February 2022

Some pics at Stewart Pond
Tuesday 1 February 2022

A blurry Song Sparrow with a cool background...

Song Sparrow standing on a stick

Soaring Turkey Vulture

A Turkey Vulture? That's odd! They migrate outta here for winter... and February First still sounds like winter to me!

Huh. Well, I guess they know what they're doing! :)

Another Nutria...

Nutria in the grass

I'm a person who loves rodents, so of course I think Nutrias are kinda cute. Mostly people around here don't like them. I think they don't like them simply because they are rodents. And the tail. I think if they just had a furry tail, it would help their image. *laughs*

What in the world?!

Great Blue Heron, looking up

I could not see what s/he was looking at. And this was a hard stare, so I assume they are hunting somebody. weird!

Covid Numbers
Wednesday 2 February 2022

Down to 3million new covid cases in the US this week... a total of 3,371,518 averages to 481,645 every day.

2,642 people died every day... slightly more that last week which was 2,506. Hopefully that number will start coming down next week?

Oregon seems to be swirling with new cases, rather than coming down. We had 7,379 new cases every day. 19 people died every day, and Oregon also hit 6000 total covid deaths last thursday.

In my town there are 2,422 active covid cases, 88 are hospitalized. 69.3% of those are unvax'd.

Unknown how many people died here in town... The newspaper reported that a bunch of deaths going back to October were added to the tally. So the numbers say 43 people were added this week, but normally only 3 or 4 actually die in a week.

The song sparrow might be nature's best DJ

Just a cool article about my favorite sparrow! :)

Eastern Fox Squirrel

Red Shouldered Hawk

Todays Pics
Thursday 3 February 2022

Todays clouds

A pair of Mallards hang out behind the tree the Beaver chopped down.

a pair of Mallards and a downed tree

*Laughs* ... Same Heron, same branch!

Great Blue Heron in a fir tree

And a ball of fluff, enjoying the sunshine.

A long-hair Siamese type cat with eyes closed in the sun

Pics at the River
Friday 4 February 2022

A Western Grey Squirrel!! This is one of our native squirrels. While the Eastern Fox Squirrels have taken over all of the urban areas, Western Greys can still be found in the bigger parks!

Western Grey Squirrel on a fence

Oh! The Witch Hazel is blooming.

Orange-Red blooms of Witch Hazel

This is such a beautiful park! The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail runs 7 or 8 miles on both sides of the Willamette River, with several walking bridges going across.

Ruth Bascom Riverbank path, just past the Rose Garden

Alton Baker park is almost 2 miles from where I parked. I'm coming in on the walking bridge from the other side of the river.

Looking down into Alton Baker park from the walking bridge

The yellow ball on the other side of the bridge is the Sun! It's part of a scale model of the solar system... the inner planets are here in Alton Baker, and the outer planets are out along the Riverbank trail. The Sun is 4.5 feet in diameter and Pluto is a tiny dot over 3.5 miles away! The scale is 1:1 billion!

Todays Pics
Saturday 5 February 2022

Easter Fox Squirrel on a tree trunk

A very blurry Townsend Warbler! Such bright feathers, but he was bouncing around too quickly for the camera to keep up.

blurry Townsend Warbler

Oh, cool! A Red Shoulder Hawk!

Red Shoulder Hawk in a tree

Covid Misery
Sunday 6 February 2022

Yep, I've got break-thru covid and it is just terrible.

Saturday night I had a massive headache. I took pills and went to bed. I woke up a couple hours later, I feel weird. Ha. That was the least of it!

Still felt the headache. Horrible body pain, especially my back and right shoulder and arm. Serious nausea. And chills, so I had a fever.

During the day, today: Minor chills continued along with all the pain. I thought I might eat something, in the afternoon... but I just threw it up.

It's just awful. Every part of it.

And yet, I feel lucky. My lungs and sinuses are clear. I'm not coughing or sniffling. But I can imagine how that would have added tremendously to the suffering.

I am fully vax'd with all three shots, and this is just a mild case of omicron covid. I may want to die, but I don't have to go to the hospital. Maybe non-severe is a better word...

Mild COVID Doesn't Mean What You Think It Does

Covid Day 3
Tuesday 8 February 2022

Sunday night continued to be terrible. In the middle of the night, and around hour five of the ibuprofen pills I'd taken, the body pain spiked horribly for about an hour.

That was the worst. The Worst.

Monday, I just felt regular sick. Exhausted, achy, still a bit with the nausea. Plus new symptom: sweating. I'd wake up, just soaked. Yuck. I stayed in bed all day, and was actually able to sleep for part of the day, not just lay there and suffer like I did on Sunday.

