Under her wing

Upon first glance there was something a bit odd, a bit unusual about this female Ruffed Grouse. She just seemed a bit bigger, a bit puffed out compared to other females we have seen. It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on as you can only keep a clutch of fidgety Ruffed Grouse chicks still and under wraps for so long.

At first these little guys were just peeking out from under Mom’s wing a little cautious but ever so curious.

Yet within a minute or two they began to emerge from under cover.

Then in the blink of an eye they were darting out and into the tall grasses in search of a meal and quickly disappearing from sight.

We counted six little grouse emerge from under mom’s wings that morning. Each darting off into the cover of the grasses and the whole gang disappearing just as quick as they appeared.

Parting ways

Late summer is always a bit of a down time for birders living in the more northern reaches. A time when the forest goes eerily silent and a feeling of loss seems to enter your heart. Thus it was a wonderful surprise to see this Warbling Vireo hop into plain sight a few days ago. While they look a bit low keyed they are prolific singers who had graced our forests with their songs most of June and early July. Then silence.

Wings of August

With wings tattered and torn a Fritillary takes a sip of nectar on the coneflowers. Those tattered wings sure feel like a metaphor for the month that has passed.

We don’t know about you but we are looking forward to autumn this year.

Orobanche uniflora

Broomrape_1

I can’t say it better than it is stated in this NY Times article “There’s simply no way to talk about the beauty of Orobanche uniflora without raising a lot of eyebrows.”

Commonly called Naked Broomrape or sometimes Flowered Cancer Root this wonderful flower with unflattering common names was a new one to us when we came across it in meadow on a recent hike.

Broomrape_2

It is a short leafless plant unable to photosynthsize thus gaining it’s nutrients by parasitism. Often using sedum, saxifrages and asters as a host plant. Typically growing only up to 3 inches tall we found this cluster buried deep in the grass.

Broomrape_3

It is a beautiful little flower and very unique to say the least.

Broomrape_4

On Buckwheat

A few weeks back the wild Buckwheat plants we in full bloom along a trail we were hiking and they proved irresistible to a wide variety of butterflies seeking a nice sip of nectar on a hot summer afternoon. With both the Sulfur-flowered and Yellow-flowered species both in full bloom there was a buckwheat to meet the tastes of even the most discriminating species. While the Acadain Blue and Juniper Hairstreak we more partial to the Sulfur-flowered buckwheat….

The Fritillaries, Checkerspots and this beautiful Field Crescent favored the Yellow-flowered variety.

A beautiful collection of butterflies all within the span of 50 meters along the trail.

Time With Chip

Spending a little time with Chip. This summer a Chipmunk family seems to have made a home nearby and we were happy to spend some time observing them feeding, playing and just hanging out doing what Chipmunks do.

Play was on the menu this afternoon under the shade of an old Douglas Fir.

After expending all the energy a quick snack of Service Berry was in order. Better save a few for winter.

We all know what follows a big meal. Yes, a little afternoon snooze. Who wouldn’t like that on s sultry summer afternoon.

Have a wonderful and happy weekend.