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Showing posts from January, 2018

Confused Rhododendron?

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This is a photo I took this morning of a rhododendron blooming in the cul-de-sac where I live.  It is the last day of January.  Several plants are doing this around the complex.  Prime rhododendron season is April to July.  There are a couple of reasons to see blooming at atypical times:
There are early/winter blooming rhododendron varieties such as 'Christmas Cheer' or 'PJM'They sometimes get mixed signals from weather or daylight which stimulate blooming The weather here this winter has been fairly typical although we have gotten more rain than usual.  Early this month, we had a cold snap where the temperature dropped to 27° F, -3° C.  Since then, the temps have remained above freezing and as high as 58° F, 14° C.  Our typical overcast has been broken up by several days with bright sunshine.
We had a few rhododendrons that pushed out two or three blooms early last fall.  That was most likely due to confused plants getting the wrong signals.  I have seen this in the p…

First Day Hike 2018: Deception Pass State Park

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Lucky number seven describes this year's First Day Hike at Deception Pass State Park.  I have attended all seven, and once again, we were treated to a perfect rain-free New Year's Day.  This is one of the benefits of an Olympic Rain Shadow location.  Yesterday, however, all of western Washington had great weather.  At 10:00 am, we gathered in the meeting room at the West Beach food service building to fuel up with coffee, bagels and pastries provided by the Deception Pass Park Foundation.


Although the skies were clear, it was a chilly morning.  With the temperature at 27° F/-3° C, Cranberry Lake was covered with a skim of ice.  The picnic area and surrounding foliage were decorated with frost.


When we started the hike, the West Beach resident pair of Bald Eagles were in their usual spot overseeing the event.  Left:  Both could be seen in back-lit silhouette.  Right:  From a different angle, it's easier to tell they are Bald Eagles.  Its mate is hidden to the right behind …