Saturday, January 20, 2018

Living a Wild Life

As all of you that follow me regularly know,
I live in the foothills of the Cascade mountains
overlooking Mt. Rainier, here in western Washington State.

We have lots of wildlife and once in a while I get 
lucky and remember to snap a photo! 
Most of the time I am surprised in the moment 
and forget, but my brain-fog lifts every now and again,
and I remember to grab my camera.

 I would like to share some of these moments with you! 

Recently, we had this visitor for a couple of weeks. 
He liked to sit in this tree and hunt. 
I could see him from my living room through the glass doors.
Not much happens out my windows except for the weather
and the occasional small plane, so I am always
excited when we have wild visitors. 

He arrived looking rather thin....
maybe from a long migration. 

Definitely hungry....

Looking around.

Pretty coloring. 
I think he is a Red-Tail Hawk.

You can see how thin he is.

We have lots of rabbits and squirrels,
so hopefully he found a meal.

Kai spies a squirrel on the other side of the fence.

Look at that concentration!
You can see my garden cart and rake waiting for me.

The squirrel nonchalantly digs around, knowing full well
that Kai is on the other side of the fence :)

Such a tease......

One morning I was driving up 
the driveway and had just arrived at the gate 
when I saw movement out my rain-streaked windshield. 

(My plastic enclosed newspaper leans against the post.)

It was a Ruffed Grouse. 

I had heard his drumming for a few weeks. 

He notices me and decides to fly off, and when he did, 
another flew off with him. 

Hopefully there will be little grouse come spring :)

Isn't he pretty? He blends into the landscape so well!

This year we have been blessed with a small herd of elk
that are wintering nearby. 

It's always a thrill to see them. 
They will stay for the winter and once
the snows melt in the higher elevations, 
they will move to higher ground.

These are large animals that can weigh about 400 lbs.
when fully grown.

We drive carefully and slowly, especially
at night.

I recently told you that a pair of Bald Eagles had 
arrived in the area and I was hoping to get some photos. 

I had my chance just the other day.....

A real beauty. 

So graceful. 

Soaring back and forth....

And quickly gone. 

This little Towhee is a favorite of mine.
He lives right near the house and scratches
for insects under the cedar trees.

He and his mate nest on the ground and he sings a reedy song
all spring to announce his territory.

We have these large Band-Tailed Pigeons that live here, year-round, too.
They are as big as a chicken - not like those wimpy
city pigeons! :) They live in large flocks and like residential areas
and parks with big trees to nest in.

This is a female Varied Thrush.
The male is a striking orange and black.
They are about the size of a Robin, but a little stouter.
They winter here and scratch for insects under leaves and
in the fallen needles under evergreens.

They have a very reedy call and are prone to window strikes,
so I have special decals in my big windows and it has
solved the problem.

And who doesn't love hummingbirds?
This little Anna's hummingbird is our year-round resident.
His dark head and throat glows ruby red in sunlight.


We are blessed with a mild climate here year round.
The average temperature is 52 degrees (Fahrenheit),
and it rarely gets hotter than 80 degrees in summer,
and colder than 46 degrees in winter.
(Daily high temperatures)
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule,
but this is the average.

Once in a while we get snow in the lower elevations,
but it doesn't last very long.
We live at 1200 ft. elevation. Mostly the snow
level stays higher than 3000 ft. but because
we are in the foothills, we can get snow
when other areas don't.

Sunset on the Cascade Mountains.

We do get a lot of rain - about 38 inches a year,
but that is mostly in winter and spring.
Summers and fall are surprisingly dry.

Mt. Rainier forms it's own weather and sometimes the clouds form amazing swirls nearby.

Although it can be sobering to realize how
truly wild this life I lead is,
(when coyotes are howling and Ramblin' Man is away
on a business trip)
 I wouldn't trade it for any other place on Earth.

Except, maybe, for a stone cottage in the Cotswold's :)


Thank you for sharing this wild and crazy life with me,
dear Friends! It's all of you who keep me
from being that lone voice in the dark.


Today I am linking with:

Saturday's Critters

Won't you join the fun?


  1. Hello Karen, what an awesome post. Wonderful bird sightings, I love the Ruffed Grouse. The Eagle and hawk are treats to see too. The hummer is a favorite of mine, they are so sweet. The elk are beautiful animals. Your mountain views are just stunning, I love the colorful sky and cloud shapes. Kai looks like a great watch dog. Wonderful collection of photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  2. My goodness what an amazing post. All the birds are a delight to see and the beautiful skies with such wondrous cloud formations are a joy. The photos that captured my imagination the most are the elk, what a sight. You live in a beautiful part of the world.

  3. Wonderful shots!

    The hawk taking off is magestic. Just incredible!

    Live the sunrises too.