Today is Tuesday, and now I'm dealing with diarrhea. It's constant. I am just barely able to keep up with drinking water. But as the day goes on, I get really worried about my poor little microbes. You know, my gut microbiome.

The only fermented food I have is miso, and I will be happy to make up some miso soup. As a backup, I ask amz to bring me some vegan probiotics, a brand that I'm familiar with. I have no idea if I need them, and I have no idea if they'll help. But the pills will be here on friday, and I am fine about leaning on the placebo effect.

I stay in bed most all day, but get some energy in the late afternoon. I'm up and about for a few hours and feel like I'm coming alive again!

Covid Recovery
Thursday 10 February 2022

Still with the headache and the nausea, tho it's better than it was. Mostly it's exhaustion.

I sleep in. Then get up and take a shower. then I have to lie back down for a while. I get up and read some news on the Internets. then I have to take a nap.

I'm a bit more lively in the late afternoon... I can get a bite to eat and maybe write a few postcards. A little more internetting and then I go to bed early.

It's not much of a life, but we'll get there!

Still getting better
Saturday 12 February 2022

Still so tired, but I've got more energy in between naps! This afternoon I went for a very short walk in the neighborhood. The walking sets off the nausea again. bleh.

Great Blue Heron, standing in shadow

I love this pic, below! The Song Sparrow is blurry of course, but the green building in the background is such a wonderful colour, and all the sticks are just perfect! *laughs*

Song Sparrow

Yellow Crocus blooming

I took a shower when I got home and then took a nap. But it was good to get out of the house, even if it killed me!

Heron Naps
Sunday 13 February 2022

Same Heron as yesterday, standing on a different branch today! Naps in the sun.

Great Blue Heron, napping in the sun

American Robin

This was just a very short walk in the neighborhood, again today. Still sleeping in, in the morning, still need a nap in the afternoon, and walking still causes nausea.

The brain fog is terrible. For instance, today I got out of the shower, dried off. Then realized there was still shampoo in my hair. what the hell?! Little stupid things like that, all the time.

Blurry Birds
Monday 14 February 2022

I walked quite a bit further today! Over two miles and the birds were def out to greet me!

A Downy Woodpecker. Look at the funny way she's sitting on the branch! But she was pecking a lot at the stick, so must have been getting good bugs there.

Female Downy Woodpecker

Male Anna Hummingbird mostly a silhouette

Western Bluebird

Is this the same heron I've been seeing for the last few days?

Great Blue Heron, standing on the grass

a Two Hawk day
Tuesday 15 February 2022

Hey! Helloooo? sighs.

Lesser Goldfinch, head turned away

Lesser Goldfinch eating

A Red Shoulder Hawk at the Community Garden!

Red Shoulder Hawk standing on a fence

Sees something moving in the grass? And Dives for it!

Red Shoulder Hawk flying down from the fence

But turns up empty handed. Bummer. (but nice for the mouse or whoever who got away!)

Red Shoulder Hawk

Pretty, pretty.

Cherry Blossoms

And then, on the way home... Another Hawk?! How Awesome! This one is a Red Tail Hawk.

Red Tail Hawk up in a tree

What a great day for photos!!

Covid + Todays Walk
Wednesday 16 February 2022

Covid Numbers

An even better picture showing the size difference between the little Green Wing Teals and Mallards...

male Green Wing Teal and male Mallard in the water

(Last comparison photo was on Wed 26 Jan 2022, Day of Ducks)

Green Wing Teals are the smallest ducks in North America!

Another Hawk! Red Shoulder Hawk, again today. S/He was being mobbed by a crow, and they made an inelegant landing in the tree right above me!

Red Shoulder Hawk up in a tree

Blazey, the bike path ambassador, sprawled next to his decorated spot on the path.

Blazey the cat

Pretty, pretty...

Purple Crocuses in grass

Western Bluebird...

Western Bluebird in a tree

Starlings and a Hawk
Thursday 17 February 2022

A Starling Gathering! I love this and think I could stand under a Gathering Tree all day to listen to the Starlings chat with each other.

Silhouettes of a flock of Starlings up in bare branches.

I imagine they are having important conversations: String Theory, probably. And of course they are telling their friends where they found some new food. Or, Be Careful, there's a cat prowling over at our regular bird feeder. After that, it's just gossip until they come back around to String Theory!

I don't take pics of the starlings very often. They are always up in the tree, so the light and background is crappy.

But also, Starlings are invasive from Europe, and so many bird people hate them. I think this is sad. Starlings are beautiful and definitely have character.

