Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sound of surf overwhelming

I do not know why, but occasionally the sound of the surf in my apartment is more pronounced than on most evenings. A look at the tides table for today, September 7, 2011, tells me that high tide comes at 10:16 p.m.--a bit more than an hour from now.

The sound of the surf at this time is transformative. I am drawn to it, though a 55 degree temperature, a fog, and a north wind will probably prevent my being there.

But when the full moon is setting over that magnificent beach on September 12 near dawn, I doubt anything could prevent my being there.

All human activities and misadventures pale into appropriate perspective when the elemental sound and power of an incoming Northern Pacific tide is pounding at one's doorstep. This is good--a welcomed diversion.

D. Grant Haynes

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gulls at Ocean Park, Washington

(Photos by D. Grant Haynes) (Click to enlarge and view.)

I have acquired a high definition video camera capable of producing high quality images as still photographs. But I now know E-Blogger doesn't cotton to HD images. They are displayed as little more than thumbnail photos. One has to click on each image to see the detail. What a bummer! I need to find another venue for posting photos.

Also, I have joined the local Audubon Society chapter, hoping to clarify which species of gulls I am seeing most often. I believe them to be either Herring Gulls or California Gulls in varying degrees of immature plumage, mostly. The gray and white birds are adults, but all the quarrelsome and mottled ones are immatures.

I assume their survival in the nest depended upon their fighting for a share of whatever was brought to them. The young ones squawk and fuss with one another much of the time--especially when food is offered. -- DGH

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oysterville continues to beckon

The Oysterville School, built in 1907, served the community for 50 years--until Pacific County consolidated its schools in 1957. Thereafter, the thereafter, the picturesque building has been utilized as a community center. Public education came to Oysterville with the first settlers in 1860. A two-story schoolhouse provided a forum for reluctant students to learn reading, writing and arithmetic from 1874 until it burned down in 1905.

(Photos by D. Grant Haynes) (Click on images to enlarge.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to the kite festival...

Photo by D. Grant Haynes (Click on image to enlarge.)

The International Kite Festival at Long Beach continues to gather steam and enthusiasts as the weekend approaches. Participants in the various kite flying skill contests are permitted to camp on the beach and many have pitched tents. There will be fireworks and much merriment before the festival is over Sunday afternoon. -- DGH

(See this blogger's Facebook page for today's video.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No more kite festival--not today!

I set out in earnest this afternoon to walk down to the beach and photograph kites, tourists, corn dog stands, and rows of actively used portable toilets--the usual human stuff.

But along the way, my attention was arrested by something much more interesting and appealing and I never made it to the beach.

I saw the quiet and timid visage of a young mule deer watching me from a brushy field not 100 yards away.

While all the tourists streamed to the beach, I detoured past a small stand of pines and into an open space where I was fortunate to view three mule deer for half an hour or so. I believe I saw a doe with two fawns.

After the deer tired of entertaining me, I drove down Highway 101 toward Ilwaco, Washington, stopping at a local landmark called "Black Lake".

There, I saw gulls taking a break too from the kite festival and the noisy and restless Pacific Ocean. Black Lake is beautiful in its own quiet way.

D. Grant Haynes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kites everywhere...

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

The annual Long Beach, Washington, kite festival began today, August 15, 2011, in Long Beach. Beach skies were filled with exotic kites most of us could only have dreamt of in our childhoods. The festival will continue all week, concluding on Sunday, August 21.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Young gulls vie for handouts

Best viewed on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pXzjJRFkG0

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thousands of blackbirds perform evening ritual at Long Beach

Can be viewed more effectivly directly on YouTube at:


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Long Beach kite festival coming!

Photos by D. Grant Haynes

Kiting enthusiasts from throughout North America are already gathering in Long Beach for the annual International Kite Festival to be held August 15-21 this year. Kites are a serious business here. There is a kite museum and at least one kite specialty shop. For one who purchased Hi-Flyer paper kites for less than a dollar in F.W. Woolworth's in a 1950's Columbus, Georgia, 21st Century kiting in Washington State is a whole 'nother ball game. Some kites cost upwards of $200 nowadays. That I should live so long! -- D. Grant Haynes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rainier dominates Cascade skyline

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

This view of Mt. Rainier (elevation 14,411 feet) was taken from White Pass on Highway 12 in Southwestern Washington on August 1, 2011. It is not too often that Rainier is out. Clouds cloak the dormant volcano more often than not. Mt. Rainier is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Despite her potential for eruptive activity similar to Mt. St. Helens' in 1980, Rainier lends dramatic beauty to Washington State. (See Wikipedia article at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rainier for more detail.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Red-shafted Flicker comes a-callin'

Photos by D. Grant Haynes

During each of the three summers I have spent in Wilbur, Washington, I have been aware of a family of Red-shafted Flickers (Colaptes auratus) that nest somewhere near my abode. By midsummer, they come to my backyard with whatever offspring they've managed to rear and teach the young the art of finding and eating the ants that are plentiful here by late July.

