Surprise in the Mail

Look at this beauty who was hammering away at the pine tree right next to our mailbox yesterday.

Pileated Woodpecker

She was only about six feet up in the tree and as you can see from the next photo, really close to our next door neighbor’s house and the street’s mailbox.

Pileated Woodpecker

She was completely engrossed in what she was doing. While we were taking pictures, another neighbor walked up the street to get her mail. She kept on drilling, pausing ocassionally to tilt her head to the side and peer into the hole she’d made.

Pileated Woodpecker

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Watering Hole

We visited Cooper Mountain Nature Park on Monday.  Although we got there at 10:30am, it was pretty darn warm.  We saw a small flock of six Western Bluebirds fly overhead, an Anna’s Hummingbird doing some pretty cool aerial acrobatics, lots of Scrub Jays and heard some Stellar’s.   Lots of hank-hank calls from Nuthatches and Junco’s chipping to one another as we walked through the woods.

The pond was the draw for the birds.  It has dried up to not more than perhaps an inch or so of water in the deepest spot.  We parked ourselves on a rock and watched birds take turns trying to bathe or drink from the little bit of moisture left.

The highlight for me was seeing a Black-Throated Grey Warbler at the watering hole for which I promptly took a series of very bad photos. And a family of White-Crowned Sparrows, including some juveniles took their turn at the communal bath.

Black-Throated Gray Warbler

Juvenile White-Crowned Sparrow

A Lorquin’s Admiral butterfly flew in and was kind enough to stop for a photo, too.

Lorquin's Admiral

Lorquin's Admiral

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Soldiers in the Woods

We hiked Saddle Mountain yesterday.  This is a hike we’ve done many times in the past but never the first weekend in September, I guess.   Not a cloud in the sky or many birds that we could find but the trail was filled with wildflowers  and warm sunshine and just enough of a breeze to be comfortable..  It was a beautiful day.  We ate our lunch at the top of the mountain and enjoyed the view of the ocean in distance.

The trip was marred for me a bit because our visit happened to coincide with the start of elk hunting season.  The seven-mile road from Hwy 26 to the trailhead was lined with pick up trucks every few hundred feet and men dressed up exactly like the GI Joe dolls I remember my brother playing with when we were kids.  They were decked out in camo from head to toe.

I kept thinking of the elk and the hunters the whole way up the mountain.  While we were eating our lunch in the sunshine, some terrified animal was probably being chased through the woods, running for its life.  Who wakes up on a beautiful, sunshiney day and wants to go out and kill something for sport?  Apparently a lot of  people.  There were probably fifty trucks along that road.  I will never understand it.

So, here’s some pictures of things that make me happy and feel good.

I hope a few of those hunters tripped over a log and sprained their ankles.


Indian Paintbrush

Bee in Thistle

Aster on Saddle Mt.

Trail to Saddle Mt

Rocky Outcrop on Saddle Mt.

View of the Ocean from Saddle Mt.

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The personal hummer feeders I posted about earlier this week have drawn the attention of more than the hummingbirds.  At least one curious Black-Capped Chick-a-Dee is intrigued by them. We’ve seen them reach behind and try to drink directly from the plastic tubing holding the nectar.

Curious Chick-a-Dee

The Black-Headed Grosbeaks that visited our feeders in the spring are back. It’s mate is on the opposite side of the feeder. We haven’t seen them in the yard since spring. I have to wonder if it’s the same pair we saw earlier this year. Perhaps they are done raising their young and have returned to this spot. I keep hoping to see a juvenile or two tagging along but so far it’s an adults-only affair. Wow, I think It’s time to clean my feeers!

Black-Headed Grosbeak

The Douglas Aster I posted about last week is a big draw for all sorts of bees and butterflies. This little tree frog thinks it’s completely hidden amongst the large plant. Little did it know that it gave us a very good view from the window.

I'm Hiding

Skipper on Aster

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Personal Hummer Feeders

My husband was feeling creative last week and made some small, personal hummer feeders for the three or four hummingbirds who call our yard their home. The finished product is constructed from some old silk flowers we recycled from a lamp, wire and tubing. He hung them from a trellis in the backyard.