Their populations are declining in Europe, so we should be happy to have them, even if the Starlings mess with other birds. That's the nature of Nature.

oh wow. a Cooper Hawk! So happy to see this species again! S/He was flying along just above the creek.

Cooper Hawk

Stupid sticks.

Cooper Hawk

Friday 18 February 2022

Another Starling Gathering! Except...

Starlings and Brewer Blackbirds in a tree

In this section, almost all of these birds are somebody else!

Ha! They are Brewer Blackbirds! The black-black ones are the males and the plain, dark brownish ones are female. The Blackbirds are a bit more round, whereas the Starlings are more sleek.

There are a couple of starlings, just north of center, you can see his stars.

But cool! Since I've never really taken pics of Starling Gatherings, I never knew that they were joined by Brewer Blackbirds. I'm so glad to learn new things!!

But here's someone even awesomer! A Turkey Vulture, on the ground, eating some dead creature!!

Turkey Vulture

He seems small to me, so I'm going to call him a male... I'm assuming, like raptors, the females are bigger.

When I first saw him, I couldn't figure out who he was eating. The creamy white fur made me think a cat had died, but I really couldn't see past the grass and stuff.

But this photo (Warning: dead animal!) shows hands, not paws. Who has hands like that? It's not a raccoon... *thinking* OH! an Opossum. Poor Critter. I wonder how he/she died.

Turkey Vulture

Vultures are so cool, and they are def my favorite of the big birds. When they look at you, you can see that they are definitely a person!

They are kind of outside the food chain... They don't kill anyone for food, and one one kills them for food. And their role of cleaning up the dead is really so important for ecosystems.

Vultures are just awesome! :)

Out to the River
Saturday 19 February 2022

A big event out at the river this morning! A Polar Plunge...

group of people running into the water, more people watching from the beach

Well. It's chilly, but I don't think that water that's 46°F (8°C) really qualifies as polar!! *laughs*

The air temperature was around 50° (10°C) but there was a bit of a breeze. So I'm sure those guys were cold. But lots of fun to be had by all!

Men running into the water

And then I went for my regular walk, thru the Delta Ponds and along the river!

A Double Crested Cormorant. These birds are shy and are usually too far away to get decent pics. But oh my gosh, their beautiful eyes...

Double Crested Cormorant standing near the water

I love the Manky Mallards I come across!!

Female Mallard with a white collar, next to a normal coloured female

You can read more about these crazy ducks at these websites:

Domestic or Manky Mallards
lists some of the breeds of Mallards and lots of pics.

Showcasing Manky Mallard Portraits, They Are Oddly Beautiful
Awesome pics here!

A Manky blond girl!

A blond female mallard

I like the Mankies because they stand out from the crowd. They become individuals!

And this weird looking boy.

Manky Mallard down in the water

You can tell he's a male from the curled feathers on his tail. Females don't have that.

Out to the Community Garden
Sunday 20 February 2022

Crocus bloom

I like to visit my Community Garden throughout the winter. I check our plot for anything invasive: I yanked up some Creeping Buttercup today. Unfortunately, instead of coming out cleanly like I meant, the crown broke. So I'll be pulling up that plant again, soon! ha!

And there's usually something interesting going on there...

Unknown purple flower

Perhaps a new Garden Supervisor?

Anna Hummingbird


You can see in the pics that the sun is beating down.

It's our rainy season and it's not been raining. We got just over 3 inches from the flooding at the beginning of january. But since then we've not gotten hardly any rain... at this point we are supposed to have 9.39 inches of rainfall, but we've only accumulated 4.33 inches. Five inches behind, and not looking to get better any time soon. sighs.

The river is low. The lakes are shrinking. The wet prairie ponds are drying up. I've not heard any Pacific Choral Frogs singing... winter is their mating season.

I'm scared for the future. How many trees are going to die? What will the wildfires look like?

Some Birds
Monday 21 February 2022

Golden Crowned Sparrow

Great Blue Heron

Bewick Wren standing on a stick

Reading in 2022 with Levar Burton | The Daily Show
This made me laugh. Read banned books!!!

What doesn't make me laugh, is all the book bans in our schools.

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Clear and Cold... and there's some snow on the hills.

Snow on a distant hill

Western Bluebird

Oh dang it!

Blurry pic of a Townsend Warbler starting to fly away

I always forget the name of this bird... Townsend Warbler! They are winter visitors here and I don't get to see them often.

