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What do you want for your birthday? I always hope to see something wonderful or have a wonderful time doing something I enjoy. Yesterday, the first day or Spring, was my birthday.

The girls and I headed over to the Okanogan in hopes of finding enough bare, snow-free ground for a good hike. Well good luck with that. Winter continues to linger on most of the hills unless they are steep and south-facing. We did manage to do some rambling and scrambling but the rotten snow was a challenge for a good walk and the open hillsides that were snow-free are so badly damaged by intensive grazing and wildfire that there are few native plants and lots of weeds. Since the big fires of 2014 many fences have been built in hopes of keeping livestock out of the creeks and this is a good thing. However, I crossed, over and under, numerous strings of barbed wire during our little outing.

Giving up on that, we headed across the Okanogan to the Timentwa Flats in search of Sandhill Cranes. But once again, winter’s grip is slow to let go and all the little lakes were frozen and the ground was snow-covered. I did see several Rough-legged Hawks and some Snow Buntings, both winter birds in our area, along with some vibrant Mountain Bluebirds and a pair of Killdeer walking on ice. It was a mixed bag. The road got progressively worse and I didn’t want to take a chance of getting caught in the mud so we turned around and gave up on that route.

We headed down to the Big River and Washburn Island. I knew it was snow-free and warm. We were able to walk all the way around it. At one point a Red-tailed Hawk circled above, screeching at us. Maybe there is a nest nearby? We were surprised when a small group of Sandhill Cranes lifted from the unseen cattails behind a row of Russian olive trees and flew around us landing somewhere behind where we had already walked. Sky enjoyed jumping in the Columbia and at the end we observed a Great Horned Owl in a nest.

All in all a pretty good birthday adventure and a beautiful day!

Sunrises and sunsets have been amazing this week.

The hills are still covered with snow. And the floors in the house are covered with grit. My car is covered with mud. Yesterday it was almost sixty degrees, Fahrenheit. And there is snow in this week’s forecast. Spring officially, is only one week away. This is Mud Season.

The girls and I try to get out and walk early when the snow is hard enough to support our weight. Sometimes it supports them but not me. If we are late, then we only have muddy, and in shady places icy, roads to walk on. Yesterday we ran into our friends Frida, Quincy and Mary Ann, also hoping to find a good place to walk. It is a challenge this time of year.

Migratory birds are arriving everyday. One person has already seen a hummingbird in the valley so I put out a feeder. Both bluebirds, Say’s Phoebes, American Robins, Violet-green Swallows and other migrants are already here. They certainly think it’s spring.

While walking the dogs in a park on the Columbia River, we saw several Bald Eagles, at least five. Two or three of them were juveniles, like this one, and pretty much oblivious to our presence. We were able to walk under the trees where they perched. Most of the time they watched us and the dogs but this one flew, showing off its strength and grace in flight.

Sky and I went to an agility event last weekend and had a chance to stay with friends of a friend who live on a bluff overlooking part of the Salish Sea. It was really very nice of them to take us in. Their little beach is 149 steps down from the their yard and we didn’t mind the walk at all. Sky was excited to smell the saltwater and chew on salty pieces of driftwood. It was pretty chilly so I didn’t throw anything into the water for her to chase. We enjoyed sunset and sunrise colors over the rugged Olympic Mountains. It was a good way to wind down in the evening and to wake up in the morning.

Don’t even ask about our agility results.

149 steps


Alpenglow at sunset


Morning waves


Morning light

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