Personal Hummer Feeder

Hummer Trellis

The prototype was made from a small plastic vial we use to put spices in when we go camping and then hung with string from the pergola over our patio. They looked cute hanging and we thought about trying to add lights to them to make them truly multi-purpose. But we found it was hard for the hummers to get anything from the feeders. If there was even a slight breeze, the feeders would swing too much to be much use for them.

I sat on the back step for about a half hour last night and watched a hummer move from snowberry bush to pink impatiens to the regular hanging feeders and to the trellis with the new little feeders. I don’t know that these little feeders will stay around forever in the yard. Seems like a lot of work to fill the little things and keep them clean. But they have been providing some entertainment this week, that’s for sure.

Hummer on Snowberry

Hummer on Impatiens

Hummer in Lilac

Hummer on Trellis

Hummer on Trellis

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A Hot Day at Ridgefield

We decided to take a trip up to Ridgefield NWR on Sunday. It was steamy hot and the mosquitos were out in full force. At one point, one little charmer was determined to bite my eyelid, of all places. Drat. Remembered the sunscreen. Forgot the Deet.

Oh well, we had a great time. Not as birdy as I’d hoped but then again, I could have been distracted a bit slapping my legs and waving my arms around my head most of the time and missed some. Okay most. Even the coyote looks hot and by the end of the afternoon, I was convinced the kayakers had the right idea for a Sunday afternoon.

Wapato, Broadleaf Arrowhead


Western Painted Turtle


Oregon Ash

Wild Sweet Pea

Hot Coyote

Kayaks, Ridgefield NWR

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August Colors

We have been waiting all summer for the first bloom of our Douglas Aster.  Here it is.  The plant is taller than I am and elbowing its neighbors pretty hard for room.  The bees and hummingbirds love it.


We had our first Yellow Plum Tomatoes and Cherry Tomatoes from the garden this week. I wasn’t sure we’d have any after our wet July.

Cherry Tomatoes

Yellow Plum Tomatoes

The Indian Blanket Flower lives up to its name with its vibrant colors and makes me think of corn mazes and Halloween.

Indian Blanket Flower

We share the blueberries with the birds. We don’t mind. There’s always enough left for a batch of muffins when they’ve had their fill.

Late Blueberries

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Some images from a day spent at a cabin in the woods between Wallowa and Lostine, Oregon.  Thanks Ben, Patti and Karen.

The little one-room cabin in the woods.

Ben's Cabin at Lostine

The view of the creek from the front porch.

Creek at Ben's Cabin

Charlie moves in quickly when I get up. Oh well, he keeps my spot warm.

Sleeping with Charlie

Black-Billed Magpie


California Quail with Young

Lazuli Bunting at Joseph

Butterfly with Eye

Red-Tailed Hawk with Rat

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Ben’s Place

We’re spending a few days in a special place, a cabin in the woods near Lostine, Oregon.  The cabin is owned by a family friend who passed away a few years ago.  Being here brings back memories of Ben.

There’s lots of critters about.  Butterflies and grasshoppers and dragonflies galore.  Here’s some pics from our first full day at the cabin.

Wallowa Lake

Dragonfly Shoelace


Beat Up Butterfly

Grasshopper on Thistle

Yellow Jacket Nest

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I was excited earlier this spring to read and view pictures from a few local bloggers I enjoy of Killdeer and their young at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.  Since I don’t seem to get up to Ridgefield more than once or twice a year, I turned my attention to the Killdeer that live at Koll Center Wetlands across the street from where I work and hoped I might eventually see some young here.

There is a group of about a dozen Killdeer I see every day here.  They run along the exposed mudflats, chase other Killdeer away from their personal territories and insert themselves into photos even when I’m not particularly trying to take their picture.  In short, they are a regular presence here year round.

But it is already August and I’ve yet to see any sign of nesting Killdeer at Koll. I’ve trained my binocs on them for months now hoping to see little ones running along behind them, hiding in the short vegetation or underneath an adult. Nothing. I’m surprised and puzzled by this.

I guess this means two things. See what happens next year and take more trips up to Ridgefield!



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