  4. The joy of blogging for me is to see how others live around the world and the wild life in their neighbourhood. You have so many different creatures to my part of the world. Even the thrush is different. Have a lovely weekend. B x

  5. Love the elk herd, and those mountains are gorgeous at sunset. What a wonderful place to live.
    Have a great weekend!

  6. ...what fabulous sights and critters in your neck of the woods.

  7. You do live in a most beautiful part of the world, Karen...(have I mentioned that before.=) ) To see those beautiful mountains every day would be exhilarating. Love all the critters that have visited your place of late. My those elk are big, roaming freely around. One would have to be careful when driving, wouldn't they. You have pretty birds visit you. Anna's hummingbird is such a pretty bird.

  8. I guess you can tell... the hawk and the eagle are my favorites! What great pictures they all are but the ones of those two birds.. just gorgeous!

  9. What a wonderful variety of wildlife you have! You live in such a beautiful part of the world, thank you for sharing your photos of it.

  10. Sweet Karen, your posts always inspire and amaze me. I never tire of seeing the beauty that surrounds you. Thank you, friend, for taking the time to capture so many sweet moments and then to share them with us.

    Hugs to you, dear one!

  11. Wonderful photos, you do indeed live in a beautiful, magical place. So awe inspiring to have so much wildlife around. Hope your hawk fattens ups.

  12. Wow! So lucky to live where there is such wonderful scenery and wildlife! When I go for my walks I try to take my camera with me but once in a while I miss a shot while just standing there and admiring wildlife or a wonderful moment. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos.

  13. Lovely birds and Mtn photos. Elk are huge and so amazing animals. Love clouds that hover around Mt Hood where we can see it. I'm sure its a fun place to be where you live. I've always liked Thomas Kinkades paintings of cabins in woods by a lake. So peaceful! Have a blessed weekend!

  14. Oh yes, if I was going to trade my home in Washington for a while it would be a stone cottage in the Cotswolds for sure. Love the grouse and the hawk and that eagle! Whoa...and that herd of elk. Really cool.

  15. Hello Karen, oh it is so beautiful where you live. It just seems so peaceful. I enjoyed looking at the mountain and the wildlife. The hummingbird is so cute. At least you have your dog to keep you company when your husband is away on trips. Take care.
    Julie xo

  16. Oh what a wonderful post, Karen! First of all, great red-tailed hawk and eagle shots! I got some hawk shots mysekl today that I will be posting soon. That Ruffed Grose was such a nice sighting! And elk! Wish we would get them here, but we just enjoy our adorable mule deer. Still, elk are majestic! Frighteningly big when you come upon one on a road in the almost-dark! I can remember just being in awe when that happened to my daughter and me once! Love them!

  17. We do live in God's country don't we. Love all your shots. And the elk Oh My Goodness.

  18. Great pictures lots of activity around your way very quite here, but it's too hot to do much.

  19. It's far too busy in the Cotswolds compared to your beautiful Cascade mountains, you wouldn't see all those wonderful birds and animals even though the Cotswolds are lovely. x

  20. Hello!:) A delightful selection of nature photos showing the beautiful area where you live, and all the wildlife you are able to see and photograph so well. I have never seen a Ruffed Grouse before, what an amazing encounter, and the Elks, oh my word, how blessed you are. Loved all the beautiful colours in your sunset photos, and the soaring eagles. Great Post!:)

  21. Hi Karen wow what beautiful pics you sure do live in an amazing place ,love the pretty pics of the mountain,thankyou for sharing xx

  22. You are so lucky to live at a wonderful place in the world. To be able to watch elks grazing from your house is invaluable. I am also touched by the hummingbird at the feeder. The mountainviews are also incredible.
    Have a nice new week!

  23. I always enjoy seeing where you live and understand how your weather works. I also love to see all of your wildlife, especially the elk this time. What a treat.

  24. Oh my, such beautiful photos. The hawk photos are spectacular!

    Thanks, Karen, for the glimpse of heaven in your corner of the world. We can sure use them.

    Brenda xox

  25. WOW Karen, a bit of paradise on earth! Just beautiful.

    Enjoy the rest of January ~ FlowerLady

  26. Hi dear Karen!You live in a wonderful place!!!Your photos are absolutely gorgeous,thanks for sharing,they made my day!Hugs!

  27. Beautiful photos, the one of the Bald Eagle in flight is brilliant. I hope the Red Tail Hawk has had a good meal by now

  28. I did not realize that your weather is so perfect year round!! I would love those temperatures. Beautiful wildlife and pictures, as always.

  29. you really have a lot of wild life around you. That is amazing.
    Beauiful birds and great to see the elk. I saw many of them in Yellowstone 4 months ago :)

  30. Oh how I love wildlife. You captured some amazing pictures. I wouldn't do well on my own with the coyotes howling and my husband away either LOL. My neighbor refuses to go out at night alone because of the coyotes, I'm a little leery myself. I always take the dog ha!

