So far the plants I moved a few weeks ago are all doing fine. I’m glad I got them established as we’re in the midst of a record heat wave.

I had moved about about a dozen strawberry plants that were growing too close to the fence, and not only did they survive but every one of them is blooming! Even the littlest one has a nice white flower that came up during the week.

We’ve got a couple dozen plants now, all propagated from the few sickly survivors I rescued while clearing the forest of weeds when we bought the house. They responded well to getting more sun when the grapes were pulled up and last year produced a number of offshoots. The berries from the original plants are quite tasty and I have high hopes for the new ones, providing the slugs save a few for me.

The blueberry bush I moved has also survived and this week started to put out a few flowers. It isn’t the sunniest spot in the yard but better than before. If it does well I might move the other two next year into more sun near the raspberries, but I’ve avoided doing anything near the house since we’re getting a new roof in a few weeks and I figure there will be some plant casualties as they work.

If these transplants prove to be a success I’ll try something more challenging, like kidneys or livers.


Our black cat Emma yawns while our young orange tabby Sam looks on as they watch a bird on the roof from the window in my office

Emma and Sam sitting in the window in my office watching a scrub jay that flew up to the roof of the porch. Emma is showing her sharp, pointy teeth but she’s not thinking about eating a tasty bird, she’s just yawning.

You were just yawning, weren’t you Em?



A-ha! Caught You!

Our cat Scout cleaning herself while resting on a window seat

Scout is a tidy sleeper, sleeping either on her stomach with her legs and tail tucked up underneath or on her side curled up in a ball. But recently I walked into the living room and found her all sprawled out on the window seat, sleeping with one leg actually jutting out and hanging down. I went to grab my camera but by the time I came back she had woken up and was grooming herself, denying me the evidence that she had ever slept in such an untidy fashion.

I’ve been hoping to catch her again but she’s been on her guard.

Gold Reward

A common yellowthroat perches in cattails at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

The yellowthroats weren’t staying still for very long, so even if I got a clear view of one I had to move quickly. For a few seconds this male flew into the middle of the cattails, not so high as to draw the ire of the blackbirds. His eye was obscured by the cattail in front nearly the entire time, but he stuck his head out far enough for me to get one picture before he flew off.

My favorite picture of the day.

Baby Please Don’t Go

A male American goldfinch perches on a cattail at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

I sat in my car at Ridgefield for hours hoping in vain to photograph migrating common yellowthroats. I was getting ready to leave when this male goldfinch and a female flew into the cattails. I only had time for a few quick pictures of the male before a territorial red-winged blackbird flew in to chase off the intruders. So happy to get a look, however brief, of goldfinches I decided to stick around a while longer and was rewarded with nice views of a male yellowthroat as well.

Oh Ridgefield!

A common yellowthroat looks out from a patch of cattails at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

I got up at 5am this morning with yellow on my mind.

Like last week, I hoped to photograph yellow-headed blackbirds up at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. However, the yellowheads were staying more in the interior of the marsh this week. I can’t say that I blame them, last week the red-winged blackbirds were harassing them a bit but this week they would mob the yellowheads mercilessly every time they came to the edge.

Even so, my morning did turn out to be about yellow — not from blackbirds but yellowthroats and goldfinches. After spending six hours at the refuge last week, today I stayed for ten hours. I would have stayed longer but the weather was supposed to be sunny and I had only played to stay for a couple of hours and hadn’t brought enough food and water.

Remind me to ignore the weatherman next time.

I took far fewer pictures than last week but my quarry was more elusive. The yellowthroats were staying mostly out of sight, and when they did pop up to sing they were either chased by the redwings or by other competing yellowthroats. I was ready to call it a day and about to start the car to leave when a goldfinch popped into view. That convinced me to wait a while longer but again was ready to leave when this male yellowthroat finally appeared.

I wish the out-of-focus cattail wasn’t in front of the cattail that he is actually clinging to, but I still think it’s a cute picture. I got a few others I was happy with so stay tuned for those, plus a few goldfinch pictures.

The Only One Not Singing

A barn swallow perches on a cattail with his mouth wide open at South Quigley Lake at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Ridgefield, Washington in May 2008

On a day I spent watching birds sing, from yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds to song sparrows and marsh wrens, this little barn swallow was the only one not singing. After swarming over the lake hunting insects with the rest of the barn and tree swallows, he landed on this cattail for just a moment, opened his mouth wide a couple of times, preened a few feathers, then took to the skies once more.

I Don’t Think He’s Right But …

A petroglyph of a cat along the Rinconada Canyon Trail at Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico

Sometimes I think I take just a few too many pictures of my cats, but this glyph in the Rinconada Canyon at Petroglyph National Monument makes me think a kindred spirit once roamed these hills. Templeton thought it might be an image made of him, but I thought no since he was far too young. He said in human years yes but in cat years no. I don’t think that’s how it works, but on the other hand …