Little Free Pantry Art
Wednesday 23 February 2022

Covid numbers

Another clear and cold day. There's even ice in the wet prairie ponds!

ice covering a puddle in the grass

This month's writing topic for the Postcard Exchange that I run at Goodreads, is Little Free Libraries. I've been trying to get photos of the two that are in our neighborhood... no luck today... the sun is too bright and it turns the shady parts too black to see into.

Crow art on the side of a Little Free Pantry

Oh well. Try again another day.

The above crow art is actually on a nearby Little Free Pantry.

I tried to get artsy with it...

Little Free Pantry, seen thru the park

Todays Pics
Thursday 24 February 2022

... And here's what the inside of that Little Free Pantry from yesterday looks like...

Cans and boxes of food in the Little Free Pantry

Kinda empty today. On the bottom shelf is a package of menstrual pads, my contribution today. It's def something that people need, the package is always gone in less than 24 hours.

The Nutria is out again today. Maybe she's getting used to me... she didn't run for the water as soon as she saw me!

Nutria in the grass

Oh, awesome! A White Throat Sparrow!!

White Throat Sparrow on a branch

They are winter visitors here but I hardly ever see them! This one is a juvenile: stripes on chest and lacks the bit of yellow on their face.

And the first Osoberry blooms...

Osoberry Blooms

A native shrub, here in the Pacific Northwest. Since it blooms so early, it's an important source of nectar to our Anna Hummingbirds.

Friday 25 February 2022

Sleepy boys...

Two male Green Wing Teals and a male Mallard, all with their heads tucked down

Great Blue Heron, standing on one leg

Cute Blazey, ruling his spot on the bike path...

Blazy the Bike Path Ambassador, tuxedo cat in the grass

At the River
Saturday 26 February 2022

Dry as a bone...

A dry spillover at the Delta Ponds

The Willamette River at the top, the first of the Delta Ponds at the bottom. You see that rocky bit of land in between? That is supposed to be where the river is filling up the ponds. It's our rainy season, and it should be pouring in water.

Spotted Towhee

What? Kittens at the river? Well, I guess technically they are kittens outside a river-side apartment complex.


Someone had set out food for them, so they'll probably be caught and homed soon!

A Red Shoulder Hawk, being mobbed by a Crow.

Crow flying above a Red Shoulder Hawk sitting in a tree

Red Flowering Currant, a native shrub and a lovely splash of colour on a dreary day!

Red Flowering Currant

Pics + Countries and Capitals
Sunday 27 February 2022

Easter Fox Squirrel sitting on the top of a fence

Song Sparrow on a twig

In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started last Thursday, I have been trying to learn the proper pronunciation of Kyiv.

The old way of saying it was Kiev... Key-ehv. But this is the stupid Russian pronunciation! I didn't know! (and it kind of amuses me that a country has a dead-name. ha.)

So, the Ukrainian way to write it is Kyiv, and it's kind of pronounced Krreeev. There's really two syllables, but they are jammed in so tightly it sounds like a single syllable.

How do you pronounce Kyiv
This was a helpful video!

Anyway. Countries and Capitals have been on my mind, and so when I couldn't sleep last night I started thinking about my old project to memorize all the countries of the world.

I had memorized all the countries and capitals in the Americas, including island countries of the Caribbean. And those were still firmly in place in my brain!

But I had forgotten almost all of the capitals of Eastern Europe. I remembered Poland and Warsaw. Sarajevo is fun to say, but I couldn't remember what country it went with.

I had a good visual of a Mink ringing a rusty old church bell... so the capital of Belarus is Minsk! *laughs* Too bad I can't make more visuals like that!

So I turned on a light and pulled out my atlas and I studied some maps in the middle of the night.

It's good to learn things!

simple grey map of the world

Red Tail Hawk series
Monday 28 February 2022

oh wow. Look who's up on one of the street lamps along the bike path! a Red Tail Hawk!

Red Tail Hawk up on a street lamp

foo, I miss the pounce, but our Red Tail friend thought she or he saw somebody moving in the grass...

Red Tail Hawk standing on the ground in the grasses

Did we catch somebody? Nope... Empty handed...

Blurry pic of Red Tail Hawk taking off from the ground

And then we go to stand on the next street lamp. :)

Red Tail Hawk on a street lamp

And then, on the way home, two crows were cawing and swooping at a tree. Are they just goofing off, or are they mobbing someone in the tree? I can't see anything and I keep walking.

I pass the tree, and the crows start yelling again. I turn around and now I can see what's happening!

Silhouette of a Hawk in a tree being mobbed by a Crow

Wait. I'm pretty sure that's a Red Tail. Is it the same Red Tail??! *laughs* maybe!