Friday, July 15, 2016

A Walk in the Woods - Saturday's Critters

Hello Friends, come along with me
and we'll take a walk in the woods 
to see some of the wild-life 
that lives here in the foothills
of the Cascade mountains
 of western Washington State. 

The first bird we see is a common Robin. 
He has a Thimble Berry in his beak. 

These berries are named for their thimble-like shape. 

They grow on low shrubs with large, maple shaped leaves,
and are a favorite of birds. They were also used by
native peoples as an important food source. 

The Bitter Cherry trees are full of tiny fruits, 
which attract Cedar Waxwings. 

I love watching these talkative little birds
as they browse together in the tree limbs. 

Their greenish coloring is excellent camouflage. 

Another bird that loves Bitter Cherry is the Western Tanager. 

  This is a young, non-breeding male. 

Here you can see the breeding male with his bright, rosy head among the cherries. 

The brightness of this little bird's plumage
stands out against the backdrop of the evergreen forest. 

Every year we have a nesting pair. 
The male trills loudly during nesting, 
luring potential predators away from 
the nest. 

His bright flashes of color move quickly, 
and is an effective lure away from the 
camouflaged, greenish female while 
she sits on her nest; a cup in a horizontal
fork of a conifer tree, well away from the main
trunk, 20-40 ft. above the ground. 

They move so quickly, that it is difficult to 
get a photo, but I was persistent :)

They are insect and fruit eaters.

Another colorful bird is the Black-Headed Grosbeak. 

You can see the bright black and white wings and orange body
of the adult male. 
The female and young are greenish-brown with similar markings. 

These medium-sized birds will eat insects, seeds and fruit, 
but particularly love the black-oil sunflower seeds in the feeder. 

They migrate all the way to Mexico, Central and South America
and return each year to nest. 

This is our native Douglas Squirrel. 

They are small, quick, and fearless, 
and will sit in a tree and chatter and scold 
when you walk by. 

I was feeding the birds on the deck last winter
(an ill-advised thing to do, as it attracted mice)
and one little Douglas squirrel buried 
sunflower seeds in virtually all of my potted plants :)
undeterred by my two cats who regularly patrolled. 

He also ate or replanted all of my potted crocus bulbs. 
I had no crocus on the deck, but they 'inexplicably' 
turned up blooming in the side garden. 

So, a little surprise to counter-act the thievery. 

These little guys also love the sunflower seed. 

As we come to the gate at the end of the driveway, 
we see another surprise, across the lane
in the neighbor's field. 

A young Black-Tail buck in the low evening light......

With a lady-friend. Do you see her? 

As the evening light turns the field to gold,
we head back home, 
leaving them in peace. 

White Silene blooms in a forest meadow. 

These are pollinated by moths. 

They close up in bright sunlight. 

We have a pair of crows that have nested here for years. 

They are loners and don't belong to a flock
while nesting. 

Here, the fledgling is being guarded by the female, 
while the male stands watch nearby. 

After a little coaxing, the three of them fly off together. 

They return to the nest every day, coaxing and calling the 
young crow to follow.  
It is hard work watching over the young :) 

They will join the main flock in the fall and stay 
with them all winter, breaking away to nest 
once more in spring. 

I watch the flock fly over every fall and winter evening, 
on their way to roost in the foothills out of sight. 

They fly back every morning, on their way to feed
in farmer's fields all day. 

I hope that you have enjoyed coming along on 
this walk in the woods near my home
to see some of the wildlings who 
live nearby. 



  1. Hello, wonderful birds and images. The Western Tanager and Grosbeaks are beautiful. I love the Waxwings too. Cool sighting of the deer! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  2. O My Goodness!! What breath taking photos!! Just beautiful!! I think we may have another pair of doves going to nest in the pot in the corner of our Patio again. @ of them are hanging around and one has been seen a few times sitting in the pot....
    Thanks so muchf or stopping by!! and I wish you a wonderful weekend!!


  3. What great photos. It's lovely to learn about all your different species of birds. Your Douglas squirrels are much darker than our red squirrels. Have a lovely weekend. X

  4. the crows and the Douglas squirrel!
    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

  5. Lovely area you live in and such colourful birds. My favourite has to be the Douglas Squirrel, so handsome!
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

  6. I'm in awe of all the natural beauty that surrounds you, Karen! I have a flock of cedar waxwings that come by in the early spring. They must be making their way to somewhere!
    Happy weekend to you.

  7. Karen, I'm sipping on my coffee this morning enjoying your pics of the "walk in the woods." I just came from the trail and some a few critters myself. :) That yellow bird hiding in the branches is so pretty. Have never heard of the Western Tanager, not sure we have them here. Oh, those mischievous squirrels. I just took many pictures of one munching on some of my pumpkin bread. It was so funny to watch. Love taking pics of them, but don't get too close. Oh that BUCK must have been a sight for you to see! Deer are such very special animals. Yes, I see his lady friend too. The crow picture is so mysterious. I'm a bit unsettled about the crow and wonder what they represent. They go way back even in biblical times. Please let me know if you have any info. on them.

    I really enjoyed taking a walk in the woods with you, Karen. These nature posts of yours are truly my favorite.


    1. Hi Sheri, always love when you stop by! Squirrels are so entertaining and comical. I wish they were more cuddly...Lol! Yes, seeing the buck was wonderful, but I always worry about hunters. Ah...the crow....yes, very mysterious birds, and the most intelligent, along with Jays and Ravens (which we also have here). I think that they are sadly persecuted. They form bonds for life and are extremely brave - standing up against predators. They are prey for Eagles and Hawks, but will 'mob' them if they are with the flock, to drive them away. They have long memories, too. Just don't feed them, as they are very generous and will call all their friends to come over and eat and you will have a big, noisy mess. Mine are very wary of humans and seem to mind their own business, coming to the feeder every once in a while. They are devoted parents, too and frequently previous year's young will help to raise future generations. I love crows. Hope this helps! xx K

  8. You sure do know your birds. I have visited Ridgefield Wildlife refuge, which is about 2 hrs. from me. I saw lots of birds but did not know most.

