Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blooming in Discovery Park

Indian plum is coming into bloom. I don't think it is early, despite the bizarrely warm weather lately. That's the thing about spring around here: it happens over about six months starting at the winter solstice.

From the meadow. I think these are hazelnut catkins.

Oo. Pretty. All orange and brain-shaped.

I think that has to be hardwood bark, so this is witch's butter, or Tremella mesenterica.

northern shovelers, Discovery Park

I like northern shovelers, largely because of their cartoonish, paddle-shaped beaks. (It has 110 projections called lamellae which filter particles out of the water, so perhaps they should be called strainers instead of shovelers.)

Those males are mighty pretty.

And they work hard to stay that way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pileated woodpecker, Discovery Park

Discovery Park was lovely yesterday. The birds are starting to sing, and I heard a Pacific tree frog. (Actually, I've heard tree frogs a lot in Discovery Park this winter. The only time I don't hear one is when there's frost on the ground.)
I also came across this lovely pileated woodpecker dismembering a snag.

This is after a big panel of bark has come out. Watching through my binoculars I could see the woodpecker's amazing tongue in action. But no picture of that this time.

A second woodpecker, another male, flew up to a neighboring tree for a few minutes, then flew away.

Sweet taste of spring

In a corner of the grounds of my daughter's school is a patch of miner's lettuce. Today we noticed the first succulent leaves, which are like butter lettuce, only thicker. My kids love them, and they otherwise avoid anything salad-like.

Here's our friend Jane, foraging for greens.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Indian plum bud burst, Discovery Park

Most Indian Plum buds were furled in tight little cones, but there were a couple of plants that were enticingly further along. Looks like winter might end after all.

Down by the beach, there were the first pussy willows.