Showing posts from July, 2015

Mount St. Helens.

Yesterday I wanted to go somewhere pretty with the dogs, maybe see a bug or two, somewhere without a ton of people.  Mount St. Helens popped in my head and without doing any research at all I packed a sandwich and my camera and got in the car. 

I followed signs towards Lava Canyon because the name sounded cool and I had never been there.  The road (NF-83) was pretty much deserted and I realized it looked like a fantastic setting for grouse.  About 8 miles down the road I finally saw one...

This lady Sooty Grouse let me pull up right next to her and gawk.  Eventually I realized that just down the hill behind her was another grouse.  And another.  And another.  She was the proud mama of at least seven young!

Mama talking

Junior grouse

I was getting ready to leave them alone when mama decided it was time for them all to cross the road...

Mama would stand in the road while the young crossed one or two at a time.  The young bird would take some slow steps about a quarter of the way into the r…


All I want to do these days is poke around the yard looking for bugs.  You might remember me dusting off my macro lens a couple weeks ago to photograph some bees in my bird bath.  Well, it's become a bit of an obsession since then.  If you hate looking at bugs you might want to skip this blog for the next couple of months...

I think this is a Carolina Grasshopper, found while digging out a mass of skimmia roots, holly tree roots, and blackberry roots:

While belly-crawling around trying to get a good photo I found a second variety of grasshopper under my rhododendron:


From Jake's kiddie pool, a Western Paper Wasp:

This and several other bugs identified thanks to

My sunchokes are great places to find bugs, like this Fuller Rose Beetle:

So far it seems like many bugs I have found are actually huge pests, including the above one.  At least they look cool!  This next one was only first recorded in Oregon in 2002:

Known unofficially as Tuxedo Bugs, these guy…

Cooper Spur.

On Friday my friend and I hiked up the Timberline Trail from the Cloud Cap Trailhead on Mount Hood to Cooper Spur.  Bird diversity was low (10 whole species) but the scenery and other bits of nature made it a great hike.

It was a bit like hiking uphill on a beach, but instead of sand the trail was all volcanic ash.   My first Oregon marmot made for a good distraction:

Yellow-bellied, I assume, based on range.

Mountain Bluebird, appreciating the view of the desert to the east

White lupine!

Cooper Spur Shelter

We stopped to eat lunch by some large boulders that were home to a most pathetic beggar.

See him?

Golden-mantled ground-squirrel says "give me your bread crumbs!"

Farther up the trail we came across a Horned Lark family with two speckly young birds.

Anyone know what this is?

There are good views of Eliot Glacier from a little side trail:

And downslope from the glacier:

We ended up running out of time to get to the top of Cooper Spur but the hike was still an awesome one.  On…