Showing posts from February, 2012

Early Blooming

12:36 PM, Temp 43° F, Dew Point 38° F, Barometer 29.93 in, Wind Calm, Humidity 82% Oregon Grape ( Mahonia aquifolium ) I took a short hike today in Deception Pass State Park.  I was surprised to discover that Oregon Grape and Red-flowering Currant are already starting to bloom.  It looks like it might be a very good year for wildflowers.  Recently, it has been a fairly typical February, chilly, overcast and rainy.  The first part of the month, however, gave us clear, sunny skies and temperatures hitting 60° F, 16° C.  Perhaps that gave the plants a little boost, causing them to come to life ahead of schedule.

Skywatch Friday: Brooding

A bit of orange sets off an otherwise dense overcast over Skagit Bay.  It is common for the Olympic Rain Shadow to open a hole in the sky that lets a bit of sunshine through.  This bright spot only serves to emphasize a brooding sky.

Birdcam Sabotage and a Lesson

Webster's New World Dictionary defines "sabotage" in part as: "Destruction of railroads, bridges, machinery, etc., as by enemy agents or an underground resistance." "The deliberate obstruction of or damage to any cause, movement, activity, effort, etc." This is the current state of affairs at my Birdcam 2 station in the back yard.  The key words in the definition are "enemy agents," "deliberate," and "damage."  In this case, the enemy agents are the non-native Eastern Gray Squirrels ( Sciurus carolinensis ): This Birdcam photo shows the suet feeder under attack when it was still relatively undamaged.  For several weeks I had been getting virtually nothing but squirrel photos at the Birdcam from dawn to dusk.  Two entire cakes of suet would be consumed in a single day.  The situation was insufferable.  I took some steps to try to solve the problem.  You can see these in the photos: I used a more robust lat

Visiting the Highlands

After several days of overcast and gloom, the skies cleared and the sun come out.  Friday was a perfect day to do some exploring around the east shore of Padilla Bay .  I spent about two hours trekking the Samish Flats West 90 Ponds just south of Samish Island.  More on that later. On the way home, I stopped at the Breazeale Interpretive Center and took a quick spin around the Upland Nature Trail (.pdf).  This is a great spot to catch a glimpse of Mount Baker .  As luck would have it, the Scottish Highland Cattle in the adjacent field had gathered to add a unique pastoral setting to the view.  Baker is an active volcano, one of several in the Cascade Range born of the Cascadia Subduction Zone . Also called kyloe, these have to be the most charming of all breeds of cattle.  They are described as a very sturdy breed having been developed in the harsh conditions of the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland.  Both the bulls and cows sport horns. A warm, sunny day in ear