We had snow down to sea level again yesterday (though this photo is from an earlier, bigger snowfall).
This is oceanspray (holodiscus discolor), a native plant that’s part of the rose family. The seeds you see here are an important food source for birds through the winter. Before going to seed, the plant’s spring blossoms provide nectar to butterflies and other insects.
On Monday, the first day of our snow this week, I saw this Anna’s hummingbird perched on a branch.
Neighbors and friends feed hummingbirds year round and worry if the feeders freeze. In addition to feeding on nectar hummingbirds can also glean insects from shrubbery. In short periods of cold weather they can lower their body temperature at night by entering into a state of torpor, a form of deep sleep. This can reduce their metabolic rate by up to 95% and consequently use up to 50% less energy.
Hummingbirds are fascinating little critters. Click here for more information about how they survive.
Ducks certainly seem to be gregarious. If a body of water is large enough for a handful of ducks you’re likely to see a whole community of them.
We heard some concerted tapping on a tree was we walked by the other day. This little critter was up there, pecking around for some lunch.
This is a male hairy woodpecker. His long, pointed beak distinguishes him from a downy woodpecker, which is smaller and has a shorter beak.
He pecked for insects almost continually as I watched. His head was in almost constant motion. Can you imagine getting your meals like this? My head hurts just thinking of it.
In addition to finding the local herd of elk on Saturday, there were also groups of trumpeter swans not far away. Like the elk they were at a distance but my little Lumix camera helped to bring them home in a photo. Thanks again to SAM for alerting me to this mini wildlife extravaganza.
We have a lot of mourning doves hanging around lately, puffed up and frankly looking cold and miserable. Even in the sun it’s not much warmer than freezing. For me the soft light and shadow of this shot catches the chill.
Some of my favorite moments behind a camera are when it’s pointed at eagles. I caught these eagles in a disagreement over who got lunch — a dead seagull that they had no doubt hunted down together.
I was pleased to catch this eagle landing.
This eagle was simply being too regal to ignore on election day.