This afternoon, as an afterthought after 6 p.m., I sat down with my camera, not expecting to see anything remarkable so late in the day. But three Red-shafted Flickers were soon close to me in the conifers. Two decided discretion to be the better part of valor and left. But a third came closer, perching on a nearby post long enough for me to get some exceptional photos.

The red "mustache", ornithologists call it, indicates a male flicker. And my impression is the bird is probably a young male. His body is not quite as plump and smoothly contoured as an adult male, the body of which can be 12-14 inches long. Also, and sadly, young birds are often more curious and less cautious about potential dangers than are their parents. I believe the above Red-shafted Flicker represents the only fledgling reared to near maturity by our flicker family this year. Normally, one would expect to see three, perhaps.

In any case, this dear and trusting bird allowed me to get 10-12 shots before departing to join his fellows at a safer distance.

Red-shafted Flickers, members of the woodpecker family, have a wingspan of from 16-20 inches. They stay in Eastern Washington throughout the winter. My hat is off to them for that feat alone! -- D. Grant Haynes

A lovely weekend in Long Beach

The city center in Long Beach, Washington

Sunshine and cool breezes prevail most summer days in Long Beach, Washington

Friday, July 22, 2011

Columbia Basin grasses as texture

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

Spring's green hues are giving way to golden ones in Wilbur as July enters its last week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July days long and pleasant

Photo by D. Grant Haynes (Click on image to enlarge.)

Wilbur's sunset came at 8:39 p.m. today, July 20, 2011. A month ago on the summer solstice--June 21--the sun lingered 12 minutes longer, setting at 8:51 p.m. But summer's days are still long and delightful, with many more hours of daylight than of darkness. We won't worry at this time about the winter solstice--December 21--when sunset will occur at 4 p.m. in Wilbur. One day at a time. -- DGH

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nubiru bearing down?

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

Okay. It's uncharacteristic of me. I never do anything wild and crazy. I am staid and boring. I know. But last night's photo of the July moon as it entered the first evening of the "waning gibbous" stage, was so much like several other moon images I have done recently that I decided to go into Photoshop on my old Macintosh and play some. I came up with this decidedly other worldly result. For those of you unfamiliar with the "Nubiru" reference, some who anticipate an apocalyptic or doomsday event in 2012 speculate that a tenth or "rogue" planet of the solar system will collide with or come very close to the earth in December 2012, causing a Christian Tim LaHaye-like Armageddon. Personally, I expect the sun to rise and the factories to growl into life to continue to pollute our little planet on January 1, 2013. I have heard too many "end of the world" scenarios in my time to believe another one now.

(Photoshop technique note: This image was created by utilizing a gradient tool set at 100 percent. Gradient colors were red (from upper left) to yellow (at lower right). After a diagonal application of the color gradient, a "water color" filter was applied. Adobe Photoshop is fun and unlimited in terms of special effects. Never let anyone tell you built-in photo manipulation tools from Microsoft Corporation will do as much. They are for amateurs. -- DGH)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tempestuosity of spring yields to quieter midsummer fruition

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

Plants, animals, and all wild things of the Earth are governed by the cyclical ebbing and flowing of the seasons. Midsummer in Eastern Washington is characterized by a sense of peace not known in the spring. The blackbirds have reared their broods and are beginning to flock together in the evening. Wheat and wild grasses are ripening, thus assuring continuity of their kinds for another year. Nature's children have remained faithful to their charges. They can relax and rest now, building up energy stores for the next chapter in their lives. Whatever Love's plan for them--migration to a warmer clime or survival in a long and cold winter--there will be no complaining nor striving. They accept their roles in the larger order and are at peace in all things. -- D. Grant Haynes

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

English Sparrows

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

I captured this fairly sharp image of an English Sparrow (Passer domesticus) pair (male on right) in my backyard today. English Sparrows (sometimes called House Sparrows) are natives of Eurasia, but were introduced in North America in 1858 when some pairs were released in Brooklyn, New York. They have more or less covered the Western Hemisphere since. Their cheery chirping was part of my childhood, as they nested in large numbers near my home. -- DGH

When I arrive in Long Beach...

