Showing posts from June, 2016

To the mountains.

As soon as summer hits the urge to head to the mountains increases dramatically, even when it hasn't been particularly hot.  A few nights ago I went up to Larch Mountain with Sarah and Max of Must-see Birds fame in hope of spotting a few Common Nighthawks. 

Great success!  We had four or five zipping around overhead while the amazing sunset lit them on fire.  Band-tailed Pigeons flew by also, but they were not lit up.

This seems to be the best (and only reliable) place for nighthawks in the county.  That evening the show was a good one and the second Sarah turned away one flew right over our heads. 

Tuesday I went up to Mount Hood with Audrey of Tweets and Chirps fame to hike around Mount Hood Meadows in hopes of seeing some Clark's Nutcrackers.

Birds were abundant but not always easy to pinpoint.  Chipping Sparrows love being pinpointed though, so phew.

Western Tanager

Wildflowers were tough to come by surprisingly.  Still not sure if we were too early or too late.

Western pas…


My spring has been pretty great and it's not only because I've done so much traveling around the state.  I also have a sweet yard with its own set of flora and fauna that entertains me to no end.  Let me begin with a story.

I bought my house three and a half years ago, and the front yard was mostly grass with some border garden beds, a Japanese maple, and a sad dogwood tree.  My first trip to Portland Nursery as a homeowner was overwhelming but I stuck to the native section and came home with a nice little variety to add to the front.

3.03.13  Serviceberry, osoberry, salal, ceanothus, red alder, and red osier dogwood.

I knew little about these plants, only that they were native.  The alder was maybe three feet tall, a skinny twig that cost me $7.99.

A few months later, the front yard still looking plain.

Dirt spot close to center of photo is the alder tree, three red osier dogwoods on left

It's been three years now since I planted these, and my skinny twig alder has shot u…

24 hours.

Tuesday afternoon found me done with my yard chores, done with a beer, itching to escape the stifling Portland heat.  I had the thought, if I leave now I could be on Mount Hood in an hour and surely it's cooler there.  So I packed up the car, packed up the mutts, and we headed east with the A/C cranked.

Summit Lake was deserted as expected.  I only came to know this spot (not far from Timothy Lake) thanks to someone reporting nesting American Three-toed Woodpeckers here a couple years ago and there is rarely anyone around.  The mosquitoes were relentless as I set up camp and walked the dogs around.  It grew darker and we retreated to the safety of the tent where I watched bats swoop down to the lake and listened to Common Nighthawks peenting overhead.  Then the frogs began their all night serenade. 

Perhaps the volume of the frogs is the reason no one camps here. 

After very little sleep I packed everything up and we continued on our journey to track down a state bird in Jeffers…