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Month: July 2010

What’s Up, Oregon Lily?

What’s Up, Oregon Lily?

These Tiger Lilies have finally bloomed in our yard this week.  There is actually a native Tiger Lily here- or at least it has been in the area for a long time- and is sometimes called an Oregon Lily according to Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon.  This particular one in my yard however is most likely a garden variety. These flowers are very distinctive with their “tiger” colors, petals curved backwards, and long…

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Sand Wasps on the Beach

Sand Wasps on the Beach

The boys and I spent the afternoon hiking again just up the road in Mary S. Young State Park.  Along one of the isolated inlets of the Willamette River were loads of these colorful Western Sand Wasps.  Yellows, blues, greens- this bug has it all!  They would fly around and occasionally land on the beach sand for a few seconds before taking off again.  They nest in underground burrows, though I didn’t see any of them actually go underground.  According…

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Name These Bugs, please!

Name These Bugs, please!

I have absolutely no idea what this is.  It landed on a tree in my backyard.  It is pretty small and flies away fast.  Click on the photo for a closeup.  It has HUGE eyes, a long and thin body, and what look to me like moth wings. What is it??? I also don’t know what this one is.  When I took this photo I was sure it was a spider because of the web it was sitting on (can…

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“Dad- there’s a Mourning Dove!”

“Dad- there’s a Mourning Dove!”

According to The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, doves and pigeons (also known as columbids) are one of the few types of birds that can drink water without lifting their heads.  Most other birds can’t do this- they have to lift their heads up to let the water fall down their throats.  Columbids are able to drink water by sucking it up through their beaks. Related posts:Squirrel and Doves Get Along

What’s That Buzzing Noise?

What’s That Buzzing Noise?

Have you ever heard a buzzing sound from the treetops above you?  It was probably one of these bugs- a cicada that my neighbor photographed in his yard.  This one looks like an Orchard Cicada (see this WSU website).  In the East, cicadas can form large swarms or groups that make terrible noises and can eat lots of farm crops.  But lucky for us Westerners this bug likes to live alone. So next time you hear that strange buzz, remember…

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Giant Tadpoles

Giant Tadpoles

The Willamette River is low this time of year since it doesn’t rain much here in western Oregon in the summer (as opposed to the other 9 months a year!).  When the river goes down it leaves little pools along some of its rocky shores.  The tadpoles above were two of about a hundred living in one of these pools in Mary S. Young State Park down the road from our house.  These soon-to-be frogs were HUGE- several inches long….

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Black and White Hummingbird?

Black and White Hummingbird?

This dull-colored bird was sitting in a pine tree across the street this week.  It looks like a hummingbird, but aren’t they supposed to be colorful? Now that’s more like it!  A very colorful bird, indeed.  But wait a second- it’s the same bird!  That’s right.  Hummingbirds don’t actually have any coloring.  But if their bodies are angled just right towards the sun, the sunlight breaks up as it reflects off of their feathers.  This is why we see such…

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Where Do Trees Come From?

Where Do Trees Come From?

This very large walnut tree is in our backyard.  Ever wonder where trees like this come from?  How did it get there?  How did it start growing? The secret is in the walnuts… When the walnuts first fall, they are covered in a soft, green, slimy shell.  They are a LOT of fun to throw and watch them SPLAT against tree trunks.  But there are many, many walnuts that fall from the tree every year- even my two sons and…

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