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Nature Notebook

A WALK IN THE WOODS

The rains last month dampened my spirits and I postponed some of my walks waiting for the showers to transition into a brighter spring. But the other morning I heard the song of a Swainson's thrush…

HUMMINGBIRDS OF WINTER

Two weeks ago, I watched a hummingbird fly through a snowstorm to get to the bird feeder that was hanging by my back porch. It was a female Anna's hummingbird, barely 4-inches in length, and weighing…

RECYCLING THE WOODS

October may have come and gone on a warm breeze but now, in November, the rain and wind have commenced and, accompanied by graying skies and erratic winds, any lingering dreams of an endless summer have…
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FALL

Fall is in the air. By six o'clock, the sun is in the last phase of its slow deliberate descent toward the western rim of the inland sea, and the sky chills to a cool wash…

The inscrutable alcids

The other morning I stood at South Beach and watched a Rhinoceros Auklet fly by. The small, sooty brown seabird sped low over the water just ahead of a pesky fog that had settled over Haro…
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The serviceberry and the waxwings

Each July, for several years now, a friend has been telling me about a tree in his yard that bears such abundant fruit that over a dozen species of birds fly in for an early summer…

On Rufous Hummingbirds

I watched a Rufous Hummingbird lift off its nest for the first time not long ago. It didn't fly far on its brand new wings - just far enough to experience the possibilities of flight. Its…

Counting fawn lilies

The San Juan Islands are a wonderful place to find spring wildflowers. The post-glacial till of south-facing slopes and variety of forest and wetland habitats promote high diversity here and wide-ranging opportunities for plant lovers seeking…

Monarch in our midst

Not long ago, islander Ron Keeshan was photographing swallowtail butterflies in his yard along the shore of North Bay when a fine thing happened. A monarch butterfly appeared. It was perched on a plant called Buddleia…

Cattail Marsh

Not long ago, I saw Matt Pranger's photograph of cattails at Percich Pond. It was a beautiful image of an idyllic island scene. Why, I wondered, was I sitting indoors catching up on my reading when…
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