Spotted towhee

Let's start with this bird. The spotted towhee. We've always pronounced it as though it rhymes with "dewy" but it turns out that it is probably rhymes with "doughy" instead. Just like I often pronounce the paint I work with "gohssh" instead of "gwash". (Tomato, Tomahto.) To add to my bewilderment, the Spotted Towhee was [...]

Cedar waxwing feathers

Something made a snack of a cedar waxwing in my backyard -- I didn't see it in progress but I found the feathers. A whole lot a smooth greyish brown ones, and several diagnostic ones, including the namesake "wax" tipped secondary flight feathers.  I'd never seen these up close before -- they're very striking. As [...]

The Sparkling Salish Sea

I didn't want to talk about this until I could show you, and short of standing with you on the shore and demonstrating, this is the next best thing. Apparently the waters surrounding the San Juan islands (which we visited recently) are filled with noctiluca scintillans (also known as sea sparkle!) a microscopic organism. (Not a plankton itself for [...]

On or about the San Juan Islands

I drew this picture as a bit of wishful thinking last year, long before we'd ever actually done anything like look for orcas of a rocky coast north of Seattle. Last weekend we finally did just that, and many other classic summer vacation things up in the San Juan islands. We met up with a group [...]

Bird Nerd

The other night I was working late at the studio and during a cloud-gazing break I think I identified my first osprey of the season. Really. I mean it. You can't tell from this picture -- I couldn't REALLY tell from that picture, and of course I can't be sure because I had neither my good camera [...]

Sketches from Mt. Hood

Spent the weekend out in the Mt. Hood National Forest. I was long overdue for a weekend like this.

Oaks Bottom: Amusement Park or Wildlife Refuge?

It's both, really. Or at least, both use the name Oaks Bottom. (It's also a Lompoc pub not far from here.) I'm not sure how many of the amusement park patrons partake in the wildlife refuge -- I know that when I come down here I'm usually much more interested in the nature scene than I [...]

Magic at Sauvie Island

So in an impeccable act of anti-climax, our eagerly awaited expedition to Sauvie Island with the Oregon Mycological Society was cancelled at the last minute, owing to another expedition taking place the day before. In fact, when we called the Office of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to secure our REMOVAL OF VEGETATION [...]

In which we consider Kelley Point

During our third mushroom class we were given vague tips on spring mushrooms sites. I say "vague" because mushroom hunters are extremely reticent to disclose information that could lead to the pillaging of cherished hot spots, particularly those containing morels. Kelley Point Park was among the places mentioned, so as I had some time on [...]

In which we have the “wrong” guidebook, and decide not to mind

It seems I've made a bit of a tactical error. I did not reserve our copy of "All That The Rain Promises And More…" by David Arora, from the library the week we signed up for the class, but instead waited until yesterday. Which means we have have now attended two sessions of our little mushroom [...]