Friday, May 15, 2009

Lapland Longspurs

Some of them are still around here. But to set things straight; they are Longspurs not Larkspurs.
According to Mary Whitley, named so for one toe, the hallux, that is much longer than the rest. In the comments, the happy trappers (see link at the bottom)
added some interesting information too. Apparently the males raise the young males and the females raise the young females. Is that correct Bryan/Vikki? That is interesting!

Today Mary came out here to do some birding with me.
I learned so much!! Thanks Mary.
I will try to write down here, while taking you on the tour,what i remember.

First we go to a Mendenhall meadow. (what's new?)
walking through the forest, Mary recognizes most of the birds that we hear.
Coming out onto the meadow, she almost immediately hears the Red-winged Blackbird.
As it doesn't want to show itself, Mary gets herself tangled in the willows, and soon i see it fly off;
A beautiful shiny blackbird flashing its red stripe on its wings.
Later at the end of this tour, we see it sitting in the tree and see the yellow shoulder patch.
We are on our way to the 911-pond, but look at every bird on the way.
We flush a duck of her nest (sorry by accident). Probably a Mallard, she has 1 egg, but will probably lay many more in the nest. One would never find the nest, if you didn't know where it was, under the trees on the ground in the long dry grass.
We chase a nuthatch, but it is to smart for us.
At the pond, we see a few different species of shorebirds.
Lots of Scaups, and all the regulars that i posted a few days ago.
Another new discovery; A Surf Scoter. Just one.
It is blustery cold here, so after half an hour or so, we go back.
And at the pond where we started, we see 2 Swans, different ones than the ones in the 911-pond.

Different, because these have red necks. They are the same species; Trumpeter Swans, and the red, because of the mud they have been digging in.

We have lunch at home and after we climb the hill, because of the Townsend's Solitaires. We don't see or hear them.
I am on my hand and knees again, there is more flowers blooming.
More little yellow roses and they are indeed the Potentilla nivea(snow).
The Northern Jasmine, the tiniest you can imagine. later in the spring they will be larger. And maybe tonight I'll go back for a photo. Because i also want to make a positive identification for a certain Saxifrage, that is almost blooming.

We walk over the hill toward Moose Skull Lake, and there is one duck, only, on the whole, still half frozen lake.
One bird, but Mary is very happy, so that makes me happy, because she says, these go North and are not seen by many people in their summer plumage.
It's a Long-tailed Duck, formerly know as the Oldsquaw.
Maybe i walk by the lake too, tonight :) to get a good photo of him, He was sleeping this afternoon, far out in the middle of the lake.

I did get a nice photo of a Ruffed Grouse, his crop full of food.

Looking at it now, i do wonder if it was a Spruce Grouse????
No, it's not, I say it is a female Ruffed Grouse, positively:)
What were Mary and I saying? When we keep studying, looking into things deeper and deeper, it all becomes simple again....everything made up out of energy...spinning matter in space....I better stop my head's spinning.

One more thing: I have a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, living in my yard! Yippee.

The Happy Trappers


Robert V. Sobczak said...

I am utterly shocked to see no snow! And you in shorts! That's either a sign of global warming gone berserk, or a pretty good indicator that spring is in full tilt. (Of course, living up there, "shorts weather" is probably anything over 50 degrees!).

christopher said...


I love your adventures, love that you so obviously cherish your chance to go to the lakes and forests, gaze on those with whom you share the planet.

I absolutely applaud your decision to let us share with you the Mendenhall neighborhood.