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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mima Mounds

Well I did not get over to the dry side to cactus test my boots.  The horrible change in the weather brought two feet of snow to the passes and with that deadly avalanches which claimed two lives.

Here in the low lands weather was just as unsettled with squalls of rain and hail, thunder and lightning.

Today, after an early morning dose of "Mad Men" I chanced the weather for a run south to the Mima Mounds Nature Protection Area.  The weather held off just enough to allow a quick trip without too much drama.

For years people have floated theory on how the mounds were produced; burial grounds, gophers, earthquakes glaciation. 

The out wash of glacial melting is now felt to be the leading cause and mounded prairie is found in many regions of North America.

The Mima Mounds are well known for their flowers and butterflies as well as rare native grasses.  I am here too early for the grand flower show, but there was enough to enjoy on this quick trip. 

Broad-leaf shooting stars paved the way and are the early flowers here.


I found some Early Blue Violet that seem to be taking the heavy rains a bit hard.  The are all drooping and not presenting their best face upward.

I was surprised to find wild Woods Strawberry in bloom.  The grasses here are so thick it was a lucky find.

There was a little bit of bird action.  I could hear a Meadowlark over the way singling sadly.  Lincoln Sparrow were singing their high pitched buzzy song.  From the woods I could hear a Ruffed Grouse giving its deep "woomp wooomp woomp" call.  I even heard it drum once.

The prize of the day was a young Harrier, I think a female, sitting on a stump watching for prey.  She was kind enough to sit still for a zoom in.  I think she knew I would not venture off the path to get closer.

In the woods, Bleeding Heart was everywhere.

Trillium was up and blooming.  There were even some flowers already changing to the pink and purple of age.

I saw two butterflies this day.  Still early with the raw weather.  This Mustard White was content to sit in a patch of sun while I captured some photos.

Yet again, a place to visit a week or so from now.  I can see a lot of Camas here and there were buds just starting to show through the grass.

Driving home I hit a hail downpour and the layer on my window was quite something.  On the freeway we would slow down as we drove through one hail downpour after another.  They were not very wide, just local and spotty.  While we were having this weather, to the north, on the other side of the Convergence Zone, the freeway was at a standstill as a hail storm battered Everett.

I made the lucky choice to head south today.


  1. How nice it must be to know birds by their song. I know the meadow lark too, and a few others, but all those little twittering guys who come and spend the summer, not so much. You have so much nature to explore up there, it is so different from here.

  2. Thought I had commented on this. I remember reading it, but somehow missed commenting. Premature senility, I guess. Thanks for your comments on the Mount Si post. We had a fabulous day and a wonderful hike. Can't imagine, though, what the new trail must be like on weekends. It was crowded on a weekday. Looks like you've posted another must-visit place for us, and if you'd like me to let you know when and where we're going (often on short notice) we don't mind having someone else along.

  3. Just saw your comment on the Native Orchids post. You may very well have seen it, though it was under a bush and not at all visible from the trail. I did find also quite a few pale forms, many more than usual, and perhaps what you saw was one of those.

  4. Wonderful shot of the hawk - I am forever searching for one more hawk to photograph.