A bull Elk enjoys the suns warming rays as well as an early morning meal to help get the day off to a wonderful start.
Wishing you a great weekend.
A Dusky Grouse keeping quiet while waiting for us to move along as we walked through the cottonwood trees in the creek bed. Seeing these birds move through the dry leaves and into the cottonwood trees with colors so similar to their own just makes a fall day feel…just like fall.
We had not seen a Green Tailed Towhee all summer so it was quite a pleasure to see one of these secretive birds in the distance a week or two ago.
A regular and constant companion on forest hikes is the Clarks’s Nutcracker. This day instead of foraging for pine nuts this nutcracker was busy feasting on crickets on a late fall afternoon. We watched as she swooped down from a tree landed in a field and quickly picked up a cricket. We were quite surprised as it had been quite cold and well below freezing yet there were insects to be found.
Clark’s are fascinating birds that each year bury tens of thousands of pine nuts. They remember the location of a large majority of the seeds which they consume during the winter. The seeds they forget then may become new trees and thus the Clarks it integral to the growth of new forests.
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.
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.
It is a beautiful little flower and very unique to say the least.
A wonderful looking Williamson’s Sapsucker rests in a dimly light forest .
Not a common sighting for us so we sure felt lucky to see him that day and had to sped a little trying to correctly ID this guy.
For more info: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Williamsons_Sapsucker/id