Harbor seal pup

One of my early priorities while the summer persists will be to seek out and photograph or make a video of all beach and shoreline animals and birds I encounter. Wouldn't it be great to walk the 8-mile Discovery Trail from Long Beach to Ilwaco and find harbor seals or other wildlife along the way! Anybody want to join me for the trail or a portion of it? -- D. Grant Haynes

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Columbia River channel jetty as seen from Cape Disappointment

One more photo from my June 15-17 visit to Pacific County, Washington. This shot is from Cape Disappointment State Park near Long Beach. The jetty in the distance represents the Columbia River channel where that mighty waterway enters the Pacific Ocean on Washington's southwest coast. (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Always beautiful...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Was it a sign or portent?

A seagull of some variety circled the property and landed on the roof of my apartment this afternoon. I have seen them 20 or so miles north of here on Lake Roosevelt at the Grand Coulee Dam, but they do not come to Wilbur, Washington, often. At least, they haven't in my two years here. Maybe the gull came to lead me to the ocean. -- D. Grant Haynes

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fern fiddleheads unfurling

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

I know some of my viewers expect a new spectacular every few days. Those spectaculars are becoming more difficult to produce as spring drifts into summer and the flowering stage for wild plants subsides.

However, I am sharing a photo of fern fiddleheads that were opening June 16 when I hiked in Pacific County, Washington, near Long Beach. The woodlands of the Cape Disappointment headland were replete with such ferns.

Fern fiddleheads are considered a delicacy by some. They are steamed or otherwise cooked slightly before being consumed.

I have not had an opportunity to identify, specifically, this particular fern variety, so I cannot recommend it as a food source. More research would be required on my part before I would eat it or any other wild plant.

D. Grant Haynes

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Moon, June, Spoon, Honeymoon...

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

The June 11 moon was beautiful, uncompromised by clouds or mist. She reached the quarter phase on June 9 and will be full June 15.

Regardless of how neurotic and self-destructive the human species becomes, some natural phenomena remain unchanged, thereby offering solace in a world seemingly gone mad.

This beautiful moon, our faithful earth companion through all the ages, cares not one whit what Anthony Weiner sent a woman on Twitter. That puts things into perspective for me.

D. Grant Haynes

Friday, June 10, 2011

And possibly the last spring flower of the season--the death camas

Photo by D. Grant Haynes

A terrible name for a pleasant little plant of the meadow, but I am told it is so named because someone mistook it (Zigadenus paniculatus) once for an edible camas and became ill.

In any case, this particular plant lent sunlight and joy to what was possibly my last afternoon looking for spring flowers in Wilbur, Washington.

God bless the natural world and all it has given me. -- DGH

Silky lupine blooming

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

The spring and early summer wildflower show is waning in Lincoln County, but silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus Pursh var. fikeranus) now lends its delicate beauty to mid-June landscapes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pageant of wildflowers continues

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Today's featured plant is the desert yellow daisy, (Erigeron linearis).

This tiny daisy is actually expected to bloom in July or August in Eastern Washington, but is appearing already in Lincoln County.

Perhaps they seek to take advantage of the liberal rains of recent days.

D. Grant Haynes

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A propitious beginning for summer

The backyard of the apartment where I dwell is dominated all summer by a pleasant little bush that produces hundreds of yellow flowers from the first warm days until the last ones.

Succeeding generations of flowers attract bees and butterflies each lazy summer afternoon for at least three months running.

During the bitter Eastern Washington winter, this brave and uncomplaining little woody plant defies all cold with a certainty that it will be reborn again when soil and air temperatures reach a minimal level in the spring.

Today, June 1, 2011, my cheery bush produced its first four flowers of the 2011 season. Within days now, I can expect the shrub to be covered with five-petaled yellow flowers. Again, they will continue until the days begin to grow short and cold in late September, perhaps.

Being a determined researcher, I am pouring over taxonomic descriptions to learn the botanical name of the plant. I will certainly post that designation here when found.

