Tag Archives: birdwatching

That moment of epic earcamness

So this happened today….


Ten feet away. We rode by him (from the size, I’d say it’s a male) twice. On approach, Mocha was all ears.


I had one thumb bare and my phone in my pocket, so I was juggling snaffle reins, doing everything on a touch screen with only a thumb, dealing with a Very Alert Horse who was suspicious of the eagle…and sidepassed by him the first time. I was sure he was going to take off but we never got closer than ten feet and he showed no real inclination to go. Just as well by me as a certain little mare was on her toes and ready to go.

After four trot lengths along the back fence, she was somewhat quieter but still energetic, and wasn’t at all thrilled about stopping. But we got within ten feet and I got that first pic–which was the last one I took. Then we headed back to the barnyard to beat the snow shower blowing in.

I don’t think I can top that earcam.

Comments Off on That moment of epic earcamness

Filed under Horse life

A productive day in writer life

So today was a trip to Clatskanie to help friend clear out his spring household water system (best done in the driest portion of the year, before the fall rains start). While DH and Friend tackled the spring, I opted out of the outdoor work. Didn’t want to dance with the potential for bees/wasps/hornets/other things that sting and I had writing and editing work to do. Besides, bushwhacking uphill through recently (as in four years past) logged brushland isn’t in my skill set. Former Logger Boyz waving chain saws are better suited for that game.

While the Boyz waved chain saws and other adventures (including relocating salamanders and patching the cistern) I stayed back and cooked dinner for starving Elder Boyz. A cruise through Safeway yielded a decent package of pork stew chunks from the rotten meat section (pull date NOW), frozen veggies, Ragu sauce, potatoes and tiny sweet peppers for snacks. After whipping up an impromptu stew to simmer in the oven, I finished off the first pass through a fun MS for edits, then jotted down notes for Netwalk’s Children. Hugely productive progress on that work today…to be continued tomorrow.

Additionally, I did a little hauling/stacking of firewood (the goal of tomorrow’s Clatskanie trip), nibbled on blackberries and raspberries, slipped out to the barn to observe the adult barn owl roosting in the rafters, and got some cool pix of a Pileated Woodpecker. Plus wrote.

Dang, I could definitely live like this.

So hey. Editor available. Reasonable rates. Want to figure out complex plot twists? Let’s chat.

Writer grrrl needs to support her chosen lifestyle without resorting to substitute teaching.

(And hey. I’m drooling at the possibility of sharing the Seeking Shelter cover. OMG, the last time I saw a cover this nice and right on was for Alma Alexander’s River anthology. It’s just that cool. Sweet!)

Comments Off on A productive day in writer life

Filed under writer life

First day of summer

Typical Portland June summer morning started with overcast sky, followed by sun eventually as the clouds burned off. I’ve been pushing pretty hard on the conditioning and am now feeling somewhat sore and tired–too early to see much in the way of results weight-wise, but definitely starting to feel a difference in how I move and how the body holds itself.

Not so good news on the job front–got a call from the last interview place that the position had been put on hold, so no job there. Then got a letter from another place that I hadn’t been picked for an interview. Sigh. Figures. Still, I got some writing words in today–just some tweaking of the next Netwalk: Foundations posting, nothing big, but OTOH, I needed a break today.

So I picked up and went to the barn to ride my bad mood away. Fourth ride this week, and Miss Mocha chuckled at me when I came in the door. She’d managed to give herself an owie, probably playing with her grain bucket. Or something. Near as we can figure, she must have been the one that put her big salt block in the grain bucket–apparently she’s been playing with her bucket and knocking it off of the wall, and before G threw the salt block into her hay feeder, she’d been countering all efforts to put it to the side and had planted it in the middle of her stall. It’s a 50 lb salt block and she likes to roll it around her stall. It’s not too far of a stretch to imagine her somehow getting the block into the bucket, then rolling block and bucket around the stall. Silly horse. Smart horse.

Unlike some horses, Miss M doesn’t exactly cater to my moods. If she’s in a witchy mood herself, well, the fireworks can be entertaining. Not bucking but just a bit of “Oh? You want sensitive? I’LL SHOW YOU SENSITIVE!” and then responding to every weight shift. But if I’m in a down mood, there’s no guarantee that she’ll be cooperative. Sometimes she is, sometimes she isn’t. Today, she was, and we had a nice schooling. At one point when doing counter-canter figure 8s, she missed a cue and swapped to be on the lead, but she swapped back readily and I made sure my seatbone was better weighted the next go-round and she held it.

In any case, nice schooling, and then I came home to Do Stuff. Showered after a late lunch, and was combing my hair outside on the back deck, when the neighbor kicked up the bird who’s been making a very odd chirping call around the neighborhood for the past couple of months. I’d been thinking it might have been some variety of parrot, but what I saw fly up in the tree looked like a dove. She called over to ask me what it was, and we couldn’t see it. Then I thought I saw it fly down into the dusty area their hens had scratched up next to their house, so I went to check it out.

