Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Almost Empty Basket

After yet more frogging, I managed to finish stitching the basket and a couple of the eggs.  This time of year a basket could easily be filled with wildflowers.

Take a walk with me and see what I mean.

On a gray Saturday morning my sister and I headed out to the eastern entrance of Buford Park, near Pleasant Hill, OR.

The almost 5,000 acre park includes the confluence of the Middle Fork and Coast Forks of the Willamette Rivers, Mt Pisgah (1,531'), open prairie, 
and remnants of the oak savannas that once embodied the Willamette Valley. 

We signed up to take part in a three mile Wildflower Walk through wetlands, prairie, and savanna.

While many of the wildflowers were familiar to me, there were easily a dozen I'd never seen before.

The wetland meadows are home to the critically endangered Bradshaw's Lomatium (Lomatium bradshawii).  It is a small unassuming plant. There were several different kinds of Lomatiums - a family of wildflowers of which I was totally unfamiliar.

I did clear how to tell the difference between two kinds of native Camas we have.  This is Common Camas (Cammassia quamash). One of the petals on the flowers is substantially longer than the others.

This is Great Camas (Camas leichtlinii).
All six petals are the same size.

We crossed Buckbrush Creek.

It is named for the Buckbrush that line the banks of the creek (bottom of photo). 

Buckbrush is also called Redstem Ceanothus (Ceanothus sanguineus) and the shrub grows up to 10' tall.

As we walked along we were treated to some nice vistas off to the eastern foothills.

This is Bog Saxifrage (Micranthes oregana).
It likes wet meadows.

I think I've seen Large Leaf Avens (Geum macrophyllum) on my walks at home. It is another wetland lover. 

Here's a lovely group of Rosy Plectritis (Plectritis congesta).
Still another wetlands lover - there's a theme here!

I think I was most taken with the Oak savannas. So pretty now that they are beginning to leaf out. 

I did not get a name for this pretty little wildflower.

This wildflower's common name is Rusty-haired popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys nothofulvus). A long name, but far less of a mouth-full than the Latin name! It has a rather specific habitat of grassy hillside fields.

Here's another wildflower whose name passed me by.

I wanted to share this view with you!  
It was worth pausing and just looking.

No name again, but I know this is some kind of small wild onion.

And this is a Monkey Flower - a Mimulus of some sort.

I seem to have collected shots of small white unnamed wildflowers!

While the day was rather dark and it rained the last 20 minutes, it was a pleasant way to spend the morning.  The eastern part of the park was extremely quiet - we met one person on horseback, otherwise we were alone with nature!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Building a Bunny

Now that I've got the basics of "Hare Crossing's" border done,
I've begun to build a bunny - the brown blob! 

Today I am celebrating my many finches... 

I am confidently stating this is a male Purple Finch!
I base my ID because of the color on the wings, and the lack of streaked flanks.

I also have House Finches for sure. 
This male has no color leaching on his wings and he has brown stripes on his flanks - so House Finch! 

As I've mentioned, the American Goldfinches have returned.
Several folks have commented that they have Goldfinches all year.  Mine stay around until late October / early November.  By that time they've lost all their bright summer color and are adorned in their dull winter feathers.  They then leave. I am at 500 feet elevation - my theory is that they go down to the valley floor to spend the winter where the temperatures are a bit more mild.  

After being AWOL for a couple of weeks, my Lesser Goldfinch has returned as well.

This nice couple ate their fill of nyger thistle seed.

The photo on the bottom right of the collage shows my male Lesser Goldfinch on the left,and a male American Goldfinch on right side of the bag of seed.  They look enough different that I don't have any ID issues with them!

But the BIG FINCH NEWS this week is ...

The return of the Evening Grosbeaks!
Tuesday morning the distinctive 'chirrs' of the Evening Grosbeak sounded louder and closer.  And finally this guy appeared in the trees near the feeders. 

By Tuesday afternoon, I had two couples hanging about. 

They seem to like my newest feeder just fine.

It's so great to have them back.
I am hopeful the Grosbeak population will continue to grow.
And I am still awaiting the return of the Black-headed Grosbeaks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Building a Basket

I am building an Easter basket.  Slowly. 
I have one stitch too many on my two long rows.  So I need to frog, but could not face that late Monday night.  I'll tackle it today.

While the mornings have been foggy, it has soon burned off, and
we've had some lovely days.  

Smart folks have taken advantage of the warm sunshine.

I go back and forth - House Finch or Purple Finch.
Given the size of the beak and the notch in the tail I am now leaning toward Purple Finch. (I probably have both kind mingling together which is making it that much more confusing!)  

No confusion here - a Black-capped Chickadee

A handsome male California Quail.
I seem to have around 14-18 - all of them paired up now with the males beginning to squabble with one another.

I've had up to six Mourning Doves, but most often just one pair.

My American Goldfinch flock continues to grow.
There are fourteen in this photo using all six of the feeders.
The quail and a bunny are grazing in the lawn. 

They are like spots of liquid sunshine!

More females (2nd from the left) are starting to appear.

I continue to hear Evening Grosbeaks off in the distance.
Sunday evening I heard and then watched a group of nine fly overhead.
But thus far no one has come to my feeders. I'll be really disappointed if they pass me by this year. 
Update: 7:30am My first Evening Grosbeak sighting! So far just a single male.  He is singing and calling up a storm, so perhaps other will come. What a nice Earth Day surprise!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Retro Monday

As I don't want to bore you with more boring border progress, I've decided to go back in time to a post from 2010. Enjoy.
There are new bird photos below...

Design - "Alphabet Bunny"
Pamphlet - "The Bunny Collection"
Designer - JBW Designs
Fabric - 28 count Antique White Cashel
Floss - DMC
Started - 27 June 2010
Completed - 9 July 2010

While this pattern required lots of color changes - a little light green, then a small dark green letter, then more light green - it was a fun stitch.  The designer included a micro pattern of cabbages, and I added that to the bottom of my bunny. 

I had the perfect dark green Pine Mountain pillow insert at hand.

The bird and the bunny garden ornaments approved!

All in all, a successful stitch - there are four more bunny patterns in this series - I think the pink Gingham Bunny is calling out my name!

We've been pretty heavy with Anna's Hummingbirds lately.
The Rufuos are more bashful, so it was nice to have a pair stop by on Easter.

Here is the handsome copper-colored male.

He arrived at the feeder first and then perched on the porch watching...

Then the female arrived and had a bite to eat. 

The female Rufuos is easily mistaken as an Anna's - but she has brown tail feathers and brown chest feathers mixing among iridescent green.