Until such time, I will simply call the bush my "sunshine flower".

This, because I know the plant will lend a sense of warmth and gentle peace to my life each afternoon as I sit in my backyard listening to bird calls and other comforting sounds of the natural world.

D. Grant Haynes

P.S. -- I have learned from an area nursery that my sunshine flower is a shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa).

P.P.S. -- And 11 days later (June 12), four blooms have been transformed into at least a hundred on the shrubby cinguefoil! Such is the beauty and wonder of the natural world and of spring. -- DGH

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I thought I was in Texas!

I have lived most of my life in Georgia, West Texas, or some other place noted for thunderstorms and tornadoes at almost any time of the year. But such storms are very rare in Washington State. Typically, one hears thunder only a few times in a year--usually in late spring or early summer.

But we had a humdinger this evening that would do justice to Warner Robbins, Georgia, or Clyde, Texas. No, there was no tornado and not a lot of wind, but the lightning was fierce and there was small hail even.

D. Grant Haynes

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend walk yields another diminutive Washington wildflower

Purple Cushion Daisy (Erigeron poliospermus) (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

A solitary stroll on this very quiet Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend did not see this striving photographer and chronicler of the natural world in Lincoln County Washington encounter anything as spectacular as my bitterroot find a couple of days ago. (See Bitterroot extravaganza at: http://strigidae-bitterroot.blogspot.com/.)

What I found today were clumps of purple cushion daisies scattered about in an old farm roadbed. They are newcomers in the spring pageant of wildflowers that I seek to record here. While small (the photo is actually about 125 percent of the size of the flowers), and unspectacular, they too have their niche in the natural world that is Eastern Washington. Many small flying insects seemed happy to find the neat little white daisies blooming today.

I accept whatever blessings of beauty, innocence, and guileless goodness I encounter on my walks. Today, in addition to the purple cushion daisies, I saw a pair of ring-necked pheasants that are, no doubt, nesting nearby.

"Day by day the manna fell...", went the refrain from a religious hymn of my childhood. Purple cushion daisies and wild pheasants were rewards enough for me today.

D. Grant Haynes

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Long-leaf phlox doesn't shout

Long-leaf phlox (Phlox longifolia)
(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Flowers, as humans, come in a variety of presentation styles.

Some, as the ostentatious arrow-leaf balsamroot now blooming in brilliant yellow clusters visible for a quarter mile in Eastern Washington, shout their presence. No man nor animal is likely to miss seeing them.

But other plants, such as the diminutive long-leaf phlox also blooming now during Eastern Washington's delayed spring, whisper their presence without shouting. Such small plants lend a delicate beauty to the landscape one can find and enjoy only by exploring the sage brush steppe closely and at a leisurely pace.

As in humans, the reward if often greatest when one takes time to cultivate and know the understated.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Upland larkspur lends its delicate beauty to spring in Washington

Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dandelions as art

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Norway Spruce cones

(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Granite Gilia brightens May's fields in Lincoln County Washington

Granite Gilia (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

This spring's wildflowers are a full month later blooming than last year's in Eastern Washington. I wrote of seeing Granite Gilia on April 4, 2010. Today--May 4, 2011--I saw it in abundance for the first time this year, due to the unusually severe and prolonged winter now ending.

In its own quiet and unobtrusive way, this year's Granite Gilia gladdens the heart of all who yearn for a cessation of winter's siege.

No, at best, it's never a good place nor a good year for the roses in Eastern Washington.

But we'll take any roses we can get on the windswept Columbia Plateau and be grateful.

There is always an object lesson in nature that we humans would do well to imbibe.

The timid and unspectacular Granite Gilia plant does not whine, "why wasn't I born an azalea bush in Mobile's Bellingrath Gardens?" Rather, she accepts gracefully her role as a hardscrabble little plant growing in rocky volcanic soil on the windswept Columbia Plateau of Eastern Washington. She brightens the landscape for a few weeks, upon receiving her cue, and then retreats back into the soil to await another, perhaps more propitious, spring. No grumbling about her lot or her role in the grander scheme.

I would that we were all as wise.

D. Grant Haynes

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Full moon rising over Washington

Persistent cloud banks nibble at the base of the April 17 full moon over Eastern Washington.(Photo by D. Grant Haynes)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

First wild buttercup of spring in Wilbur, Washington--March 19, 2011