Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Oregon Coast is a perfect place to grow a Japanese Maple Acer Palmarum. It may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground. In habit, it is often shaped like a hemisphere (especially when younger) or takes on a dome-like form, especially when mature.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
False Lily-of-the-valley Maianthemum dilatatum is also known as Solomon's seal. It grows well in moist and shaded places in woods. The genus name, from the Greek maios ("May") and anthemon ("flower"), refers to the time of flowering. Yes, this was shot in May.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Here is a fresh bloom of a Skunk Cabbage Lysichiton americanum. The common name refers to the skunk-like odor of the sap and the fetid odor of the flowers, which draws flies as pollinators. The peppery sap was once used as a treatment for ringworm. The short, fleshy, underground stem is eaten by animals. Baked, it supplemented the winter diets of Native Americans.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Here is a vibrantly colored Crimson Columbine Aquilegia formosa. It was taken just after a rain. The species name, Latin for "beautiful," aptly describes this plant, especially when it bears dozens of lovely, nodding flowers.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Before the Evergreen Huckleberry Vaccinium ovatum produces shiny deep purplish-black ripe berries in the fall they produce flowers and then form these pink/red berries. The berries were used by all Native peoples along the coast, eaten fresh, often with seal oil (yum!), or dried into cakes for winter use. Black bears are especially fond of these berries.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The Arctic Lupin Lupinus arcticus is a bushy herb with tall, hollow stalks covered in long smooth white hairs. The leaves are made up of pointed leaflets that look like fingers of a hand. The arctic lupine is poisonous when eaten, protecting itself from potential predators. In fact, the word “lupine” comes from the Latin word “lupus” meaning wolf because it was believed that these plants destroy the soul!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Smith's Fairybell - LILIACEAE Disporum smithii is shown here. Upright. Stems with widely spreading branches. Roots creeping, in time making loose thicket. Stems, leaves hairless. Leaves dark, shiny green, alternate, clasping stems. Flower clusters of 1–7 hang from underside of stems. Flowers are 1/2 in. long, creamy white, narrow bells flaring only slightly at tip.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
It is time to move on to flora. Here is a fine specimen of a wild iris from the family Iridaceae. There are about 80 genera and 1,500 species. Don't hold me to it but I believe this is a Tough-leaved Iris Iris tenax. The genus name, Greek for "rainbow," refers to the variegated coloration of the flower. In Greek mythology, Iris, a member of Hera's court and goddess of the rainbow, so impressed Hera with her purity that she was commemorated with a flower that blooms in the rainbow colors of her robe.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
The Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata is one of my favorite birds to watch - they are like clowns to me. This beautiful bird achieves its most remarkable coloration during the summer months when breeding adults begin to vie for each other’s attention. The feathers on their faces will turn bright white and they will grow very elegant-looking tufts of yellow feathers behind each eye. Their parrot like bill becomes more vibrant-looking, adding a green bill casque and rosette. Along the Oregon coast, the Tufted Puffin can be found in large breeding colonies usually high on steep rock-face or on isolated islands. Their specific choice of roosting areas makes them almost invulnerable to terrestrial predators. Predatory birds, such as eagles, falcons and owls, can still hunt the puffin from the air. The puffin eats primarily fish and squid, which it can carry in quantity inside its large bill. This one is lying down on the job.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Male and female Common Murres Uria aalge look alike with a distinctive dark, slender bill and a black-and-white color pattern that makes many people mistake them for penguins. In fact, the murre’s range is far removed from that of their antarctic cousins, and they can be found all along the coastlines of the northern hemisphere. The murre population in Oregon is estimated to be 250,000, representing approximately 60% of all seabirds that nest within the state’s boundaries. When feeding, Common Murres form large rafts where they dive from the surface and “fly” underwater in pursuit of small fishes. They can stay submerged for up to sixty seconds and have been known to dive to depths of 400 feet to snap up squid and fish with their sharp bills.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba is a medium-sized auk, the family of birds which also include murres and puffins. These birds can be recognized by their black plumage and a distinctive patch of white feathers that cover the upper wing. They have a thin black bill and dark red legs and feet. During breeding season, the red lining of their mouth and the red color of their feet will intensify. This is clearly shown in this image. Like many seabirds, the Pigeon Guillemot seeks out the protection of the rocky Oregon shore to nest and raise its young. Sometimes they will even nest in human-built structures, such as under docks or piers. They will generally lay two eggs per season and both the male and female will participate in feeding and caring for the young. Most of their food can be found close to the nesting area, including sculpins, cods, capelins and crabs. This one is clearly happy to be munching on this fish.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Here is a Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata. One of the most intriguing things about this small bird may be its name. First, it is not a true auklet, which is a species of plankton-feeding seabirds common to the Pacific coast which includes the Cassin’s Auklet. This bird is actually more closely related to the puffin and feeds on fish and squid instead of plankton. The “rhinoceros” part of its name references the small “horn” that is clearly visible at the base of the beak on breeding adults. This species nests all along the coast of Oregon, digging long burrows in the soil of rocky outcroppings or finding refuge in natural caves. The bird is most active at night, making it one of several nocturnal seabirds, an adaptation which presumably helps it avoid predators. The Rhinoceros Auklet is also notable for one other thing: it is the only known surviving species in its genus Cerorhinca. Related birds were common throughout North America beginning in the mid-Miocene Epoch, or approximately 15 million years ago. Over time, all but the Rhinoceros Auklet have gone extinct. Enjoy this one while he lasts.
Monday, August 1, 2011
There is a wonderful Aviary at Newport that I visited. It was 100 feet in diameter with 7,850 square feet under net. Center pole is 34 feet tall and supports an overhead canopy made of one continuous span of nylon fish net. They had an amazing collection of shore birds. Today's image is of the Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani. They have a large red-orange bill, all-dark body, pinkish legs. They are resident on rocky shores and islands along the Pacific coast. They do not dive for fish, but chisel limpets, crabs and mussels from tidepool rocks and break them open with their beaks. They are more graceful flyers than the relatively heavy-boned, diving seabirds, and are very vocal, using a series of shrill whistles and calls to communicate with each other.