Tiny Catch

An American bittern catches a small fish

I’ve frequently seen bitterns catch tiny little fish like this one and I often wonder if it’s worth the effort (especially so when the larger herons and egrets do it). I guess they’re not expending much extra effort while on patrol looking for all kinds of prey, be it fish or frog or vole or snake or earthworm.

Catch, Dunk, Swallow

An American bittern swallows a Pacific treefrog

They say pictures never lie but they can certainly give the wrong impression. This American bittern, swallowing a treefrog it just caught, caught it further away from the water but came down to the water, dunked it, and swallowed it. As adults treefrogs often live near water but spend most of their time on land (and more often near the ground rather than in trees). The bittern has covered both its eyes with a nictitating membrane to protect them as it flips the frog down towards its throat.

Trixie Beats the Heat

Our tortoiseshell cat Trixie yawns while sitting on the kitchen counter

The window nook in the kitchen has become one of Trixie’s favorite hangouts, especially in the midst of an unusual heatwave where the cool kitchen counter provides some welcome relief. By the middle of next week we’re in for a brutal week of hot weather so I’ve ordered a portable air conditioner so we’ll have at least one comfortable room we can all hang out in.

Diversity

Rocks on Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park in Washington

From a distance Rialto Beach looks like an endless stretch of gray rocks. While walking down the beach my eye was initially drawn to a small red rock amidst the gray, and on closer inspection I realized there was a variety of sizes and shapes and textures and colors beneath my feet. One thing they share, though, is that the endless waves of the ocean that brought these rocks together has worn away their rough edges, leaving them different yet also similar, a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Otters at Play

Two river otters play in Bower Slough

At the dog park this morning two young dogs were playing when suddenly in their rough play a line was crossed and things got more serious. Their owners separated them and the aggression quickly dissipated and hopefully each dog made a little progress in their socialization. These two otters were part of a family group catching fish in Bower Slough, and thus were quite familiar with each other, but even so when one otter grabbed the other by the scruff of the neck I wondered if this playful move was a bridge too far. But as you can see the otter’s skin is loose with plenty of fat underneath and the victim took it all in stride.

At the End of the Trail

Our 2000 Subaru Outback parked at the trailhead of the Storm Point Trail in Yellowstone

I became intrigued with the Subaru Outback while in graduate school so when we moved to Oregon and were ready to replace my wife’s car, it was our first choice. It was my wife’s daily driver for fourteen years and I took it on all my hiking trips, near and far. It was always a welcome sight when I arrived back at the end of the trail, in this case the Storm Point Trail in Yellowstone.

Late in its life it got hit a few times, once by someone who ran a red light and twice by people who inexplicably plowed into the back of it. I suppose one sign of how much we loved it is not just that we drove it for so long, and not just that we replaced it with another Subaru, but that we replaced my Honda with a Subaru too.

We bought this model when it first came out and fell in love with the color, which had literally just arrived at the dealer (they hadn’t even had time to take the protective wrapping off). Apparently a lot of other people loved the color too so we ended up seeing them everywhere, including a few nearby in our neighborhood. There are still enough on the road that I frequently get a nice reminder of our dependable little wagon that I took to so many of my favorite places.