Saturday, May 27, 2023

Flora and Fauna - Saturday's Critters


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are enjoying 
the beautiful springtime - or if you are in the 
southern hemisphere, the beautiful autumn. 
Both are an equally gorgeous time of the year. 

This is a very busy time of year for all who love to garden
or seek to enjoy nature, as the weather is mild
and the air is filled with lovely scents, carried on the breeze. 

I've been spending all of my spare time outdoors, 

pulling weeds, fertilizing, and potting flowers, and the time 

has just slipped away. Forgive me for staying away 

for so long! 

We also have a new member of the family! 

His name is Maverick and he is a Dachshund/mini-Aussie mix. 

You can see that he and Kai are similar in size, except 

for height. Maverick (we nick-named him, Ricky)

has been *blessed* with legs from the dachshund 

side of the family. I can relate...


He is adjusting to his new life slowly but surely, and

Kai is very happy to have a best friend. They are already 

playing and exploring together!

He's very sweet and we are patiently helping 

him get used to his new surroundings. 

 We had a couple of visitors recently - two Black-tail deer.
These photos were taken from my window!  

They are very pretty, but love to eat my flowers. 

 I had to shoo them away when they stood in the middle 

of my garden and decided to help themselves! 

We have lots of Hedge Rabbits, too. 

They seem happy to just nibble the Dandelions

and lawn Clover. 

Nobody likes to eat Forget Me Not. Not even slugs! 
So I enjoy large swaths of blue every spring. 

Cleavers seem to thrive, too. 

 I have to protect the Pink Current with chicken wire, though. 

The deer consider it a delicacy, despite the fact that 

it grows just 10 feet from the house! 

The deer sneak in late at night while we are all fast asleep. 

Reminds me of when my children were teenagers!


We had a nesting pair of Steller's Jays this year. 

They look for bugs and other treats hiding in the moss. 

They are the 'watchdogs' of the forest - alerting everyone 
to predators by screeching loudly, or imitating the cries 
of hawks. 
They are large jays, (11 inches) a little smaller than a crow. 
I love finding their beautiful feathers. 

Herb Robert, otherwise known as 'Stinky Bob', because of it's 
pungent scent, is a delicate, but prolific wildflower. 
It is an import from Europe, brought by the early settlers. 
I spread the seed all over the edges of the lawn. 

A large choke-cherry tree was in full bloom right near our back deck. 
The scent is intoxicating and attracts bees and butterflies. 
It is popular in the fall with migrating birds who 
love the tiny, bitter-tasting cherries. 

Our native Douglas squirrel entertains us by chasing each other 
around the trunks of trees, and chattering and squealing 
whenever they spy the dogs. 

They love to eat the maple wing-nuts being formed 
by the pendant flowers this time of year. 

Wild bleeding heart likes to grow in large colonies 
in open areas of the forest floor. 

Oregon Grape is a low-growing ground cover with arching, evergreen, 
holly-like leaves. The clusters of yellow flowers produce bluish 
berries, or 'grapes' that are loved by wildlife and were used by 
our native peoples as an important food source. 

These are growing along my long driveway. 
They form large colonies that are very pretty all seasons of the year. 

We have dark-eyed juncos that like to harvest 
the moths that gather around our back deck lights. 
They come in the morning to gather the resting moths. 

This is a female yellow warbler. They arrive at the end of April
and start to migrate back to the southern states, Mexico, Central
and South America in August. The males are bright yellow
and arrive 2 weeks earlier to scout out territories. 

A Band-Tailed Pigeon caught my eye as it landed in the cedar tree 
by the house one day. 
You can see that it spied me taking photos! 
These are large birds about the size of a small chicken - 14". 
They nest nearby in scattered groups, 
and raise 2-3 broods a year. 

The beautiful blooms of Salmon Berry illuminated by the sun. 
These are tall, (10-12 ft) spindly, woody shrubs that grow in 
colonies and produce a bland, salmon-colored berry
similar to a raspberry, which the birds love. 
I've watched robins hover in mid-air, awkwardly
trying to pluck the berries off the stems. 

I was drinking my morning coffee on the deck one day
when this flock of buzzards circled overhead. 
I was a little alarmed for a bit, but they moved on, 
much to my relief. 

A Northern Flicker sat in a tree with his one-note piercing call, which 
caught my attention. They also have a 'wacka-wacka- call when they fly. 
They are the only woodpecker that feeds on the ground, 
primarily eating ants and beetles. 

This was his view. 
The tree he was sitting in is on the right. 
Many different birds like to sit in these trees 
as the sun starts to set, singing their final songs of the day. 
Mt. Rainier forms its own weather, as you 
can see by the swirl of clouds circling around it. 

As the sun sets (to the right, out of view), 
Mt. Rainier reflects the colors of the sky. 

We watch in awe as the birds sing their last songs of the day
and twilight ushers in the creatures of the night. 

We shut the gates, close up the house, and settle in for a quiet evening, 
counting our blessings after the gift of another day. 


"Like music and art, love of nature is a common language 
that can transcend political or social boundaries."

- Jimmy Carter -

"The wilderness holds answers to questions man has
not yet learned to ask."

- Nancy Newhall -

Today I am joining Saturdays Critters
Won't you join the fun? 

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