Wednesday/ here’s April

The little bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ that I have in a pot, has produced its first flowers.

Bergenias have leathery, shiny, rounded leaves that get a bronze tinge in winter time. The little flowers are bell-shaped.

Friday/ tulips and the Dutch Golden Age

Tulips were coveted in the late 1500s in Europe, for their saturated, intense petal color — that no other cultivated plant had at the time.

At the height of Tulip Mania in the Dutch Golden Age (February of 1637),  tulip bulbs sold for some 10,000 guilders: enough money to buy a mansion on the Amsterdam Grand Canal.
The market for tulip bulbs collapsed soon after that.

There is no Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley north of Seattle this year, but a few can be seen here & there in gardens in my neighborhood. I found this beauty a block down from my house.

Sunday/ spring colors

I went hunting for spring flowers and blossoms this afternoon, just up to five or six blocks around my house.
All I know is that the gorgeous pink one is a camellia, and the bright yellow one, a dandelion weed flower.

Sunday/ the daffodils are out

I found these daffodils in Volunteer Park today.

Daffodils (genus: Narcissus) are among the oldest flowers cultivated by humans. (Photo taken with my iPhone Xs in Portrait Mode, to get the depth-of-field effect, with the background blurred).

Friday/ signs of spring

These little crocus flowers are harbingers of spring, now around the corner here in the North.

Crocus is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family of some 90 species. They grow out in early spring from corms: short, vertical, swollen underground plant stems, somewhat similar to bulbs.

Sunday/ baby black bears

Distribution map for black bears in North America. [Source: bear.org].
Below is a cute picture of two abandoned bear cubs found on Dept. of Natural Resources-managed land.

The tweet does not give the location where they were found, and it could have been anywhere except in central Washington State.

Friday/ proteas for Valentine’s Day

Nice to see South African proteas* here in my local Safeway (grocery store).
These may have been offered specially for Valentine’s Day.

*Pronounce ‘pro-tee-ah’.

Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a whole genus of South African flowering plants. 92% of the species are native only to the Cape Floristic Region, a narrow belt of mountainous coastal land from Clanwilliam to Grahamstown, South Africa. Nowadays, proteas are cultivated in some 20 countries, but it is time-consuming, and proteas need a Mediterranean or subtropical climate. [Information from Wikipedia].

Thursday/ more rain

It has been raining almost non-stop this week, but at least it was warm enough today to go for a walk with a raincoat & hoodie or an umbrella (50 °F/ 10 °C).

This street corner is closed with a big ‘Detour’ sign (workers  are fixing up the pavement). The ‘Republican St’ street sign is in the dirt. ‘Yes, an apt metaphor for the Republican Party’, I thought: in the dirt, taking a detour around democracy & decency.
Here’s a little dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), a small grayish American sparrow. It’s hoping to find a little bit plant seed in the flower box, I’m sure.

Monday/ Anna’s hummingbird

A hummingbird visited my backyard today, attracted by my cold-hardy mahonia’s bright yellow flowers.
(There was a little more snow on the ground on Monday morning, but not enough to make too much trouble on the city’s streets).

An Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna), sitting in the light snow on a tree branch in my backyard. These are medium-sized hummingbirds, native to the west coast of North America. The bird was named after Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli (from France) in 1829.
I hope the hummingbird found a little nectar in the mahonia flowers. Those amazing little ‘motorized’ wings are powered by special muscle fibers — called fast glycolytic fibers —that respond rapidly to nerve impulses, and are fatigue-resistant.

Friday/ unpacking my bags

My bags are unpacked.
As usual,  I dug out several items between the layers of clothes in my suitcases that I had ‘acquired’ during my visit to Tokyo and Perth.

I admit I may have gone a little overboard this time with my animal figures, but they are all great additions to my collection. Clockwise from top left: Giant Sable Antelope, Black Wildebeest, Eland, Three-toed Sloth, American Bison, Bald Eagle, Raccoon, baby Polar Bear, Scarlet Macaw.
And I added three small cones (aluminum, brass, copper), and three spheres to complete my collection of geometric shapes. These are from the Tokyo Hands craft store.

Wednesday/ sharpening its beak

Alright .. one more picture of the pink and gray cockatoo called the galah.
This one was in an eucalyptus by the tennis courts here in Bull Creek.
It is steadying itself, while sharpening its beak on the hard bark of the tree trunk.

Sunday/ a beautiful eucalypt

This beautiful eucalyptus tree is by the tennis courts here in Bull Creek.
I am still trying to identify the specific name of it. The term ‘eucalypt’ includes some 900 species in the three genera Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora.
And where is its bark?

In almost all types of eucalyptus, the bark dies every year. It comes off in flakes, curls or long strips. This might be the tree’s way of shedding harmful mosses, lichens, fungi and parasites that live on the bark.

An eucalyptus tree with very little bark on its trunk and limbs. A strip of brown bark is visible on the left, from the back of the tree, but not much else.

Thursday/ another honeyeater

Here is the New Holland honeyeater.
They are found throughout southern Australia.
I found a picture of one on the wall at the Stockland shopping center, and the real McCoy in the Ron Carroll Reserve green space.

The New Holland honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) was one of the first birds from Australia to be scientifically described. large They have a large yellow wing patch, and smaller white earpatches and whiskers.
Large mural artwork of a New Holland honeyeater at the Stockland shopping mall.

Christmas Eve

The ‘boab’ Christmas tree at Perth airport. Boab (Adansonia gregoriiare) are found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and east into the Northern Territory.