Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Hermit Thrush is not generally thought of as a backyard bird. It IS known (by birders) to be a very gifted singer, but one must go to the higher mountain forests to hear the song. I've been blessed to have this bird hanging out in my backyard for the past several weeks. No, it's not singing, but I know that it is carrying that song somewhere within its...heart, maybe? And in a few months I'll be standing in a lofty green cathedral somewhere, and that song will be stirring up echoes in my heart. As Annie Dillard would say, "The least I can do is try to be there."

The song of the Hermit Thrush can be heard here:

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Another critter caught at the office. This one doesn't fly, unless you count fast motion from place to place as flying. I knew it was a jumping spider, but my friend Bruce knows spiders very well. According to him the actual name is Daring Jumping Spider, which it certainly was when it went over the edge of my secondfloor windowsill.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I don't know the bugs very well, but this one showed up on my boss's desk a few days ago, so I rescued it. After searching on the internet I am fairly certain it is a Western Conifer Seed Bug, but I can't be certain. Guess I'll have to buy another book.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The immature Sandhill Crane was still in Wortman Park today. It appeared to be sleeping (nodding off, in fact) when I first saw it, making me think it might not be well. When I approached to within 20 ft. it became alert, but I did not force it to move. It did not even put down the other foot. It appears to be getting more bulky in the body, but not much taller than it was in December.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Singing in the rain. This Spotted Towhee hasn't had many opportunities to do that this winter, but today he seemed delighted with the recent change in the weather, as all true Oregonians are.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Turkey Vultures are not usually thought of as a sign of spring, but in Oregon they work as well as daffodils and pussywillows. As of about a week ago they've been showing up in Yamhill Co., ready to help the road crews keep our highways neat and clean.

Friday, March 04, 2005

This moss, known as Orthotrichum consimile, grows on a Vine Maple tree outside my window. Last winter, and now again this winter, I've noticed a Dark-eyed Junco picking something off of these moss clumps, rolling it around in its bill like a seed, and apparently swallowing it. The bird does not appear to be finding seeds hidden in the moss, but rather to be eating part of the moss itself. The mystery is -- what part? I wonder if any other observers have noticed birds doing this, and if perhaps they can tell me what the food item is. Maybe the spore cases?