Saturday, April 30, 2005

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are uncommon in the Willamette Valley. One of the few known groups returns every spring to a marsh near Amity in Yamhill County. I wonder what purpose is served by the yellow head. If nothing else, it's a remarkable decoration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The female Violet-green Swallow spent a lot of time indoors today, moving a wad of grass and a blue feather from one place to another. I still have not seen the male inside.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Robin's song in springtime is one of nature's most melodious sounds in North America. Unfortunately, at least in western Oregon, it suffers the fate of any beautiful thing that is common -- for most people it just fades into the background. Hey, stop for a second... just listen to that!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Wood Duck up close

This rainy day was quite alright for this male Wood Duck foraging in a soggy field. A scientific approach would no doubt try to explain the evolutionary reasons for such a combination of colors, but I find it easier to believe it's just for anyhow.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

One of my earliest memories is of the Violet-green Swallows that used my dad's nestboxes, and I always wished that I could watch the actual nest-building process, and what they did with the chicken feathers I tossed up for them to catch on the wing. Of course, the indoors part was always hidden from view. But now, thanks to technology, I can satisfy my curiosity about that. This female was checking out one of my boxes today, and seemed to like the layout pretty well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Having heard that Painted Lady butterflies were streaming northward from the well-watered deserts of Mexico and Arizona this spring, I was not surprised to see many passing by my office today. But when I got a close-up look at this one I was amazed that it could look this good after flying for hundreds of miles, and maybe a thousand. Quite a remarkable lady, and beautiful, too!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Another view of the Barred Owl in Dallas, Oregon. Probably the last sight seen by many a careless mouse.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A relative newcomer west of the Rocky Mts., the Barred Owl is not bashful about advertising its presence. This one has taken up residence in a city park, and is asking of anyone within a hundred yards, "Who cooks for you?" I have a question of my own: "What has changed in the west that now makes it a welcoming place for this species?"

Monday, April 04, 2005

Of all the signs of returning spring, the arrival of "my" Violet-green Swallows always clinches it for me. I've seen others around the area for a few weeks, but just a few days ago, on a sunny morning, there were several suddenly at my house, flying up to the nestbox they used last year. They seem as pleased to be back as I am to have them back. I just wish I knew where they spent the winter; probably somewhere between San Diego and San Salvador.