Naturalism: The Birds Have Left

The bird has flown its nest and it is free to fly the skies of the world. The birds are gone. Well, most of the songbirds, anyway. I’m surprised how sad this makes me. This is the first summer I’ve taken an interest in any migratory birds other than the tree swallows who nest in… Continue reading Naturalism: The Birds Have Left

Dog Photobombs VI: Early May 2020

All but one of these photobombs occurred in the first half of May 2020, when wildflowers were near their peak in the Payette National Forest at elevations between 4,000-4,500 feet. My dogs are patient as I constantly stop to take closeups of wildflowers when we're out in the forest. They explore nearby as they wait,… Continue reading Dog Photobombs VI: Early May 2020

Rudbeckia

Over the past several years, in late summer I’ve noticed a tall, leggy plant with big leaves and a brown top. Some are taller than me (I’m 5’4”). Based on the round, conical shape of that brown part, I always figured it was some sort of daisy-type flower that I’d somehow missed earlier and was… Continue reading Rudbeckia

Ladybugs

A few days ago, I was pulling weeds from my gravel driveway. The night before, I had used the sprinkler to dampen the ground, making it possible to pull roots along with the plant from the otherwise sun-baked, hard ground. As I removed plants that morning, I discovered several ladybugs moving among the stems, apparently… Continue reading Ladybugs

Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Great Horned Owl

Great horned owls are making a comeback in my neighborhood. At least, I hope they are. I wrote last summer about my dog Conall briefly catching an owlet in his mouth in July of 2016 (it survived). I also described two encounters, several years ago, with great horned owls in the forest. I used to… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Great Horned Owl

Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: House Wrens

I had no idea what a house wren was until Conall caught a baby wren in the yard two years ago, spitting it out unharmed. That's when I noticed an upset adult wren on the other side of the fence, in the wildflower garden. Wrens were using a small hole in the siding of my… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: House Wrens

Memory Cues on a Father’s Day Walk

This morning, a Sunday that is also Father’s Day, my dogs and I did what we do most Sunday mornings: we went for a walk in the valley. Our walk was followed by another typical weekend activity, taking household garbage to the nearby transfer station. Much about the morning sparked memories of my father, who… Continue reading Memory Cues on a Father’s Day Walk

Tree Swallows: Nature’s Fighter Pilots

I’m not a “birder.” Haven’t been in the past, am not now, and…well, maybe at some point in the future I will be. I do like birds, but I’m not patient enough to be a birder. A birder is, by definition, a bird watcher. Someone dedicated to bird watching. I’m an observer. Amused by birds,… Continue reading Tree Swallows: Nature’s Fighter Pilots

Red-winged Blackbirds – “Nature’s Assholes”

Red-winged blackbirds aren’t very big. They’re smaller than robins, about 8” head to tail. But they’re easily spotted, at least the males: jet black feathers with bright red and yellow shoulders that are even more visible when they’re flying. Here in the central mountains of Idaho, they’re one of the first migrating song birds to… Continue reading Red-winged Blackbirds – “Nature’s Assholes”

Thinking of John Muir

I didn't have a plan for this morning. Usually I go to bed with an idea of whether the dogs and I will go for a run the next morning, and where. We run three or four days each week, and go for a walk the other mornings. Walks require much less planning. Rarely, if… Continue reading Thinking of John Muir