Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Morning Walk

Bullock's Oriole - male

This morning I went for a walk in one of my favorite habitat areas, Chief Timothy HMU. It is a long narrow strip of land that runs west of Clarkston, WA. between Highway 12 and the Snake River. It's not a large area, just under one acre, but has three access areas and each offers slightly different habitat. This morning I decided to walk the eastern end of the area. I haven't been to this area of the habitat for awhile usually avoiding it all together this time of year because it is often occupied by lots of ticks. However, I was bored with my other walking areas so I decided to be brave and give it a try. I'm so glad I did!! It was like walking in a whole new place! There were so many interesting birds flitting about like this beautiful Bullock's Oriole who was kind enough to pose so nicely for a photograph. I also saw eastern kingbirds, lesser goldfinch, caspian terns, American kestral, cedar waxwings and an illusive yellow breasted chat flew right across in front of me and peered at me from the middle of a willow thicket.

What most impressed me this morning was the diversity of plant life. I was amazed at all the many shapes, sizes and colors that I had not noticed there in past years.
I'm going to venture a guess as to the reasons for this. A few years ago a fire burned through the area. As devastating as fires can be some plants need this in order to release seeds or for seeds to germinate. Then we've had a much cooler, wetter spring than normal and I believe the combination of the two has contributed to the amount of growth I observed today.

I thought the teasel was especially striking and almost other worldly looking. The flower head was just forming and was a lovely green color, almost delicate looking in spite of the formidable spikes that surround it. Right now all of it is still pliable. In a few more weeks this flower will turn a beautiful shade of lavender before eventually drying out completely in the fall and becoming very prickly to the touch.

All in all it was a wonderful walk and I came home inspired and amazed yet again at God's creativity! I hope wherever you are today you can get out and be amazed, too, at the unbelievable world we live in!