July 27, 2015

Swallow Watching






For the last two months I have been monitoring 15 Tree Swallow nest boxes at Jackson Bottom Wetlands. The open fields allow a great view of the sky. I have taken many landscape photos while out there. Here are a few of them. The last two are from Sunday. Eight of the fifteen boxes remain occupied with a second batch of nestlings. I keep expecting to go out there and find them all empty, but the season keeps going on.....

July 26, 2015

July 20 Coast Trip











A low tide allowed for some tidepool explorations. I only took my cell phone for photos, so the one shot I tried of the little crab in the rocks is hard to see. He's in the middle peeking out. The weather was a nice escape from the city heat. It was mild and not windy which was perfect!


July 02, 2015

Conboy NWR and more

The next day the skies cleared and we headed to Conboy NWR in the morning. It was already hot by the time we got there and I left my big camera in the car. At the Willard Springs Trail we heard Western Meadowlark calling and lots of insects buzzing. Dragonflies were thick along the creek.




The views of Mt. Adams are gorgeous. We could see smoke at the base of the mountain and figured the previous night's thunderstorm set a fire. A burn ban was in effect. Later the smoke stopped fortunately.

These mystery moths were seen on the Willard Springs Trail. We later learned they are Western Sheepmoth. Neat-o!

A Lyre-tipped Spreadwing at roadside stop. Also seen at this stop was a Bobcat! A snack was in hand, not the camera.

Later we moved on to Mill Pond for some shade and a cool place to spend the afternoon. Much fun was had geeking out over insects. A pair of kestrels were actively chasing off a hawk much of the time too.



An insect next to my chair was busy doing some excavation. Watch closely at 1:07. He/she hauls out a pebble the size of its head!!



Riveting, I know.



Some macro lens fun:::



Back at the Flying L Ranch we watched some back lit hummers at the many feeders they provide for them. Later at dusk we came back for the evening show of nighthawks and hummers.






Mysterious gumdrops on a tree trunk.

On the way home we stopped for some more time in the Mt. Adams wilderness.


Thanks to Jen for helping me figure out this giant feather is likely from a Wild Turkey.

It was a fun mini vacation!!

July 01, 2015

Birding South-Central Washington State

Sunday we headed to South Prairie again to look for birds and bugs. The weather was HOT as predicted and muggy with clouds and overcast. We spent some time looking at dragonflies and watching for new birds to add to our South Prairie list. (Mystery bug above.)





Later we made our way to the Mt. Adams area and explored some new spots and some old favorites.















One hightlight I have no photos of. But I do have a fun recording:



Later we made our way to Glenwood for the night. On the highway we saw two Common Nighthawks over a clearcut. It was only 6pm, but they were out already. We pulled off and watched and listened. It was just a taste of more to come.


Thick clouds were rolling in and in the middle of the night a fierce thunder and lightening storm developed right before dawn. Lots of rain fell and as the rain cleared we could hear nighthawks calling. Then the sky started to grow bright and pewees started to sing.


And that was just the first day!