporting sightings of bobcat tracks in Mercerdale.

Video here, more details here.

For those who would love to see the bobcat: these animals are pretty clever hunters who like to hunt from trees and attack solitary prey, often from behind. For any runners out there, bobcats like dawn and dusk best. Be careful.

In the extra-creepy department, here’s a quote from the nwcn article:
Chris Anderson, a biologist with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, says there are bobcats around King County, but he has not heard of them on Mercer Island.
Anderson says it’s an “unusual spot for them.” He says it would be difficult for the bobcat to travel across I-90 without being hit or spotted, but that “sometimes these animals can hitch a ride on something. It’s not unheard of.”

So if you weren’t unsettled by the thought of a big cat hunter in your neighborhood, think of it hitching a ride on your car. Yowza!

Early Mercer Island Was a Haunted, Dangerous Place

Think the snow makes things tough? Our predecessors had to deal with a sinking Island, bears and murder. Read on:


Mercer Island Named for Supernatural Pioneer, 1860

Our island was named Mercer’s Island for Thomas Mercer, an early Seattle pioneer who often visited the Island. The Native Americans believed the Island was haunted and sank into the lake every night. Once Mercer spent the night on the Island, causing the natives who rowed him to and from to believe that he had supernatural powers.

This story is from historylink.org, an online encyclopedia of Northwest history. I love this site. It lets me indulge my addiction to Northwest history, despite blog stats that show that readers routinely pass over history-related posts.

What else happened on Mercer Island in the 19th century?

Man Kills Bear on Mercer Island, June 1873


Please report any bear sightings to mercerislandblogger@yahoo.com. Be sure to tell the police, too.

Mr. G. Proctor sighted a bear near his premises and gave chase. Not only did he kill the bear, he pursued it out into the Lake and dragged it back on shore.

Now THAT’S killing a bear. Full story by Greg Lange.

James Colman is Murdered Near Mercer Island, February 1886

This story of murder includes such evocative details as:

  • ” Suspicion falls on George Miller, whom Colman had accused of illegal land dealings.”
  • “The boat was beached on the west side of the island, directly opposite the Mathieson home in Seattle. Blood stained the wooden seats.”
  • “At the trial in Port Townsend, 9-year-old Alla Olds took the stand, but when the prosecuting attorney made her cry, she told her story to the judge instead.”
  • “For years, many on Mercer Island referred to the island’s southern end as Murder Point. The place where the boat was found became Deadman’s Bay.”

Alan J. Stein did a beautiful writeup on the murder and also brought us the story of the naming of Mercer’s Island. Stay warm & stay away from Deadman’s Bay.

Photo credit: Roy Mac, flickr (bear) and Canadian Elligirl, flickr (rowboat).

Deer on Mercer Island circa 2008

My neighbor spotted three deer outside her house this weekend. I’ve heard they swim (!?) over from Seward Park and the Eastside.

Not my neighbor’s house, and not those deer. Photo: Noel Zia Lee on Flickr.

Mercer Island Weekly said there were deer spotted near Pioneer Park about the same time last year.

Has anyone else seen deer on the Island this year? And more importantly, has anybody ever seen a deer swim? I’d love to see some pictures of that, or at the least hear an elaborate description.

The Flowers are Confused

Spring weather in February confuses the flowers. It was a beautiful weekend.

Confused Mercer Island Crocus A confused crocus.

Here are the Olympic Mountains from the top of Island Crest Way around 40th.

The Olympic Mountains from Island Crest Way

The weather’s nice for lounging in the garden, if you don’t have a job:

Mercer Island cat in sun
An unemployed freeloader.

Hunted by an Owl

The other day I was out running on West Mercer Way. It was about 5 pm, and getting dark. Something heavy tangled itself in my hair. I thought it had fallen from a tree. But then it fell up, not down, and I saw a bird fly on ahead of me. A crow, I thought, with bad aim and a very short life expectancy, given its flying habits.

The bird alighted on a branch, and I got closer and saw it was an owl.

Not the owl that attacked me. Not the owl that attacked me. Photo credit: Flickr.

I stared at him. He stared back. It’s a strange feeling to be hunted. I said, “Boo!” He looked at me, swiveled his head around, and then back. I said “Boo!” again, mostly to re-establish my position in the food chain. He stared.

I started to run again, and as I did he took off behind me. I ducked. It wasn’t quite fear, but I didn’t want a bird in my hair. I decided to go straight home. I wanted to turn around and see if he was following me, but I worried that he’d get my eyes.

Later, a friend suggested that the owl might not have been hunting; he may have been building a nest, and thought my hair would be useful. Somehow, that didn’t make me feel promoted in the owl worldview.

Wildlife is to be respected, though I hadn’t anticipated needing to respect it on West Mercer Way. Bonus lesson for runners: run during the day.