This is what I saw:






Juvenile female ruffed grouse. I didn’t ID her right away because, of course, bird books don’t have juvenile female pix. But I had to wonder as she was pretty tame, as long as I spoke to her in a calm voice, though the call threw me off. I’m used to adult ruffies scolding me as I scramble around the brush trying to shoot them, not juvenile flocking calls. Still, I’ve been able to kick up a ruffie in the brush while carrying my rifle on a short stalk looking for deer, gone back to the rig, grabbed the shotgun, and found the same ruffie on the same log squawking at my invasion of his space. Boom. I had to wonder–was she a domesticated chick or a ruffie? The quail I see around the barn are much more skittish, as are blue grouse. Ruffies, though…they’re fools. Fortunately, they also reproduce pretty readily.

Anyway, when DH got home, we went back to look, and found the male on our side of the fence. Recognized his little crest for certain, positive ID as ruffed grouse, from size and plumage, both were half-grown juveniles. I was still hearing their occasional calls until about half an hour ago, along with other, adult grouse talk. Still not sure if they’re escapees (it is possible to buy ruffie chicks) or else migrated over from the Springwater Corridor. I know I’ve occasionally seen Chinese ring-necked pheasants in this neighborhood (nothing wakes you up quite like looking the window and going “Huh? WhAAAAT? Pheasant? HERE?”), but it’s really interesting now to see ruffies.

After taking grouse pix, I staked the Blue Lake beans, as they’re now trying to climb sunflowers, weeds, the lawn….brought out the old cross-country skis that you can’t get boots for any more and set them up. The nasturtiums are exploding, we have more Gravensteins than I thought we did, and one blueberry bush is loaded. One tomato has set on and the others are blooming.

Guess it’s summer. And this summer, I plan to ride, and write, and study.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Comments Off on First day of summer

Filed under personal life stuff

A quick post before work…birdies!

The fall songbird migration has begun, probably due to the dryness around here.  I’ve been getting some interesting birdies at the feeder, especially since I put out a small pan of water.  That’s been a source of endless entertainment.  The smaller the bird, the bigger the splash they seem to make.

It’s endlessly cute to watch the approach.  I use the bottom tray from a planter for water, and dump/refill it daily.  I also put it up on a deck bench.  The birds land either on the bench or a nearby mullein stalk, then perch on the edge to drink carefully.  Then they look around and cautiously hop in.  The smallest goldfinches barely can see over the rim.  They peer around, splash, peer around again, then hop out and shake off.

Those little finch and sparrow birdies?  They spread water in 3-4 foot arcs.  Not that they waste it–often they’ll sip from the splash puddles before going to the main dish.

But so far this morning I’ve seen goldfinches, house finches, yellow and white-crowned sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers, black and grey warblers, and black-capped chickadees.  The finches and the chickadees are regulars, the rest are travelers.

The other day a couple of crows daintily sipped from the tray.

Such a small thing, my bird feeders and waters.  But it provides me and the birds much happiness.  Besides the mixed seed and nyger feeders (I don’t run suet until the rains set it), I have a not-very-used hummingbird feeder and sunflowers that the birds can work.  Plus all the mullein stalks.

And now a scrub jay is drinking.  But I must go.

Comments Off on A quick post before work…birdies!

Filed under blather, Wildlife

Poor little birdies

Snow again this morning, and things look like this:







When I went out to the Nyger seed feeder, a female House Finch and a female Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler piteously stayed hunkered down on the seed tray as I approached.  The finch flew off as soon as I reached up to take the feeder down, but the warbler, her feathers all ruffled up, wouldn’t move.  So I took the other mixed seed feeder down, giving her time to fly off, but she wouldn’t go.  She clung to the feeder even as I took it down, and it took me gently trying to persuade her to hop onto my finger to get her to fly off.

I’m not sure if she’s sick or if she’s just at the borderline.  She hasn’t come back to the feeder.  She seemed to be a young bird as well, so that may be a factor.

It’s snowing intermittently right now.  Looks like Addie-the-car will get her first icy commute trial today.   Definitely a more sensitive car than her predecessor, as I discovered on the icy, hail-strewn drive home yesterday.  Wish I had the snow tires on her but that will happen later in the week.

Meanwhile, I’m glad I’ve had the feeder up for the little twitterbirds.  Seed and suet both.  Hope the little one makes it, but I know the odds for a little one in migration phase (the Yellow-rumped Warblers don’t live down here, this is the typical migration time for these birdies) can be a challenge.

Comments Off on Poor little birdies

Filed under Wildlife