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Outdoors

  • Hummingbird feeders need meticulous care

    Once more we have snow in May. This is a bit disturbing because we have just had some fine spring weather in April, and this seems like we are going backward. We don’t really want to see winter return, but it is not unusual. All of the ice was off Evergreen Lake by April 30.

  • Confounding phalaropes are shorebirds that act like ducks

    In last week’s article, I mentioned that many people had reported seeing phalaropes on Buchanan Pond on Sunday, April 21. Since then, I have had many inquiries about these birds such as: “What are they?” “Why haven’t we ever seen one?” “Where are they found?”

  • From the sounds of it, squirrels make their presence known

    During the past week, two different people requested information about the “baby” squirrels they have been seeing in their yard. From their description, I believe they have been seeing western red squirrels.

  • Migrant birds, including fox sparrows, return to area in April

    It is late at night as I try to write this. I must try to get this article finished so the good people at the newspaper can put it in the next issue. This has been a strange week with weather warmer than usual, mostly cloudy, spring-like days and clear nights with gillions of stars.

  • Elusive Townsend’s solitaires guard their juniper berry stash

    We moved into this house on April 19, 1965. That’s nearly 48 years ago, but many of you may recall the article I wrote about trying to find a pygmy owl that we heard calling that first night.

    Unfortunately, I do not hear pygmy owls calling as much as I used to. Their call is much more often heard than the owls are seen, for these tiny owls can disappear in a clump of pine needles or other foliage, and they are ventriloquists. They are not where you think they are.

  • Mourning doves make an early appearance at feeder

    On Friday, March 8, all the weathermen were forecasting another severe snow. By Saturday evening, they had been proven to be right with another foot of snow on the patio picnic table. On Friday, I was having lunch where I could watch the birds at the feeder. It was a busy sight with all of the winter moochers trying to fill up before the snow came. There was nothing new or especially interesting to be seen, but when I moved closer to the window to see if there was anything on the ground under the feeders, there was a sudden explosion of flight as two mourning doves took off.

  • Even though it’s early March, spring has arrived

    The round table on my patio looks like a huge coconut cake with 15 inches of snow on it. The peripheral lights look like giant ice cream cones. The good fairies came during the night and plowed my driveway. The birds are flocking to my feeders. Yet, despite 15 inches of snow, my heart sings, “Spring is here!”

  • Box elder trees add character to area stream beds

    If you are lucky enough to live in one of the stream valleys, you may have some box elder trees growing near your house. I hope you will make time to really watch them for at least a few minutes every day.

     

    Not only are box elder trees interesting in their own right, but they also seem to attract many birds, especially when they have many seeds hanging on their branches. Box elder is the name by which most of us know this tree, but botanically, it is known as Acer negundo.

  • Hardy species hang around mountain area in winter

    Snowy February has fairly well lived up to its name. We have not had deep snow here, but frequent light snow and cold weather have kept the ground carpeted in white. Of course, more lies ahead for us for spring snows are usually deeper although less frequent.

     

    March snows are usually deep, wet and heavy. Even April, our second snowiest month, brings this same kind of snow with nice spring days in between. Spring can’t come too soon for me for I have cabin fever and just can’t wait to get outside.

  • Hardy species hang around mountain area in winter

    Snowy February has fairly well lived up to its name. We have not had deep snow here, but frequent light snow and cold weather have kept the ground carpeted in white. Of course, more lies ahead for us for spring snows are usually deeper although less frequent.

     

    March snows are usually deep, wet and heavy. Even April, our second snowiest month, brings this same kind of snow with nice spring days in between. Spring can’t come too soon for me for I have cabin fever and just can’t wait to get outside.