Posted by: atowhee | June 17, 2021


Heat, jays, the moments of the season and some birdy happenings.

It has long been known by those who pay attention–corvids are great gardeners. Now a study in Britain shows just how important jays are to forest replanting. Perhaps better than people with shovels. For deeper understanding of jays and wild gardens I recommend the superb book, The Landscaping Ideas of Jays. It was published in 2007 but the wisdom of the jays is fresh today as is the author’s careful observations of the birds’ behavior. I think jays love oaks as much as I do so it is easy for me to feel we are in league together.

SALEM: Our two cherry trees are fruitful right now. Speaking of jays I have not seen them collecting fruit yet. Perhaps there is so much ripening fruit now the jays are overwhelmed. A neighbor’s cherry is dropping ripe ones into the street. One if our apple trees threatens an avalanche of fruit later this summer. Pears are already bigger than golf balls but I think I can depend on the squirrels to, again, beat me to the harvest. Our blueberries are ripening and our small planter of potatoes had been overgrown with branches four-feet long. As ever, nature insists.

Our local rainy spell is over. The blue sky, bleached by bright sunlight, returns. Occasional feathery wisps of white float pass, high in the heaven. Near Clark Creek–lined with cottonwood–other feathery white wisps float past at eye level, columnar bits of cottonwool with embedded seeds.

On a door jamb I note a resting daddy-long-legs spider, still a favorite more than seventy years since I picked up the first one I noticed. In those humid Ozarks summers they were among the most abundant small animals, not omnipresent like barn flies or ants, but often as common as June bugs or ticks. And weightless and harmless and so endearingly gangly–not like the black widows, various wasps, chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes, grasshoppers that bite, fleas jumping from dog or cat, horse flies attacking the milk cow while I sat with a half-filled bucket clamped between my knees. That would often lead to a tail swat into my eye, or worst, a kick and spilled milk. It was fair to smile at a daddy-long-legs as a friend just getting on.

We have a variety of bees in our roses. Our daughter’s garden in Portland, too, is abuzz with bees of many kinds. Is this age of extinction, it is a relief to type those words. Buzz on, my fuzzy little neighbors. Back in May our rose buds were crawling with aphids, then the ladybug brigade–adults and their larvae hit. Now it is hard to find an aphid. I just hope our six-footed allies find enough to eat.

Among the fledglings that have come into our garden are Bushtits, Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch. At Fairview Marsh I’ve see young of the year–Canada Geese, Mallard, Killdeer, nutria. I hear bullfrogs calls so I can expect tadpoles at some point and later there will be young swallows with their parents.


In the third Barn Swallow image there is a blur to the right of the perched birds–a passing Cliff Swallow, at speed. Siprea in bloom. Killdeer bathing. Lupine nurturing bumblebee.


Neighbors say there are nestlings aboard. They are nit visible yet. In last two images father is on Doug fir across the street from nest and having fish snack. He later took part of the fish to the nestlings. Mother Osprey made some quick frays to some food source nearby to the north and came back with small fish or large frogs. It seemed like she was gone less than a minute each time,


Two more fine fotos from Albert Ryckman’s recent trip to northern Washington State for nesting Common Loon photos:

Photos from recent visit by Kirk Gooding:

Canyon Wren and two glamoruous icterids–Bobolink male and Yellow-headed Blackbird male.


The earth is trapping ever more heat.

Speaking of heat...records being set in the US West with days more of swelter forthcoming, Hot and nasty.

And in California Oroville Lake is so low electricity generation will stop.

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