Birds, Birds, Birds

Last week, one of the authors I follow on Twitter (Ursula Vernon) mentioned a birding app that could ID birds based on song.

I promptly downloaded Merlin, and have been having a blast.

I can just stand in the morning chorus, and it picks out what birds it hears. You can also explore the songs of birds, or look up birds based on appearance and other characteristics. It’s quite wonderful!

I’m going to start doing a weekly bird list. Many of these will be from auditory ID (thanks, Merlin!), but I’ll also include any that I identify visually.

  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Barred Owl
  • Brown Creeper
  • Brown-Headed Cowbird
  • Chickadee, Black-capped
  • Chickadee, Chestnut-backed
  • Crow, American
  • Finch, Purple
  • Flycatcher, Pacific Slope
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Goldfinch, American
  • Junco, Dark-eyed
  • Nuthatch, Red-breasted
  • Pine Siskin
  • Robin
  • Song Sparrow
  • Stellar’s Jay
  • Towhee, Spotted
  • Warbler, Hermit
  • Warbler, Wilson’s
  • Warbler, Yellow-dumped
  • Western Tanager
  • Wood Duck
  • Wren, Pacific
  • Vireo, Warbling

We have had some ups and downs with birds this year, but I was happy to see a Junco feeding its baby yesterday!

Occasional Chronicle

I’m going to start keeping a chronicle of the goings-on around here: birds, plants, etc.

This is a time of year when a lot of birds pass through. Today we had two new arrivals!

Wilson’s Warbler (I think):

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Warbler/id#

It’s hard to be sure, because it keeps flitting around, but as far as I could see it’s the only little yellow bird with a black cap.

And Western Tananger:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Tanager/overview

Who knows how long they will stay, but I’m happy to have them!

Rhodie Species Garden

Yesterday I met up with Mom, Dad, my brother, and his wife to wander the rhodie species garden in Federal Way, WA.

If you live in the Puget Sound region, the rhodie species garden in Federal Way is well worth a visit. It’s at its peak in May and June, but they have done a good job with the garden structure — it would be a nice meander year-round.

The walk into the gardens has a concentration of really lovely rhodies! The jolly pink one is Rhododendron oribiculare SW China

They had a wonderful glasshouse! I think of rhodies as being temperate, but there are some sub-tropical rhodies.

Although the gardens are at their peak in May and June, they do a good job of making them appealing year-round, both with a variety of plantings and with good structural design.

Serendipitous Bonsai Trees

Yesterday, I met up with Mom and Dad and my brother and sister-in-law to wander the Rhododendron Species Garden in Federal Way, WA. It turned out that there was a bonsai festival going on in the outer courtyard that separates the rhodie garden from the bonsai museum.
Here are photos from the bonsai festival. My understanding is that all of these are owned by members of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association.I’m just including (almost?) everything, since I don’t know what will tickle whose fancy!The information is from the tags associated with the trees.

Japanese Black Pine
36 years as a bonsai
66 estimated tree age
Other: stand created by Dan Robinson and Anothony Feilback
Kurume Azalea – Rhododendron obtusum var. sakamotoi
20 years as a bonsai
50+ estimated tree age
Other: Urban Yamadori
Hinoki Cypress – Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Hague’
6 years as a bonsai
unknown tree age
Other: Grown by Boon Manakitvisit, styled at 2016 Convention, Pot by Vicky Chamberlain
Ezo Spruce
Picea Jezoensis
unknown years as a bonsai
20-60 estimated tree age
Chinese Elm – Ulmus parvifolia
21 years as a bonsai with current owner
unknown tree age
Other: Import from China



Ponderosa Pine
Pinus ponderosa var scopulorum
1 year as a bonsai
unknown tree age
Other: Collected by Randy Knight, Japanese pot
Mountain Hemlock
Tsuga Mertensiana
15 years as a bonsai
unknown tree age
Other: Collected in Vancouver BC by Anton Nijhuis
Japanese Crabapple
Malus Floribunda
5 years as a bonsai
Air layered in 2015
Other: Exclusively pruned since air layered
Sutsuki Azalea
Rhododendron Indicum – no – Tsuki
28 years as a bonsai
30 estimated tree age
Other: Imported from Japan, Japanese Pot
I would have loved to see this in bloom!
Mountain Hemlock
Tsuga mertensiana
5 years as a bonsai
unknown tree age
Other: Purchased from Anton Nijhuis at 2016 PNBC Convention, Pot by Jan Rentenaar
Japanese Larch
Larix Kaempferi
13 years as a bonsai
20 estimated tree age
Other: Field Grown at Telperion Farms
Chinese Elm – Ulmus Parvifolia
50 years as a bonsai
60 estimated tree age
Other: Acquired at PSBA convention 2005. While carving out several large scars, discovered stones lodged inside of trunk. Chinese pot.
Japanese Larch – Larix Kaempferi
10 years as a bonsai
unknown tree age
Other: Japanese Pot (Yamaaki)
Chinese Juniper – Juniperus chinensis ‘Shimpaku’
20 years as a bonsai
40+ estimated tree age
Other: Japanese Pot (Yamaaki)
Blue Atlas Cedar – Cedrus Atlantica ‘Glauca’
24 years as a bonsai
30 estimated tree age
Other: Styled from upright tree

I missed the tag on this one! It’s a flowering quince, but I don’t have the details….
Cork Bark Japanese Black Pine – Pinus Thumbergii ‘Ondai’
unknown years as a bonsai
75 estimated tree age
Other: Japanese Tokonome pot
Chinese Juniper ‘Shimpaku’
6 years as a bonsai
25 estimated tree age

They also had some mame bonsai trees (miniature bonsai trees):

Tiny azalea mame bonsai
The mother of mame bonsai:
Trident Maple – Acer Buergerianum
45-57 years as a bonsai
unknown tree age
Other: Tokonome pot

It turns out that there is an additional category of bonsai: tiny arrangements of perennials. Here is a sampling of my favorites:

The Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way has some really lovely trees that live there year-round. We didn’t go in yesterday, because there were a lot of people, and there were rhodies to see. But the museum has some truly amazing bonsai trees. I’ll try to post a little tour some other day….