Browsed by
Month: April 2011

Snail on the Trail

Snail on the Trail

How often do you think hikers miss seeing things that are right under their noses?  I was looking down at the ground while hiking through the woods behind our house and saw something under the ivy and waterleaf. A super cool snail shell!  I actually find a lot of shells, but they usually don’t have any snails in them anymore.  What about this one?  Taking a closer look… …the snail was there! Judging from the photos on this Snails and…

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Snake in the Moss

Snake in the Moss

I was hiking through the woods behind my house this morning and found something on this log. A snake!  Seeing a snake lying on a bed of moss in the middle of the woods seemed a bit strange.  The sun was peeking through the clouds so I guess it was sunning itself.  But on moss? There are a lot of garter snakes around here, and I’ve posted about them before here and here.  Most of these are Northwestern Garter Snakes,…

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Inchworm Adult?

Inchworm Adult?

This moth was resting next to my front door late yesterday afternoon.  It was pretty small and, like many moths I find “attached” to the house, it wasn’t moving. I’m not sure what kind it is.  My best guess is a type of Geometer Moth.  According to Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter and Judy Haggard: They can be easily recognized by their habit, when at rest, of spreading their wings out flat against the substrate… Geometer Moth larvae…

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Backyard Birds of the More Common Varieties

Backyard Birds of the More Common Varieties

The other day I posted about ospreys and vultures that I saw flying over my yard this past weekend.  Now these photos are of the smaller birds that visit us every day. Above is a Northern Flicker.  See the red mark on its face?  That means it is a male. A Spotted Towhee was finding black sunflower seeds below my bird feeder… …as a Red-breasted Nuthatch was going right to the source.  After grabbing a seed, the nuthatch would fly…

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Rain Garden Shines in Sun

Rain Garden Shines in Sun

My rain garden has now lasted two weeks.  Last week we had a lot of rain, but it never overtopped despite two of my downspouts emptying into it.  The plants in the lowest part of the garden were under water, but when the rain stops the water infiltrates the ground at about 2 inches per hour.  I added bark mulch to the bottom of the garden to help keep weed growth down.  The mulch does float when filled with water,…

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Backyard Birds of Prey

Backyard Birds of Prey

Lately the skies seem to be filled with birds of prey.  This osprey was surveying the neighborhood, floating in large circles high above the house. There is a pair of ospreys that nest atop a nearby cell phone tower.  They fly over our house on their way down to the Willamette River.  Ospreys actually dive into the water to catch live fish, but I haven’t seen this happen yet. A few minutes later this massive scavenger floated over our backyard…

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Walnuts in Our Future

Walnuts in Our Future

What is different about my Walnut Tree this week? Not this crow.  Crows are frequent visitors to my yard. Definitely not this robin. Robins spend a lot of time in the Walnut Tree. The difference is in the tree itself.  It’s starting to leaf out! Related posts:Robin Hatchlings in ActionWalnut Battles IvyWalnut Life with Woodpecker

As the Insects Flourish, So Do the Cross Spiders

As the Insects Flourish, So Do the Cross Spiders

Now that we are starting to see some insects in the yard, the Cross Spiders have returned.  These spiders are not native but pretty soon they will be everywhere.  They spin large orb webs between trees and plants and wait in the middle of the web for an insect to fly into it. See the white cross on its abdomen (the large rear body segment)?  That is how they get their name. This one has already caught a meal.  Bugs…

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