Brad's Blog
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July 2
The new camera doubles as a binocular, as I can see as well in the eyepiece as I would in a monocular, so I can identify birds (assuming I can identify them even with good views)
So here are some from the last couple days, in our neighborhood:

female finch


baby western bluebird


female purple finch


mallards on the mill pond, the little ones scurrying across the lily pads.
Those are my best guesses...

July 4
Our 4th observance was all in the parade and park, promoting our historical society through music and kids playing music on a flatbed trailer in the parade.  They and I donated the tips to the museum/historical society.  Spirit Lake was one of two places in the county to have a parade, since Covid fears are rising rapidly with the spread.  We'll know in a couple of weeks if this was a bad call, but the feeling was good among the people. Yesterday was a bit of a mess since there was a 40 acre wildfire caused by slash burning about 7 miles away at the end of the lake, and the lake was temporarily closed as fire planes and helicopters dipped into the lake to refill water for dumping on the blaze.  Everyone was surprised by the early fire since we'd just had an inch or more of rain in the last few days...
This evening I heard a rumbling in the sky and caught this formation of prop planes flying over, which may have been part of the air crew involved in the fire fighting:

July Fools!.  I saw this goldeneye family sleeping with the mother "sleeping with one eye open"  Here's the other formation:

 
July 9


Although the new camera is billed as a birding camera, I figured it's also a 60X telescope, so I took a picture of Jupiter with 4 of its moons showing....


These are two different catbirds.



Our feeder is attracting lots of visitors, including purple finches and pine siskins.


California quail.

July 10
This is obviously a big birding month due to the new camera.  I finally got a photo of some wrens living in a house I built a few year back that never had users.  I figured they were house wrens, which I didn't know we had in this area, and the photo confirms it:


July 12
The birdy month continues:

3 new chicks, hopefully layer hens.


The cherries are getting ripe, so the crows are helping pick them...

July 14
More photos:

It's hard to catch humming birds at flowers.  This one rested after trying a few, so I got the photo below


I think it's a female calliope hummingbird.


This time of year the hills are full of this white flower, called ocean spray when it's by the ocean, and mountain spray in the mountains.  When we moved here a local called it smokebush, since it turns a light brown color when the flowers die back...

July 15
We went up Brickle Creek today which has one classic set of small falls, and saw one bird.




Western Tanager...

July 18
After supper (first green beans and peas from our garden) I stepped out on the back porch to eat a bowl of ice cream.  I saw this so I took a picture of it:

The air was thick with little insects.  I'd seen pictures of stuff like that on the tundra of Alaska, but...
When I zoomed back out and took the big picture:

the little bugs were out about 100 yards and there wasn't an insect near...  Peace and ice cream.  All a matter of perspective....  (The bugs were out farther between the branch in the middle of the photo)
Then a nuthatch flew on to the tree to the right side and eyed Butters and me.  Decided we were okay, so took a drink at the bird bath visible at the middle bottom of the photo,  I didn't need my 60X zoom to get this photo 5 feet from me:


July 20
After church we went for a hike to Two Mouth Creek which empties into Priest Lake in two locations (hence its name).  I had some battery troubles with my new camera so in spite of a beautiful creek that would have drawn hundreds of photos, I used my cell phone to snap several:


Most of it looks like this, water tumbling through boulders...



This is where an upper fork joined the creek with a bit of waterfall...  There was a natural bench from a fallen tree to sit and enjoy it...


Today I was back with the camera in action, and loved the sky above us...

July 21
This has been a great month for birding photos:

Here's a male black headed grosbeak at our feeder...


This is a mama mallard with 9 little guys who wasn't bothered by us going in to swim about 15 feet from this rock out in Lake Pend O'Reille at Farragut Park today.  We went there to cool off in the water, and because our area is getting enough Covid that we decided to get our groceries delivered to our car today at a nearby Super 1 grocery...  There were probably  100 people with in a half mile, but none within 50 feet where we went in the water.  Masks in public are rapidly becoming more common, although local reactionaries are protesting possible mask requirements (the retail industry is embracing their own mask policies due to failure of government oversight).  This was the bigger view past the ducks:



July 25
We took an overnight camping trip to the north edge of Idaho (about 90 miles from here) to see a couple waterfalls.

This is Copper Falls, a couple miles short of the Canadian border.  It is about 250 feet tall.  My son Birrion specializes in waterfalls, and said this was a hard one, since it was partly in sunshine and partly in shadow.  It was a lot of fun, and we had it to ourselves for the whole time we were there, around a half hour...



After finding a lovely spot to camp, then being besieged by mosquitos, the next day we drove up Smith Creek.  I noticed the subtle rainbow shading to this cloud, which also somewhat resembles an elephant with a wispy trunk...

We had come to see Smith Falls, but it's on private land and only glimpsed awkwardly from the road.  Nearby we hiked up Parker Creek, which looked to have a trail along the creek, but in the steep canyon it was a steep trail a hundred feet up above the creek through burned out trees.  It did have nice views of the Kootenai river, which pokes through into the US in several places before joining the Columbia (if I remember correctly).   In the photo below, the falls was in the mountains to the left, which are the Purcell range.  Off to the right are the Cabinet mountains while the Purcell trench (really a basin between the ranges) separated them from us on the edge of the Selkirk range.  The Kootenai river is mostly tamed by dams, and in this area marshes had been drained for farmland...  The little creek which we'd ascended meandered between two levies which had gravel roads atop them, emptying into the Kootenai river.




This was a closer view of the creek, framed artistically by the tree branches.


On this hike we saw mature Indian pipe fungi.  These always remind me of the first illustrated book of natural history I had as a child, which had a painting of these in it, but seemed as exotic as dinosaurs to me in South Dakota...  Since moving here I've seen them, and tiger lilies, only in the northern most part of our state.


On our way out we stopped at a boat launch that had one truck/trailer in it, with a loose heifer standing beside it.  It had two picnic tables, and we had sandwiches at one which projects out over the river.  This is the view of the Selkirks beyond the river, with a derelict boat possibly washed up on the shore at flood time.   We saw no people most of the time up there, which was nice, since our area is getting highly touristed currently...

July 28
We payed a short visit to Hunt Creek Falls by Priest Lake on Sunday.  The falls itself was in a combination of bright sun and shadow (not the best lighting), but this detail looked good:


Books read:

Selected Stories of Philip K Dick These include some that inspired movies (quite different from the short stories, but...)  His stories really take you places...  This was available as a fee Kindle read on Amazon Prime as are most that I'm reading currently.

Across a Billion Years by Robert Silverberg.  Even in 1969, he ought to have known sonar wouldn't work on an asteroid...  The book is a reverse version of Spielberg's AI--archaelogists discover early master alien race a billion years afterwards...
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