Tuesday, April 26, 2011
But Saturday, AH it is the day we have all been waiting for. Stunning blue and 60+.
Better yet, we had our first Washington Native Orchid Society field trip. For April means Calypso orchids and Washington Park was out meeting place.
My favorite local park has burst into bloom since my visit a few weeks ago.
I arrived early simply because I could not wait to get into the area. My friend Ron was right behind me, itching to get out there. We walked out to Green Point passing many of the early bird walkers. As usual it was greetings and "good mornings" from every person we passed. One gave us a tip on a Bald Eagle in a tree.
Out at Green Point the Shooting Stars are coming on strong. I love the dew drops.
Ron and I took a sneak peek at the area I knew was my usual good place for Calypso Orchid. They have sprung up and the Fawn Lily continue to join in. We made our way back along the road and met this fellow sliding across the road. He was actually making pretty good time.
Joining the group we returned along the loop road to Green Point. All along the road we found individual orchids. At Green Point early signs of other species were found in the woodland edge. We proceeded along the loop road and enjoyed some time back at the mossy trail filled with Fawn Lily and orchids. By now the sun had joined us full force. There were fun opportunities to play with sunlight. A tip of the hat to Ron for pointing out this particular lily with the cobwebs.
You know me, I cannot resist a bug shot.
We circled the park, scouting for flowers to come and appreciating the ones already here. I love the south slope with its Junipers. The old fellow at the top of the channel slope always fascinates me with its bare bones. These Prairie Stars made a pretty picture at the foot of one Juniper.
There was no topping this day. I knew weather changes were coming but when I heard the snow in the pass forecast, I knew I was going to have to stick by home. I want to get over to Eastern Washington to the dry areas, but driving in the snow is a bit of an issue.
So I stuck around home visiting my local Watershed Park. My gloomy spirit was a little uplifted by finding many more birds. I failed to charge my batteries after a long day out Saturday so I am sorry my little pocket ELPH could not do justice to the wrens I found gathering nest materials or the courting Mergansers.
I found Robin eggshells in a couple of places. Many birds carry egg shells away from the nest and drop them in the environment. I heard nest peeping in a few places.
Trailing Violets lined almost all of the trails.
I intended to go out the full length of the park to a pretty pond but I heard a noise and knew I had to follow.
Too toot toot toot. A Pygmy Owl! It was going to be hard to find but he was persistent in his tooting and it was a fun exercise to work at pinpointing where the sound was coming from. I made my way along a second trail and knew I was pretty close by the quality of the sound. I knew I was really close when he stopped. I looked , I waited but nothing, so I moved on. But it was not too far and he could not resist. I knew he was now behind me.
And I found him. Up in the very top of a fir tree, about 75 feet up. I cranked my camera up and shot, hoping that there was something.
Here he is 6.75 inches of lovelorn owl, calling for his female.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Naturalist, writer, adventurer, advocate and founder of the Sierra Club.
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world"
"As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can"."
"Anyhow we never know where we must go, nor what guides we are to get---people,storms, guardian angels, or sheep...."
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I am currently reading Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose. It is a wonderfully written history of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Cape Disappointment is where they first met the Pacific. It is where they spent their miserable Fall / Winter. Long Beach is exactly that, and amazing stretch of uninterrupted sand. The peninsula juts north along the coast. The Willapa estuary which forms along its east side and stretches inland is world famous for oysters.
In Long Beach you can enjoy tons of dining opportunities and ample lodging options; basic to swanky. I captured "skyless sunset" in a true ah ha! moment running back from seeing the sunset in the only rain (while not driving) of the weekend. I wish I had captured a safety image, this ones zoom focus was so bad. It was just a moment of right light and color.
I was disappointed to not be able to get to the unique Kite Museum (closed Sunday mornings). Long Beach regularly sponsors kite flying events and conventions. But I did capture this image for the subject "fly". While the Flickr group administrator is in the Netherlands, topics are listed in English. Fly lends itself to many interpretations.
Lewis and Clark spent many sad days along this coast. It was here they took what may have been the first truly democratic vote in US history. Every member of the team voted equally on where to spend the winter. The vote was taken at Dismal Notch and York, a Black slave and Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman, were included in the vote. Dismal Notch is just east of the Astoria Bridge. Here the river looks lovely and peaceful ...
...but to the west, on the rising tide you can see and hear the crashing of the rivers outflow when it meets the rising tide. The Columbia Bar is one of the most dangerous waterways in the world. The Coast Guard maintains two important stations on either side of the river.
River pilots are required for ships coming in and going out. Rescues are often carried out. This is Dead Mans Cove, just north of the Cape Lighthouse. Name such for obvious reasons. This is one of the historic spots for wreck recoveries.
Lewis and Clark were trapped at Dismal Notch by a week long storm in November of 1805. This area is subject to fierce rains and gales. The little cove they were trapped in did have a creek where they could easily get salmon for food. Today there is a nice bronze monument documenting the efforts of the party to break away from their camp and reach their ultimate destination. I knew I wanted Sacagawea to be my "guide" subject and I am happy I stopped at this place.
Cape Disappointment is wonderful for exploring. There are two different lighthouses and plenty of exciting wave and rock action. I knew that one of the lighthouses was likely to be black and white and waves are given at the ocean. Lighthouses are wonderful subjects.
I was thrilled at this wave photo.
Walking on the beach is not as nice as the beach up at ShiShi. Here cars are allowed to drive on the beach. To me, it is a wrong choice. There is far too much pollution and garbage washed up onto the beach and almost no interesting rocks or shells to seek. But I stumbled upon this seabird feather, the perfect black and white capture.
Some years ago a dead Gray Whale washed up on the north end of Long Beach. There was much discussion as to how to dispose of the very large carcass. Ultimately it was decided to simply bury it on site. Several years later permission was granted to dig it up. The skeleton was carefully preserved and assembled on the beach in Long Beach town. Lewis and Clark had recorded finding a dead whale and it certainly fits in neatly with experiencing some of what Clark saw here.
At Cape Disappointment there is a wonderful Lewis and Clark Museum. I really liked seeing some of the little details. Reproductions of their journals made me appreciate how great their scientific work was. These journals were simply paper tablets covered with soft leather. They were no more than 6 x 9 inches. Detail of the handwriting shows amazingly neat tiny script, beautifully penned, filling every page with exacting detail. There is also a section in the museum about early shipping and the history of shipwrecks off the cape. One display shows how lighthouse lanterns are focused using prisms. You get to manipulate the prisms on a miniature light to make it focus. I like things like that.
For me the highlight of the weekend was dinner at Jimellas Market Cafe. Owned by Jimella Lucas and Nanci Main owners of the now closed Ark Restaurant. I knew the Ark was world famous and I figured this was going to be as good as it could be. It was! Fresh fish given a simple grill prep. Fresh crispy asparagus and snow peas, lovingly prepared. A little salad I would never have thought would work; arugula, grapefruit and Kalamata olive. It was sweet, tangy, bitter and salty all in one perfect balance. Add a glass of wine and a fresh , homemade herb roll and I was one happy camper. Add the simple, come as you are surroundings, perfection. I might have to check into one of their many cookbooks to see if I can learn some secrets.
I will happily return to this beach if only to fly a kite (for the first time) and have more lovely dining experiences with Nanci and Jimella.