Posted by: atowhee | August 28, 2016


Here in the northern Willamette Valley the temperatures have been HIGH. The air and ground have become DRY from sun and wind. In some open ground near the Yamhill Sewer Ponds cracks in the soil are three inches across and deeper than my hand.  That shows how much volume is taken up each winter’s rainy season by absorbed water. DUST DVL (1280x960)Here we see a dust devil whirling across a newly plowed field, sending precious topsoil into the air to be redistributed at the whim of the parching wind. DUST DVL2 (1280x960)Note the stolid oak that seen all this for decades of summers, yet persists and thrives. DUST DVL3 (1280x960)

Deciduous leaves are beginning to turn yellow, rust and brown.  Many are falling. Every breeze brings down a dried leaf or two.  They fall silently to the earth where many already lie shoulder to shoulder, corpses from the spring that has was.

This is the apex season for wild fruit and seeds.  Goldfinches are feeding now on the seeds of the rampant Queen Anne’s Lace.  Those once mellow, flat heads of florets are now giving way to seed, little velcro footballs which have a magnetic attraction to socks and shoe laces.  The blackberries in dry or sunny spots have already become raisins, moisture burned away.  Those berry vines that have more shade or roots into moist soil are now at their finest–ripe sweet berries that are the most intense of the season.  They are high in sugar with a concentrated blackberry flavor.  Nora the Dog and I each had several.  It is the only fruit that pleases her dogged palate.

The snow berries are all ripe now. As are holly, Oregon grape, mistletoe, poison oak.  The rose hips are still green and hard as a golf ball.  They require winter’s multiple freezing and thawing to reach the proper softness for the Robin’s taste. Dogwoods and hawthorns are in various stages–some of their fruits are still hard and green.  Yet I saw some sun-burdened hawthorns, the haws already ripened to a deep purple.  The green ones are wax-coated and hard as pellets.  The purpled ones can be softly squeezed to assess the juicy pulp that sits inside the skin.  It was in a hawthorn with ripened fruit where I saw the lone Robin of the morning.haws-1 (1280x960)Ripening above, fully ripe below: HAWS-RIPE (1280x960)Ash freighted with seeds.ash-1 (1280x960) ash-2 (1280x960)A lone Least Sandpiper braving the unrelenting sun to hunt along a sewer pond. lesa-ymh (1280x960)When I aw the two Kestrels, one was carrying a small mammal in its talons.  Following it was second Kestrel, calling.  I took this to be ab adult female and a juvenile begging for food, as the trailing falcon did not seem to attacking or aggressive.bumble-1 (1280x960)The intoxication of sticking your proboscis into a luscious cushion rich in pollen.  Bee heavenly. bumble-2 (1280x960)

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 27, 2016 10:45 AM – 11:30 AM.  13 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2     in the creek
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  8
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  1
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  5     in the pasture
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)  2
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  1


  1. Unfortunately the bees are pollinating tansy ragwort, an invasive weed.

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