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Nature Notebook

CATTLE POINT

This is homage to Cattle Point – a 26-acre parcel of public land at the south end of San Juan Island that is a natural treasure. It has been an important meeting place of islanders and…

THE SWANS ARE BACK!

One of the special events of fall on San Juan Island is the return of the trumpeter swans from their breeding grounds in the Far North. Each late October or early November the majestic white birds…

SALUTING THE SHRIKE

It was one of the last warm days in October before the rains came. The air was dry and still. The leaves were turning shades of celery and saffron and the low-set sun imbued the grasses…

PEARLY EVERLASTING

In September, migration is in full swing. Watching birds, butterflies, and dragonflies absorbs most of my time in the field. It is thrilling to encounter a large mixed flock of warblers passing through high in the…

INDIAN PIPE

I strolled to the cemetery at English Camp the other day to look at oak trees but soon found myself retreating from an abundance of yellow jackets in the grass. My short stay was disappointing but…

LATE BLOOMING LILIES

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I drove to the Land Bank's Westside Preserve near Lime Kiln Point State Park. Standing on a southwest-facing slope looking out upon Haro Strait rays of sunlight skipped across the…

THE WESTERN TAILED BLUE BUTTERFLY

It was the end of June and I still had butterflies on my mind. Even after a spring in the field doing Island Marble surveys and, in the process, encountering several other butterflies including azures, anglewings,…

THE BUTTERFLY CONNECTION

0 Until a week or so ago, it had not been a good spring for butterflies. Unseasonably cold temperatures and above average rainfall are not a good combination for the ethereal insects that require ample sunshine…

BIDDING ADIEU TO WINTER

The gray days of winter were almost gone. Or so I thought. The third week in February, I was almost sorry, in some ways, to see them end. My favorite trails had taken on an added…

Cold Weather Alert - Hummingbirds

(Originally posted 11/24/2010) Two years ago, our island experienced a big chill in December that left many of the birds challenged to find food. I wrote then about Anna's Hummingbird wintering in the San Juans and…

LONG DISTANCE DRAGONS

October was waning, and I took advantage of one of those glorious warm afternoons to head for American Camp looking for late migrating birds and butterflies. Early fall often holds surprises and I remembered three years…