Browsed by
Month: January 2011

Disturbance at the Heron House

Disturbance at the Heron House

The boys and I were hiking down to the river this past weekend and got a good look at the Great Blue Heron rookery (place where many birds nest together).  It has been empty since last summer when the herons all left the area.  I looked up at it like I do every time we hike down there.  This time, I saw something. They’re back! More arrived on Sunday and they appear to be staking out claims to nests, and…

Read More Read More

Indian Plum Signals Spring is Coming!

Indian Plum Signals Spring is Coming!

Our Indian Plums are starting to bloom!  This northwest native plant is important for wildlife since it blooms early and provides some winter food.  I’m not sure what kind of larva this is, but it seems to be taking advantage of the blooms. We have a lot of Indian Plum shrubs/trees (hard to say which they resemble more) and they volunteer along the edges of our yard and in the woods behind us.  I’ve heard the blooms smell like cat…

Read More Read More

Song Sparrow Keeping an Eye Out

Song Sparrow Keeping an Eye Out

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but it sounds to me like the Song Sparrows are starting to sing more. In between songs, this one kept a close eye on me and my boys yesterday. Here I caught him looking away- I don’t often get a good view of their backs and tails. Related posts:Sparrow ShowdownTowhee!Backyard Birds of the More Common Varieties

Moss- More Than Meets the Eye

Moss- More Than Meets the Eye

Here in the Pacific Northwest (and specifically west of the Cascade Mountains), moss is everywhere.  Everywhere.  Lawns, roofs, trees (like my walnut tree shown in the photo above), rocks, streets…the list is endless.  Why?  Because it is very wet here and moss needs lots of moisture to live.  Unlike many other types of plants, moss does not have efficient tubes inside to help move food and water throughout the plant.  So, it needs to live in an environment where water…

Read More Read More

Anna’s Call

Anna’s Call

Anna’s Hummingbirds are brightly colored, but as small as they are they aren’t exactly easy to see- especially on a day as cloudy as this one was this past weekend.  Many times, the easiest way to find them is to listen. Below is a video I shot.  It’s calls are very easy to hear, and it is a sound that fills the air in our yard all year round. Related posts:Anna’s Hummingbird Flashes On and OffRobins and Hummingbirds Getting AlongMore…

Read More Read More

Oregon Grape Snail

Oregon Grape Snail

One of my Oregon Grape plants had a visitor on it this morning.  See it? It’s a snail that is hidden inside its shell. This is another Oregon Grape plant in my yard and yes, it is native to Oregon where we live.  It is an amazing plant.  It is evergreen and changes colors throughout the year from greens to reds and yellows.  It also has small yellow flowers that turn into bluish berries.  The berries are edible but are…

Read More Read More

Walnut Life with Woodpecker

Walnut Life with Woodpecker

Birds are always sitting near the top of our Walnut Tree.  Sometimes I’m not sure what they are until I look at my blown up photos afterwards.  This one, though, was obvious. I saw it pecking away at my neighbor’s tree so it was obviously a woodpecker.  Also, it was very small which meant that it had to be a Downy Woodpecker.  Hairy Woodpeckers look very similar but are much bigger. Below is a video I shot of this bird…

Read More Read More

Elusive Frogs

Elusive Frogs

A couple of the small streams winding their way behind the houses in my neighborhood end in two small ponds below our house.  The ponds have been dug by volunteers.  This one has some duckweed growing in it and… …some frogs!  They are hard to get close to- every time I approach this pond they dive into the water and disappear into the duckweed. What kind of frogs are they?  I’m not completely sure, but they might be Foothill Yellow-legged…

Read More Read More