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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring is Really Here.

It is still chilly and snowing in the mountains. Here in the Puget lowlands, chilly mornings seem to give way, reluctantly to somewhat comfortable 50+ days. But clouds, winds and rain are the order of the day, after day, after day.

But Saturday, AH it is the day we have all been waiting for. Stunning blue and 60+.

Better yet, we had our first Washington Native Orchid Society field trip. For April means Calypso orchids and Washington Park was out meeting place.

My favorite local park has burst into bloom since my visit a few weeks ago.

I arrived early simply because I could not wait to get into the area. My friend Ron was right behind me, itching to get out there. We walked out to Green Point passing many of the early bird walkers. As usual it was greetings and "good mornings" from every person we passed. One gave us a tip on a Bald Eagle in a tree.

Out at Green Point the Shooting Stars are coming on strong. I love the dew drops.

Ron and I took a sneak peek at the area I knew was my usual good place for Calypso Orchid. They have sprung up and the Fawn Lily continue to join in. We made our way back along the road and met this fellow sliding across the road. He was actually making pretty good time.

Joining the group we returned along the loop road to Green Point. All along the road we found individual orchids. At Green Point early signs of other species were found in the woodland edge. We proceeded along the loop road and enjoyed some time back at the mossy trail filled with Fawn Lily and orchids. By now the sun had joined us full force. There were fun opportunities to play with sunlight. A tip of the hat to Ron for pointing out this particular lily with the cobwebs.

You know me, I cannot resist a bug shot.

We circled the park, scouting for flowers to come and appreciating the ones already here. I love the south slope with its Junipers. The old fellow at the top of the channel slope always fascinates me with its bare bones. These Prairie Stars made a pretty picture at the foot of one Juniper.

There was no topping this day. I knew weather changes were coming but when I heard the snow in the pass forecast, I knew I was going to have to stick by home. I want to get over to Eastern Washington to the dry areas, but driving in the snow is a bit of an issue.

So I stuck around home visiting my local Watershed Park. My gloomy spirit was a little uplifted by finding many more birds. I failed to charge my batteries after a long day out Saturday so I am sorry my little pocket ELPH could not do justice to the wrens I found gathering nest materials or the courting Mergansers.

I found Robin eggshells in a couple of places. Many birds carry egg shells away from the nest and drop them in the environment. I heard nest peeping in a few places.

Unlike the Washington Park, this Watershed Park is deep and green and moist. Plenty of boggy areas and Skunk Cabbage is up in full force.

Trailing Violets lined almost all of the trails.

I intended to go out the full length of the park to a pretty pond but I heard a noise and knew I had to follow.

Too toot toot toot. A Pygmy Owl! It was going to be hard to find but he was persistent in his tooting and it was a fun exercise to work at pinpointing where the sound was coming from. I made my way along a second trail and knew I was pretty close by the quality of the sound. I knew I was really close when he stopped. I looked , I waited but nothing, so I moved on. But it was not too far and he could not resist. I knew he was now behind me.

And I found him. Up in the very top of a fir tree, about 75 feet up. I cranked my camera up and shot, hoping that there was something.

Here he is 6.75 inches of lovelorn owl, calling for his female.


  1. Very nice precis of the excursion, Marti. That local park looks like a neat place, too.

  2. Marti, if I may, I enlarged the tree photo with the owl and could make him out.....little fella alright.
    The orchids and other flowers you saw are beautiful. We have to get back to the west coast....nothing compares to it's beauty.

  3. yes they don't call them Pygmy for nothing. He was waaaaay up there and the little ELPH, that was the best it could do.

    Had a better viewing at another park last weekend. I don't recall hearing Pygmy so much in the past. My photo of that one did not turn out either. Flat gray sky, shaky hands unclear vantage. But it was easy to find him as I was on a very steep slope so could look out to the tree tops, not straight up