  9. Now that was an amazing tour that you took us on, I really enjoyed myself and learnt great deal in the process. You certainly captured some amazing shots.

  10. Great to see your colourful wildlife, so different to ours over here. :-)

  11. Hi dear Karen,que bello lugar lleno de animales, debe ser maravilloso estar ahí en contacto con tanta naturaleza

  12. Enjoyed your post, Karen. Always love to see your mountain!

  13. Karen, your post and photographs are so refreshing! I love the picture of the bird with the berry in its mouth best. :-)

    Your Douglas squirrels are an interesting color (reddish brown?) and look very sleek.

    Have a lovely evening!

  14. This is so amazing...seeing these colorful birds I know so little about and you really do have a grasp on their habits. The squirrel looks different but I see many from all over on my favorite blogs and they all differ in many ways.

    I love these posts...please keep them up, Karen!


  15. I always enjoy coming along in a virtual way on your walks and drives and exploring with you, you live in such a beautiful place! Did something happen to your Five On Friday post? I went to look for it to comment and it seems to have disappeared? Hope all is OK. xx

    1. Hi Amy, thankyou for your sweet visit! Oh, I lost the post....My computer suddenly shut down due to the electricity being shut off (workmen on the road) and it got lost......I have tried and tried to get it back, but it is gone. Sorry about that! xx K

    2. That is OK, as long as you are alright that is all that matters! xx

  16. What a lovely day out, watching what all the birds are up to and catching signs of the deer and squirrels too :) Wow I can't get over how camouflaged that female bird is. So amazing the work that God put into all his creatures!!

  17. Enjoyed your photos of nature, so pretty. Its nice to learn the different species that I would not typically see! I love being out in nature since it is so soothing to our spirit and souls.

  18. Thanks for sharing your keen observations, Karen. This past week I was excited to get a photo of a huge brown moth on our front porch and included it in my last post, but I have yet to see any Cedar Waxwings or Western Tanagers as you have. Beautiful!!

  19. Beautiful pictures Karen! I love bird watching. You have many that we don't have here. I loved seeing the thimbleberry in the robin's beak. I just discovered thimbleberries last year; they grow in our Michigan's Upper Peninsula. And how interesting, a flower pollinated by moths. I didn't know they did that! Such a beautiful and peaceful place there, Karen. Thanks for taking us on the tour! xo Deborah

  20. Lovely pictures, Karen! Catching up a bit!

  21. I love the birds and the deer! The squirrels have been digging up my flowers and boy is this so annoying. I have put out cayenne powder and now I am going to try hot pepper flakes. I really love your mountain. :)

  22. Few people know as much about all things nature as you Karen. It's seems fitting that you live in such a lovely place.

    I can never seem to get good photos of birds, and I admire those that do.


  23. Dear Karen,

    I loved going on a nature walk and seeing all the beautiful birds, squirrel and deer. Thank you for sharing all the beauty.
    Happy new week

  24. Dear Karen, what a sweet post! I love seeing the flora and fauna in other parts of the world. Your region is so very different to the sub-tropics where I live. Have you ever made the little Thimble berries into jam by any chance? They're such a pretty colour, I can just see them as a rosy red conserve! Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you for your kind visit! No, I have not made jam with the berries as the birds get to them before I do! A mixed berry jam might be good for the few berries we can find, though! I love that idea - thanks for stopping by! Hugs xo Karen

  25. Hi there! I enjoyed the walk through the woods with you! Thank you so much! Have a lovely week!

  26. Dearest Karen,
    Oh, those bright colored birds are so exotic looking and beautiful to watch.
    The Cedar Waxwings only snack on our holly berries every January/February when the fly back to the North.
    You are fortunate for living in such a pure environment, including with some of its dangers.
    Funny, while we lived and worked in Indonesia we had a very special crow there that we recognized by its special voice. It makes one feel at home; it belongs there and we belong with nature - provided one loves it as much as you and I do.
    Sending you summer hugs,

  27. A beautiful walk in your beautiful part of the country. I love the birds but I am not knowledgeable about them at all. I learned lots of new things today!!

  28. We have the waxwings and the Grosbeck, but I have never seen one for real.
    I take that back once I saw a giant yellow finch, I thought. I ran to get my bird book and found it was a Grosbeck. I was thrilled. Now squirrels we have tons and the red ones are wicked. Loved your photo's and lovely post. enjoy the Summer.. yvonne

  29. There is such an abiding sense of peace and tranquility in your posts! Your appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you is truly wonderful and I LOVE that you share it with us.

    This post reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:

    Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them.

    Thank you Karen, for always reminding us of that!!!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  30. A wonderful walk in the woods! I enjoyed all the bird photos and it was fun learning about the thimble berries. I am hugely "into" edible plants and native species, and will thoroughly enjoy learning about all the woodland bounty Oregon has to offer! While we have lived here, I have embraced the desert flora and fauna because I think that's what a person should do (what is that saying, "Bloom where you are planted." ) But being from Alabama and later Virginia, I love woodland species. I can't wait!

  31. A lovely walk in the woods! I enjoyed seeing all the critters. Your mountain views are stunning. Finland is a very flat country and we don't really have any mountains to speak of.

  32. what a great spot for a walk, so many beautiful creatures to see!! you have some especially beautiful birds there!!!

    and a wonderful peak at the buck!!!!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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