Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mt. Rainier National Park

On the homeward leg of our vacation, we camped just outside of Mt. Rainier National Park.

When we awoke the early morning light was reflecting off this stream.

We drove up to Paradise, and stopped on the way to look down into the steep canyon carved by the dark, silty glacier meltwater that feeds the Cowlitz River.  It was well over 100 feet below the bridge to the water.

Though you can't see it in this image, the canyon is just at the left of this meadow, and the meadow sits on solid rock polished smooth by glaciers.

Mt. Rainier is covered in snow and blue ice glaciers, and the water from melting snow and ice cascades in rivulets and waterfalls.

Tiger Lily. Lilium columbianum.  With beargrass in the background.  The wildflowers were an astounding symphony of color.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Olympic National Park

Cyndi and I visited the Olympic National Park, Dungeness Spit, Cape Flattery, and the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington this summer.  I saw a new life bird there, the Rhinoceros Auklet.

I saw many Heerman's Gulls.

Our favorite bird, though, has to be the characterful puffins.  The puffins there are the Tufted Puffins.  I had never seen one this close before!

We spent an enjoyable day hiking on Dungeness Spit, and this view shows the lighthouse at the tip of the spit with Mount Rainier in the distance.


Here is a veiw of the spit.  It is about five miles out to the lighthouse.

We also went to the Hoh rainforest.

Moss covers everything in this area where there can be about 180 inches of rain every year.

We also stopped at a few of the many beaches on the Pacific coast.  The beaches further north were composed of cobblestones.

There were not very many people out in the early morning.

Driftwood was piled high, and this particular image caused me to imagine animal faces looking out to sea.

Further south, the beaches become broad expanses of soft sand.

This trail to the beach winds through a grove of Sitka Spruce, and many of them have burls growing on them.

The sandy coastline goes on for miles, and camping is allowed on many of the beaches.

Pearly Everlasting grew at the edge of the sand.

There were interesting bits of shells left behind by the receding tide.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

North Cascades National Park

This year Cyndi and I drove to North Cascades National Park.  On the way there we saw this Eastern Kingbird, in northern Idaho.

We camped in the Cascades, and this Swainson's Thrush was one of many heard calling in the morning.

There were many Townsend's Warblers.

This was the view from our tent.

Diablo Lake, really a reservoir behind a dam, gains its interesting color from the fine suspended sediments called glacial flour.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Cyndi and I visited Nevada in the spring.  I saw a new Life Bird, the Lucy's Warbler.  The photo leaves quite a bit to be desired.  I'll have to visit again, I suppose, and try again.

This Cooper's Hawk was near the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Corn Creek Station.

We visited the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, and enjoyed the Black-capped Gnatcatchers.

Some of the desert cacti were in bloom.

When I saw these next two birds (Great-tailed Grackle and a Hummingbird) it made me think of that game, Angry Birds.  They do seem to be grumpy about something!

Here is a Prickle Poppy in bloom, with a Joshua Tree in the background.

I think the nicest photo I captured was this Lincoln's Sparrow, another bird seen at the Corn Creek Station, north of Las Vegas.