  31. Such interesting critters around your neck of the woods, Karen. I loved the Elk pictures. They are so grand. And the sweet hummingbird never fails to make me smile. I saw a tv special last night about them, and I learn something ever time about this beloved bird. Yes, they change colors and even glow with them. They usually feed every 15 minutes. They are remarkable, and are truly messengers of joy and love. Your pictures of the mountains with the Pink skies are just beautiful. Would love to see that in person.

    It's always a pleasure to see the area you call home, Karen.


  32. Ohhh my goodness, this must be the most perfect place on earth Beatrice!! When can I move there? Not that long ago I was telling my husband that I wanted to be in a place where the temps stays around 40-80 and stay pretty much there. I have seen elks only in photos or nature movies. It must be great to see them that close. We have deer here and plenty. :) Lovely post!! Thank you for share all the beauty.

  33. wow so many comments... will you read mine? You have a richness of wildlife. That's a real connection to the earth... and you appreciate it which is lovely to read. LeeAnna

    1. Of course I will read yours, LeeAnna! I read your blog, too :) Thank you for your sweet visit, and yes, I love this earth and wish more people would, too. xx Karen

  34. You have such an amazing view! I would be seated at windows everyday seeking a good shot of critters, birds, sunset...nothing would get done!

  35. What amazing wildlife you live with! I loved seeing all these wonderful photos. It's been a year or more since I've seen deer in my area. And, I can hear an owl at night sometimes. I hope your week is blessed. Pat xx

  36. What amazing views and wildlife...and so loved seeing it all. Most of the wild animals I see are Possum and Raccoons...our yard has been invaded with the Song Sparrow from Europe which has become very invasive and keep our native birds from nesting. I loved seeing so many birds I would otherwise never see.

  37. How wonderful to live with all that wildlife so close by, I get so excited when we go on our trips and we come across wildlife to see in their habitat. You have birds I haven't seen in our area. Great to share all these great pictures you were able to get :)

  38. Your pictures are wonderful. I too love watching the wildlife around me, but as more and more big new houses are built all around my cottage, I'm afraid I will see fewer and fewer animals...

  39. wow!! it sure is wild there!! i love your hawk, i have one too but he has chased all my little birds away. i have not seen one bird at my feeders since friday. it's good that they are safe, but i am really missing them!!

    beautiful captures, i like all the varied wildlife and views there!!!

  40. Dearest Karen,
    You indeed live in paradise in such pristine and clean, unpolluted air and surrounded by wild life that many of us never will experience.
    How majestic the bald eagle is when soaring above head.
    Enjoy this beauty and stay cozy with your loyal dogs near you.
    We are having some mild weather for a day and back to cooler days.
    Got time for working on my iMac's files and have them safe on iCloud. Good feeling.
    Some things I post on Pinterest, a great place to safe favorite things.
    Sending you hugs,

  41. Amazing wildlife, so lovely seeing all of your photographs here.
    The sunset on the Cascade Mountains is simply breath-taking.

    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  42. An eye of the hawk is reflecting the winter sunshine. Very impressive.

  43. Your critter pictures are admirable. You're lucky to living in the midst of nature's adventurous activities.

  44. Wonderful array of critters. I would be thrilled to have Elk in my yard, (Well maybe not) but they sure are cool looking. Awesome to see the Eagle & photograph it. Hope that hawk got a good meal. Love those twirl clouds.

  45. Yes, that is a Red-Tailed Hawk and it does look like it's crop needed a meal, but I think it looked well other than that. It's very difficult on Raptors during the Winter months and hopefully it has gotten a good fill by now and will continue on it's way

  46. You are so good at capturing that wildlife around you Karen! You live somewhere so beautiful and you can just feel your love for it in every photo and in your loving words. Thanks for sharing your "home" with us! Blessings on the rest of your week. xoxo

  47. Oh Karen, the nature where you live is wonderful!!
    Thanks for sharing.

  48. You really are lucky to be surrounded by such beauty, Karen.

  49. This is a great post. I love all your wildlife pictures!

  50. i am amazed with the elegance of natural beauty you have around you dear Karen!!!!

    thank you so much for sharing these glimpse of the wild life in your surroundings with us

    when i used to live in my native village i used to see lots of birds around specially in winters they always come to make the gloomy environment colourful and cheerful with their stunning beauty and chrish songs !

    i miss them so much
    i agree that winters slow down the brain's activeness and we often forget to tak camera along and miss wonderful shots
    though i can see you have shared brilliant photos of lovely feathery friends who came to stay close to you

    hope you are having lovely and healthy days my friend!

  51. You definitely need to take more photos!! These are fantastic!


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

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