Thursday, July 30, 2009

Escaping the Heat

I took a few trips this week to escape the oppressive heat of Portland (107 degrees on Tuesday) and our apartment that will not cool down.

Over the weekend, it was at least twenty degrees cooler on the coast. Sarah, her grandfather Fred, Andie the Dog, and I surveyed dead seabirds on the beach north of Sand Lake.

We found the first Common Murre fledgling of the season. Although this chick did not live very long, his presence is a positive indication that seabirds are successfully nesting this summer.

On Tuesday, Fred, his son Rich, and I drove north to Seattle to catch a pair of Mariners baseball games.

Though it was a few degrees cooler than in Portland, Wednesday's game was the warmest in Mariners history.

Luckily, our seats remained shaded until the 8th inning.

Above, the Mariners take the field. The one in catcher's gear is Rob Johnson, a fellow Butte Central High graduate.

After Tuesday night's game, I found a ghostly Glaucous-winged gull perched on the stadium.

I could not have asked for two better games to watch. Tuesday's game was won on a walk-off RBI by Ichiro Suzuki and Ken Griffey Junior hit a game-winning RBI on Wednesday.

Also, I was lucky enough to grab a foul ball hit into our section by Marco Scutaro of the Blue Jays. Now that I have returned to the sauna that is our apartment, it is time to get back to work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Squash Blossoms and Green Tomatoes

After a full week of sun, the plants in our borrowed garden space are flourishing.

We have bright yellow blossoms on summer and winter squash vines. When I look into the flowers, I often see two three or types of bees loading up on pollen.

This squash flower has a tiny blue hubbard fruit attached.

We also have dozens of green tomatoes that are rapidly growing.

And sungolds that are starting to ripen. I can hardly wait for the cooler temperatures and red tomatoes of the fall.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mid-summer Beaches and Bays

This weekend we took a trip to Newport, on the central Oregon coast to check in on its birds, bays, and beaches.

Thousands of Common Murres were nesting on offshore rocks. I did not get any pictures of these raucous colonies, but I did photograph a murre floating among the fishing boats in Yaquina Bay.

The bay was also full of jellies. Silver dollar-sized penicillate jellies twitched alongside the docks.

Under the glare, we also saw many purple jellies, about the size of bowling balls.

To get a better view of the bay and it's birds, we climbed to the second floor of the Rogue Brewery and ordered a few beers.

On Sunday, we surveyed beached birds at Bob Straub. for the first time, we found dead cormorants in breeding plumage. The white patches on the rump of the bird above indicate that it is a Pelagic Cormorant.

The Brandt's Cormorant above was quite rotten, but could be identified by the white plumes on its cheek.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Insects

Each year, it seems that the later we get into summer, the more insects we find in the field and at the apartment. Here are a few examples.

A mayfly (Ephemeroptera) on the apartment exterior.

A damselfly (Odonata) on our window screen at sunset.

A geometrid moth clinging into the exterior.

A common whitetail (Odonata) at Killin Wetlands. Too cold to fly on a cloudy morning.