It’s a snow day today. The birds don’t seem to be thrilled, but they are doing what they can to scrounge food during the icy downpour. A hummingbird is sitting on a snowberry bush and flashing me like a red streetlight.
The juncos are the most common feeder bird right now, but there are warblers and sparrows as well.
It’s really starting to come down.
This little guy was hiding under the Barbecue yesterday. I just grabbed her by the tail and sent her out to the field. Since she didn’t run off right away, I got the camera and took her picture.
For the past few days, we’ve been dog-sitting. Charlie, the dog in question, has known us for a while now and every so often, he stays with us while his owner is out of town. I have been pretty busy at work recently and so I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about having an animal around the house, but I’ve really enjoyed this visit. Maybe it is because I have been busy, that I haven’t really been exercising lately. Having a dog around is a good excuse to get off your butt.
During our recent outings, the weather has been pretty clear and so I have brought the camera along. So apart from the exercise, I also get a few pictures I can keep.
I have noticed a few unusual things while I am out. The shot above shows how the frost is melting in the shadow of the fence. I thought it was interesting that the fence has straight sections, but the areas where the frost is still prominent are curved.
There were a surprising number of things that were growing and even blooming in the relative cold of the Northwest in December.
I am very much enjoying Charlie’s visit. He seems to like our walks as much as I do.
I found this Northern Flicker at the suet feeder today with an obvious trauma to her right wing. She seemed strong and was effectively defending her turf against the starlings, but there was no way she was flying anywhere.
I thought about it for a minute; should I leave her there to be easy prey for a cat or another animal, or perhaps to just freeze to death? It is the natural order, on the other hand, it’s hard for me to do nothing.
In the end, I decided that if she was able to recover, the Portland Audubon Society would take her and give her a safe place to recuperate. If she were doomed, then the trip to Audubon would still be her best shot.
I walked out, and followed her down the fence a few yards. She jumped on the ground where I was easily able to pick her up. I got a little bit of blood on my hands as I moved her into a box for transport.
In the end, her prognosis was very bad. her wing was broken at the wrist and the folks at Audubon said that she would never fly again. Their only real option would be to euthanize her.
I was sad to hear this, but the gentleness and professionalism of the staff made me feel better about bringing her in.
Our back yard will be just a little less colorful without her.
Here is a tiny blossom that forms at the end of these purple vines. I like the subtlety of this flower. You have to look close to even notice the bloom and the color blends into the rest of the plant.
Bees are some of my favorite summer animals. This one wouldn’t sit still, but I caught him moving slowly enough so you could at least tell what it was.
Bushtits look like little mice with wings. They move about in flocks while making this “pip” sound.
A BBQ today at the in-laws was crashed by a flock of about 40 of them. It was fun to watch.
This grainy pic was taken through a window in a bit of a rush. I saw what I thought was a new bird for me. It looked kind of like a sparrow, but as you can see, it has some unusual tail markings.
In the end, I decided I was looking at a song sparrow with a few extra-stylish tail feathers.
The macro lens lets me explore detailed structures like the inner-workings of these flowers. The plant is actually a weed that I mistook for an aster when it was small. I planted several of these in planters and now I have a small knotweed garden. I probably shouldn’t let these go to seed, but they grow so fast and have interesting flowers. Gratifying.
There was even a hitchiker on the plant – equally beautiful.
The aster is alive. Spiders, bees, butterflies, and this tree frog who, incidentally, is nicknamed Aster.