Skagit Valley Wildlife Area and Fir Island Reserve

On June 17th we drove up to Skagit Valley for our first walk with the Wonder Walkers, a short term summer group from our church. The summer plan is a different walk in the Puget Sound area each Saturday until the end of August.

Dear and I had never been to this part of the Valley.

The weather cooperated with us and it ended up being a walk that we didn’t need jackets for.

I should have taken my longer camera lens and the next time we go I will. That’s a Heron on top of that bare tree.

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This area borders the Skagit Bay and the Skagit River.

This is a walk we’d like to do again since our time was limited and we didn’t walk down every path.

We are about 24 hours from Summer Solstice. The sun did shine here today. I hesitated to share but I’m on another kick to drop several pounds. This time around I am not weighing myself until I see some improvement in my body profile. I was brave enough to take a photo with my phone and when things look different I’ll weigh in and go from there. That will take a while. The reality right now is just to scary for me to attach a number to by stepping on the scale. My first goal is for my jeans to be roomier. After I reach that goal I’ll set another one. Dear and I are not eating anything after 5 pm unless it’s out of our power like celebrations. We also are limiting certain treats if we don’t hit at least 4000 steps on our fitbits. We are aiming for 10,000 a day. I’m counting calories but Dear is not. You won’t hear anything else from me on this subject until I reach my goal.

Enjoy the beginning of our summer season.

Country Favorites!

We had so much fun watching the critters at our son’s home in the country. Katie grabbed my camera and took a lot of these photos. She also worked on identifying the birds. We were in Eastern Washington from Sunday until Wednesday.

This is a Calliope hummingbird.

A tree swallow.

I think this is a Rufous Capped or Golden Crowned Warbler.

The horses grazing are always a treat to see. We saw deer but didn’t get any photos of them this time. I also got a photo of some wild turkeys that I haven’t uploaded yet.

We managed to cross some things off the wedding “to do” list and got other things accomplished, too. We had a good relaxing and hard working time together. The wedding is at the end of June.

Today is Dear’s last day at his current job. His list is getting long for what he wants to accomplish during his “off” time. We’ll get a taste of what retirement might feel like. I’ll be sure to show you his projects along the way.

After getting back home the lawn needed mowing and our poor plants needed a good watering. We really are in a dry pattern for our neck of the woods. I was so beat last night that I went to bed at 7:00 pm and didn’t wake up until 5:00 am. We have a quiet weekend to look forward to. How about you?

I’m linking up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for Friday’s Fave Five!

Fences and Signs

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Bird on a fence in San Diego, California.

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My fence behind my blooming forsythia. Spring has come early to the Pacific Northwest.

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Fun sign in a breakfast spot in Oregon.

Such a random assortment of photos from different times and 3 different states. I’m feeling a bit random myself these days. Here we are in March already. March is my birthday month and it is our daughter and son-in-law’s anniversary month. March is also the spring forward month (this weekend!!). I’m headed to Eastern Washington on Saturday for an overnight trip to go Bridal dress shopping with our future daughter in law. This Sunday is the opening game for the Seattle Sounders Soccer team! March has come in like a lamb this year. What are you looking forward to in March?

I’m linking to Signs, signs with Lesley and Good Fences with TexWisGirl at Run*A*Round Ranch Report.

Reflections

I’m joining Weekend Reflections with these photos I took along Lake Washington in Washington State.

This past Tuesday I met up with my Senior group to walk the Burke Gilman Trail along Lake Washington. It was a beautiful sunny morning. We spotted two eagles that I’ll post later.

I’m headed into a busier than usual weekend with a birthday dinner for our son and big game. If you don’t know yet the whole state of Washington is rallying around the Seattle Seahawks as they play the Greenbay Packers on Sunday. You can’t go anywhere in this state without spotting someone sporting their Seahawks gear. Our 8 A.M. church service on Sunday will be fuller than usual so people can be home in time to prepare for the game. I’m more of a soccer fan than a football fan but I’ll join in the fun and “root root root for the home team”.

