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Yesterday was a perfect day for bird watching. Many hummers visited the feeder including Calliope and Rufus Hummingbirds. A House Wren sat on the deck railing chattering continually. An American Goldfinch glowed yellow under the warm sun. I saw a male Calliope Hummingbird on my walk. Also on my walk I watched a Lewis’ Woodpecker confront a European Starling over a potential nest hole in a dead tree. And a Spotted Towhee called from a high perch.

Ken’s mother used to sit and watch the hummingbirds for hours. My mother would have enjoyed them too.

There are up to four species of hummingbirds in our region and I think the Black-chinned is my favorite. It is more slender than other hummers making it appear ‘tall’ but really, it’s no bigger than the other hummingbirds around here with an average weight of .12 ounce. Twelve one hundredths of an ounce! Imagine. The wing span is 4.3 inches.

We are near the most northern part of their range. Can you imagine such a small animal making the long migration from central Mexico? While the chin is black, as you might expect, when the sun hits it just right, there is a vibrant strip of purple on the males. I photographed this one at the feeder last week.

The girls and I drove a few miles out of Winthrop in hopes of finding the Lewisia tweedyi wildflowers. They have a narrow habitat and bloom early and I usually miss seeing them in this generally busy time of year. But since I am not as busy as normal, I made sure to get out and see them. According to my wildflower guide, Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest, ‘they grow in rocky slopes or cliffs at low and mid elevations only in the Wenatchee mountains in Washington and adjacent British Columbia. This rare plant is named for its discoverer, Frank Tweedy, a government railway surveyor working on the Wenatchee Range near Mount Stuart in 1882.’ These are not the Wenatchee mountains so perhaps, in the next revision of the book, that can be expanded to include the North Cascades.

After getting my fill of the flowers we skirted the Forest Service trailhead (all USFS facilities are closed but trails are open, if that makes any sense at all) and walked about 7 miles, round trip, through an old burned area with a nice creek and plenty of opportunities for the dogs to get a drink and cool off. There were more wildflowers along the trail including my first of the year fairy slipper orchids. It was a beautiful day.

I went birding by the river this morning and enjoyed lots of bird song and glimpses of warblers, vireos, flycatchers and other birds. It was mostly a ‘birding by ear’ session. The birds were generally tiny and up high in the deciduous trees now fully leafed out, and the wind was blowing. It was still fun. Every year I need to re-learn the songs of the migrant birds.

One animal that did not sing was a snowshoe hare. I saw at least six different white-footed rabbits today, already in their summer fur. The first one came bounding down the trail toward me before realizing that I was an obstacle and perhaps he/she ought to stop and consider what kind of obstacle. The hare stopped and started again before turning and bounding away.. I saw others throughout my walk in the woods and near the river. What a fun wildlife observation. No bird photos today.

We did takeout Saturday night, getting Pizza at East 20 and drove a little ways out of town to sit by a creek under the pine trees to eat it. Sorry, there are no pictures of the pizza. You just have to believe me that it was good. We walked down to the river and Sky enjoyed jumping in the water a few times. She has had an injured shoulder for weeks now and rarely gets any play time. It is frustrating for all of us. Yesterday she limped more so I guess it was a bad idea but she was SO happy.

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