Here are some more feathered friends, spotted from my apartment’s balcony in the trees nearby.
Here is a mousebird that I spotted in a tree across from my second-floor Airbnb apartment.
Per Wikipedia: Mousebirds are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers. They are arboreal (live in trees) and scurry through the leaves like rodents, in search of berries, fruit and buds. This habit, and their legs, gave rise to the group’s English name. They have strong claws and reversible outer toes (pamprodactyl feet). They also have crests and stubby bills.
The mousebirds are Coliiformes (their order). They could be considered ‘living fossils’, as the 6 species existing today are merely the survivors of a lineage that was massively more diverse in the early Paleogene period (up to 23 million yrs ago) and Miocene period (up to 5 million years ago).
I cannot bear to watch news coverage of the torching of the Amazon rainforest. The Bolsonaro government of Brazil is defiant and doing nothing to stop it.
This is what happens when nationalistic dictators get into positions of power, and there is no one to stop them. Does this even register on the radar screen of the Trump Administration? Bah. Forget about it.
There was a bunch of little bushtits in the camelia in front of my house this morning, and I took a few pictures.
Ai, aster, aster,
vat my hand en druk my vaster,
want my kop voel deurmekaar
as ek na jou skoonheid staar*
*a rough translation: (young man to his girlfriend)
‘hey aster, aster,
take my hand and hold me faster,
for my head is humming,
you are so stunning’.
– from the 1970’s Afrikaans folk song ‘Ai, meisie, meisie’ by Jan de Wet
The aster in front of my house is flowering. Its genus is Kalimeris, from the sunflower family. It was first described in 1825 by the French botanist Alexandre Henri Gabriel de Cassini.
I woke up to a shaking house at 3 a.m. this morning.
The shaking went on for only a few seconds, but I was sure it was an earthquake. It turned out there was a magnitude 3.5 quake, and the one I experienced must have been the 4.6 quake that followed just two minutes later.
The epicenter of the quake is about 26 miles from my house. No real damage or injuries in the Puget Sound area or from elsewhere, were reported.
P.S. The Nisqually earthquake of 2001 near Olympia was several orders of magnitude stronger, at 6.8. It damaged the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the dome of the State Capitol building in Olympia, and Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.
Here’s a beautiful double rainbow, that we saw on Wednesday night from my friends’ house in the Mt Baker neighborhood.
P.S. Yes, it’s not your imagination, there really is a second one above the first!
Here’s a ten-lined June beetle (sometimes called the watermelon beetle), that had landed on my porch.
They don’t bite, but they hiss and squeal when handled, I read online. (Handled? Who does that with a scary-looking bug? I flicked it off the porch with a piece of paper).
Here’s the woodpecker (northern flicker/ Colaptes auratus), that I see now and again by my house, searching for ants and bugs in the paving, and in the tree. This one is a male, with its bright red cheek.
They eat fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts, but their primary food is insects. Ants alone can make up 45% of their diet. [Source: Wikipedia].
My hydrangea’s flowers are starting to appear. In South Africa we call them krismisrose (‘Christmas roses’) in Afrikaans.
Happy Canada Day!
Here’s a Canadian lynx being a ‘cool cat’, to celebrate.
I am still scanning old pictures from my shoebox to add to my online photo albums.
This picture of a Nile monitor (Afr. ‘Waterlikkewaan‘) was taken in the early 1990’s close to my grandfather’s guest lodge in Botswana’s Tuli Block district.
I knew the spot in the rocky outcrop where the monster had been hiding, and had to wait patiently for it to make an appearance.
It’s the official start of summer here in the North today.
We have had mild temperatures (68°F/ 20°C) and not much rain in June, tracking at about 50% of the month’s average.
Sunset tonight was at its latest for the year, at 9.11 pm here in Seattle.
Whoah .. is this a giant weed? It looks like one, I thought, as I walked by it tonight.
I looked it up and it’s the great mullein or common mullein. Mullein itself derives from the French word for soft, and yes, it’s a weed – kind of.
Here is a Steller’s jay that sat for a few minutes on the fence here at my house.
My camera’s 200 mm-equivalent zoom lens is not quite up to the task to get a tack sharp picture, but that’s OK. I’m not ready to splurge on a 500mm lens just yet.
I found this wabbit* right here on 17th Avenue on Capitol Hill tonight. He was not too skittish. In fact, he rolled around for a bit in the flower bed dirt after he had spotted me.
*It’s an eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus).
I see on the message boards that long-time residents think there is a bit of a rabbit invasion going on – an influx into Capitol Hill from other large green spaces such as the one around Husky Stadium.
Says one commenter: ‘Rabbits are a pest and an invasive species’. I think that is correct; they are prolific breeders.
‘People are an invasive species’ retorted another. I think that is a true statement as well.
Here’s a cute picture (taken in the late 1950s) of three black bears ‘having breakfast’ at Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, Canada.
The black bear is the North American continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species.
Here are my bird and bug pictures of the weekend, with pictures of Mr Squirrel as well.
There was a whole bed of black sand dollars on the beach late Sunday afternoon.