Portland sits in a cold snap. Chicago and Midwest Heartlanders, Montana Ranchers, and LOTS of folks would laugh when we whine that we’re 20 degrees at the last of November and we’re COLD. OUR climate is NOT used to this in November. We will get to these temps mid-January for about 2-3 weeks and it’s over. The high today will only be 30 or a little above up here.
Looking from the deck down to the hillside, the frost/snow combo never melted yesterday and won’t today. Portland is on a WINTER STORM WATCH and here’s a tiny bit of the text from that warning issued by the National Weather Service (our beeing at the end of the Columbia Gorge doesn’t help when these cold snaps arrive…..EAST winds blow down from the cold inland valleys and help set up the situation described here):
THIS PRECIPITATION WILL OVERRUN THE COLD AIR IN
PLACE AND PRODUCE AREAS OF FREEZING RAIN WITH THE HIGHEST THREAT
NEAR THE COLUMBIA RIVER AND IN THE PORTLAND VANCOUVER AREA.
THE PRECIPITATION WILL BE GREAT ENOUGH TO PRODUCE ICING OF ROADS
AND SURFACES THROUGHOUT THE FREEZING RAIN AREAS. SOME SMALLER
TREES OR BRANCHES ALONG WITH POWER LINES MAY COME DOWN.
The last of our roses didn’t have a chance, and by tomorrow morning will be enclosed in a smooth shield of ice most likely:
BUT BACK TO THE LITTLE BIRDIES:
For a bird watcher (not a serious one, a hobbyist) whose been feeding the little guys that winter over with us for years now, a COLD snap like this means a little extra effort on OUR part saves lives. Seriously! You saw all the frost on all the trees above. When lots of food sources aren’t around for these guys, we can help. I took the camera to the window looking at the deck and at first glance (and looking at a smaller picture than the original)…………can you see any birds at all? Can you see the Male Hairy Woodpecker at the suet feeder? (There are at least a dozen birds in this picture)
OK. Hard to see in that, BUT…………. thanks to Rodger’s acquiring a Spotting Scope (while I whined about the cost), we can get a bit better view of our little friends who come to eat. Here’s a FEW of the birds that came in the minutes I took pictures. Sorry I missed a favorite, the Northern Flicker….big and beautiful, but SHY. He flew off twice when I got close enough to snap the pic.
Here’s the smallest woodpecker we have in our forests, the cute male DOWNY WOODPECKER (The female will not have the red band on the head):
and he moves FAST when he chips into the suet:
and he gets wary for good reason. Predators that might arrive from above (See the note about the big Cooper’s Hawk at the end of this post)
Here is the next size up woodpecker, a nice proud Male HAIRY WOODPECKER:
You can see his red band when he turns to the side:
And his lovely more subtle colored female counterpart, Female Hairy:
and yet another so cute shot of this lovely female:
We have numbers of these other smaller birds (I KNOW I didn’t get all of them). Here’s a cute black-capped chickadee, a resident favorite of ours because of their bubbly personalities and fearlessness. They’ll let you stand within a foot of their feeding if you are quiet about it: In the summer when their young have fledged, they bring the entire family in one group to feeders and it’s a madhouse for a few days.
Not to be outdone, the Nuthatches also always fun to watch, even though they are so small….but look at those LONG feet and you can tell they spend a lot of time climbing tree branches looking for insects:
We can’t forget the gorgeous winter visitors from Alasks, the Varied Thrush:
These fascinating guys fly into the Northwest every winter from ALASKA! They think THIS place is Florida or something? I suppose if you consider the weather they were leaving, this IS Florida.
They are Robin cousins so feed on the ground most of the time as do several of our winter resident birds.
On to the mammals invaders. These little bullies are NOT native to the West. Early Pioneers complained that the native Douglas Squirrels were ugly (they’re not) so had friends bring in the Eastern Fox Squirrels who now have driven out most of the native population we had. They are cute, however:
They’ll sit out here and devour seed by the pound:
Yes, too cute:
This next picture I DID NOT take. It is from the web. We both love these guys more than any other wildlife visitor that visits our home and if I’m talking about WHAT motivates us to feed the animals, THIS guy would take the trophy. LOTS of residents up here in the woods NEVER see these guys because they feed under the cover of darkness, and hence, become one of the targets of owls. FLYING SQUIRRELS
And Now I realize I’ve spent entirely TOO much time on this blog, but I did get caught up in the moment of cold weather vs. our little friends, and so………they won. They’re all going to be well fed for the next couple of days.
And I couldn’t resist, I said I didn’t get a picture today of the Northern Flicker so grabbed one Rodger took a couple years ago. He’s just TOO Gorgeous not to include since he WAS feeding out there with the other birds I did capture:
By the way…………while just finishing this up, I just had a most thrilling sighting. About 100 feet from this office window, a huge Cooper’s Hawk just landed by the edge of some bushes. He sat there about 30 seconds. What a thrilling view.
OKAY. Back to working on finances where I SHOULD have spent the last two hours rather than escaping into the absolute thrill of preparing this post. ………..what a time consuming thing it is to actually commit to figuring out exactly WHAT my finances amount to. Yuk.