Brad's Blog
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 June 2, 2019
Today the bunchberries were blooming in profusion at Priest Lake.  Due to the many microclimates of our mountainous area, we don't have bunchberries around Spirit Lake, just like we didn't have a gullywasher rain yesterday like they did at Priest Lake, which keeps their woods more wet than ours...  I did take some photos of the bunch berries, which don't have edible berries, but are pretty, small members of the dogwood family...  Unfortunately I'd bumped the knob on my camera to illustration mode so it looks a bit like an illustration:


One week later I discovered a small patch of bunchberries in moist woods by the Mill Pond...  Just shows I should never make definitive statements...

June 4
496–9967
Honeysuckle grows as a vine through the underbrush, and usually blooms in small clumps.  I walked along the logging road M41 yesterday and saw the biggest clump of honeysuckle I've ever seen.  Our kids liked to pick them and suck nectar as they walked down to swim...


Too often when birding the best look you get is something like this...   It might be a black headed grosbeak or a spotted towhee...



A few late spring flowers are blooming now.  Mariposa lilies are such, blooming shortly before the ground goes dry...




Speaking of ground going dry, last week we had smoke from fires in northern Alberta, when the wind blew from the east.  Lately it switched to the west and was clear for a day, and now smoky again, apparently from another fire...  Sometimes I feel like Congress fiddles while the world burns...

June 7
Cool weather prevails again, but without much in the way of rain accompanying it...

This is a mystery bird from a walk the other evening along the ridge.  The lighting wasn't too good, and it was pretty high up in a pine...  The yellow belly was distinctive.  Reminded me of an evening grosbeak, but...


We've been looking for the return of these along the lake road, which has besieged the mountain lady's slipper environment with pipe laying and road repairs....  There were still about a dozen clumps blooming, down from 40 or more before the construction several years ago...


These ferny leafed flowers are yarrow


These I don't recall seeing before, but they're quite profuse.   They have slender grass-like leaves besides the daisy-like flowers..

June 11

This triangle of logs was purposefully created when the Mill Pond was covered with landscaping material to keep it from leaking.  The logs were added, attached together with huge spikes, to create habitat where fish like bass could hide...   Today there were 7 turtles sunning and socializing on the log...



The first time we saw one of these, it was circling over Twin Lakes, and we thought it must be a golden eagle.  But it's actually an immature bald eagle, which was still staying close to one of its parents...



These are the wild roses that are common in our area.    When we lived in central Idaho, there were also some that grew in long sprays with multiple layers...

June 12
On June 10th, Jupiter was in opposition, which mostly means something to astrologers and astronomers.  For astronomers it means it is opposite the earth from the sun and will present as "full" Jupiter like full moon, a whole disc.  Some articles on the internet claimed you could see all its moons with a binoculars, but without a pair that could be mounted to a tripod I could only guess I was seeing some around the bright disk.  So I thought I'd try some photos with my 70-300 mm lens.  Although it was after 10 pm when I was taking the photos, as far north and as close to the solstice as we are, there was still a lot of light in the sky.  I tried various settings like Night Sky and manual, but had best luck with the automatic settings. This is what I saw when looking to the southeast:

the bright "star" under the wires to the left of the tall tree is Jupiter...

When I searched for amateur Jupiter photos to compare with they were all nicer than mine, probably using telescopes or something cool like that...
It does make me want to take a photo in 3 months when it should be a half disk...
This is either Jupiter or an oatmeal cookie..

June 21
Summer starts officially today, but we had a spate of summer weather and it's returned to cool spring for the next week or so, only lacking significant rainfall...
I've been busy lately with music, the historical society (which I've helped move in many heavy display cabinets and other historical stuff for the new museum which may open on the 4th of July), and pottery and garden...  I planted some potatoes in a section of the corn garden that didn't come up (old seed?)

Here's part of the local Canada geese crop for this year, in a tight phalanx...


Mourning cloak butterfly, distinctive wing fringe on a dark butterfly...


Idaho's state flower (wild) syringa...  We have the tame version in our pottery yard--mock orange.    I found out recently that lilacs are in the syringa family as well...

 June 24



We saw one of these beetles under some pine bark on a walk the other evening.  As soon as I saw it I thought "click beetle," so I've apparently seen one before.  The eye spots probably scare off some predators, as happens on some caterpillars as well.   As I googled "click beetle" to verify my suspicion of its identity (it snaps its head segment in a way that pried it loose from my fingers)  I learned they feed on pine borers both as larvae and adults, so that puts them on the good guy category, which we need as many local pines are dying recently from insects or disease...



On a walk out on the logging roads today I saw this flower which stood out from the many familiar ones, which means I don't know its name...


The same is true of this bird, which is almost certainly a warbler, and I'd guess female Townsends but will probably hear from more talented relatives..


  This was the view looking east along Spirit Lake today.  From the high vantage point most cabins and other human activities (other than clearcuts) are not noticeable...



In one section the paintbursh was blooming, and this was all from one stem...

June 26
At this time in the summer these flowers bloom in the moist woods, and their name is easy to remember since they always bloom in pairs:

Twin flowers....

June 29
On our walk the other day Butters and I startled a hen turkey and her brood.   The hen watched nervously from a pine as we walked by.

 

books read
Skin Game by Jim Butcher.  I've really enjoyed this urban fantasy series.  This got a little complicated for the old brain to follow, but I do understand the heist story involving Hades...

Look Alive Twenty Five by Janet Evanovich.   Another variation on the eternal theme, with a touch of Spooky Plum thrown in for obfuscation...

Spade and Archer by Joe Gores.  This is a reread of a wonderful job of recapturing the world of the Maltese Falcon with a stunning prequel...

Mycroft and Sherlock by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karen Waterhouse.   Enjoyable extension of the Holmes' careers to their early days...
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