Junco

It’s time to jump to the letter J and come up with a post to share at ABC Wednesday.

I’m going with one of the most common birds that come to my feeders, the Junco.

recipe-birds 015 This species shows much geographic variation in color. Typically, male of western population (“Oregon Junco”) has black hood, chestnut mantle, white underparts with buff sides. Eastern male (“Slate-colored Junco”) is dark slate-gray on head, upper breast, flanks, and upperparts, with white lower breast and belly. Both forms have pink bill and dark gray tail with white outer tail feathers conspicuous in flight.

recipe-birds 016Dark-eyed juncos are unique sparrows that nest on or near the ground in forests. In winter, they typically form flocks and often associate with other species.

recipe-birds 012We have had a nice variety of birds come to our feeders. It seems to be different every year except for these Juncos. They are pretty consistent.

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Robins in our area do not bother with the feeders. They are content to poke on the ground and lawns. It’s always funny to watch the blue jays try to land on the feeder. They are a little too big to do it gracefully.

What are the common birds in your back yard?

Flitting

…move swiftly and lightly

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A Minor Bird
(Robert Frost)
I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;
Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.
The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.
And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

I have to say that the only birds I’ve clapped my hands at have been crows or woodpeckers.

Today was quite the bird event at our house. So many little, medium and big birds flying in and out. They would peck at the ground, at the bird feeders, in the planters.

birds 006 How about this chubby Robin? We saw many Robins today.

birds 004A first for us was seeing a small hawk/falcon like bird and woodpecker having a life and death struggle. They both slammed into our French doors and landed on the deck and then when the senses were regained from the hard hit into the door, the falcon/hawk flew off with the woodpecker in it’s claws. Very strange event to see…

P1040825After some beautiful days like these we are back in a rainy pattern. Of course that is normal and we all need the rain along with the sunshine. California would love to have some of our rain drops…

P1040824Dear and I went on a little walk again about the neighborhood on Sunday last. I was cracking up when we passed this in the photo below…

P1040823Oops…the no dumping sign was dumped!

Confession of the week: I went to Costco on Tuesday and bought season 4 of Downton Abbey so very soon Katie and I will have a marathon viewing of the rest of the episodes we haven’t seen yet. Costco had the DVD for $25.99 with a one time $4.00 rebate at the register.

Hows your week progressing?

Birds of a Feather…

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We have had birds and more birds pecking about our yard the last couple of weeks. It has been fun to see the many varieties.

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This European Starling is a new addition in our yard this year.

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They like to stick together and they fly off together, too.

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We had a fun time this weekend with a few members of our family. Girls of a feather that enjoy sticking together, too. It wasn’t the whole flock but we take what we can get. My oldest sister Kathy’s two daughters were able to fly to Seattle to stay with my baby sister Lana. Our daughter Katie and DIL Laura joined the girls at Lana’s for a few days of nonstop fun. Fall-girls 015

Michelle, Melissa, Katie and Laura

Fall-girls 016Our hostess, Auntie Lana,  joined the girls for a photo!

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And Auntie Ellen, too.

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Between seasons of Downton Abbey we were able to fit in a trip to Country Village in Bothell where we made some fun purchases and after the shopping trip we met up with all the guys for dinner at the Purple Cafe.

Spiders

There were 10 of us at dinner but I couldn’t get a great shot of everyone. Lana’s husband Steve, Dear, Ryan (my niece Michelle’s husband) and our son Josh joined the girls for a lovely meal out and then it was back to Lana’s for more Downton Abbey…

The guys were very accommodating to the girls this weekend and we appreciate them very much. We only had enough time to make it through 2 whole seasons and the Christmas Special from Downton Abbey. My sister Lana is the only one of us who hasn’t seen season 3 yet and we left the DVD’s with her so she can finish off the series before Season 4 starts here in the states in January.

We said our farewells and our guests headed back to the airport to fly back to Southern California. We all look forward to the next time we can be together.

We are in a foggy pattern here in the Western part of the Puget Sound that has extended up to British Columbia. We are hoping the sun can break through the fog in the next days ahead.