Wild Lilac

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Wild lilac (Ceanothus integerrimus) resembles the domestic lilac, but is not related. This deciduous or semi-deciduous shrub is most abundant in rocky, well-drained soil in the ponderosa pine belt. Because of its abundance, high palatability and wide distribution, wild lilac … Continue reading

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Slender Clarkia

This gallery contains 4 photos.

  Slender clarkia (Clarkia gracilis) grows in open, grassy areas. This native member of the evening primrose family has pink to lavender flowers, sepals which are fused at the tips and swept back to one side of the four petals, … Continue reading

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American White Pelican

Three Pelicans

Three Pelicans

I certainly misinterpreted something I saw at Baum Lake. Throughout the spring I have been watching the pelicans at the lake in the hope of seeing some chicks or nesting adults. When I saw these pelicans with their dark grey heads I assumed that they were juveniles  moulting out. I was disappointed to not see the chicks, but happy to see juveniles. Well. . . after laying eggs and while they are caring for chicks, the adults undergo a supplemental moult resulting in grey on the crown and nape. The juveniles also have grey on the head, but also on the coverts. In addition, the adults have orange legs and bills while on the juveniles those are yellow. These pelicans are not juveniles but adults with eggs or chicks. The search for American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythorhynchos) chicks or juveniles continues.

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Pacific Dogwood

Pacific Dogwood

Pacific Dogwood

A beautiful sight in early spring is the Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttalli) growing as an understory in partially shaded locations in its natural forest environment. The tiny greenish, white flowers are found in dense, rounded flowerheads surrounded by large white bracts, not “petals” as is commonly thought. Also called western, mountain or California dogwood, this Pacific dogwood was photographed along the Klamath River about ten miles west of I-5 in California.

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Female Common Merganser

Female Common Merganser

Female Common Merganser

Juvenile and female common mergansers (Mergus merganser) have grey bodies, white chests and cinnamon heads. Since I cannot distinguish any dark green feathers, which begin to appear during the first winter, on the head or white chin, this bird appears to be a female. The common merganser’s diet consists primarily of fish. The merganser in the picture was industriously “fishing” on Hat Creek below the first hydro plant (Shasta County CA).

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Serviceberry

Serviceberry

Serviceberry

A native shrub or small tree found throughout the western States and most of Canada, serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) is a member of the Rose Family with five white petals. The serviceberry flowers appear in the early spring as the snow melts and the ground thaws out. It is at this time of year, in times past, that burials and funeral services could again begin to occur, hence the common name. Shadbush, another colloquial name, refers to the fact that this shrub bloomed at the time of the shad runs. The purplish fruits are enjoyed by birds and other wildlife throughout the summer. This serviceberry bush was photographed along the Klamath River in Siskiyou County CA.

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Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Perched juvenile hawks, at least for me, can be difficult to distinguish. I often use the underwing pattern of a bird in flight to help with identification. However, often the hawk does not fly off, and I will not disturb it to get a photograph. Often I puzzle over whether the young bird is a “Sharpie”, “Cooper’s”, red-tailed or Swainson’s hawk. The whitish tail (adults have the characteristic red tail) with many thin, dark bands suggests that this bird is a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), sitting on the cottonwoods next to our house (Lookout CA).

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