A rabble of robins settles in my backyard. Five species of thrushes often pause for a quick drink, but I’m flummoxed by the American Robins this year. There are hundreds! Plentiful food, a mild winter, or enchantment in the water? Who knows…
About a year ago, I watched this Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in my backyard. She is a regular visitor but this day was special because she stayed for two hours. We get a lot of songbirds at our water feature and the hawks think of it as their all-you-can-eat-buffet and spa.
On this day, the Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath stood in the chilly water for 40 minutes before perching in a nearby snag. I’ve shown pictures of her preening and fluffing her feathers after her bath in a previous post. She is a gorgeous bird.
As you can tell by my pictures below, this Cooper’s Hawk has a lot of personality!
This is a closer view of her.
Here’s a short video of the Cooper’s Hawk bathing that I took with a phone attached to my spotting scope. She took such a long and thorough bath.
While working on this post, I looked outside and noticed an immature Cooper’s Hawk perched on my gate. I was expecting a package and the bird did not fly away until the truck backed right up to the gate. The UPS driver apologized for scaring away “my” hawk. 😀
This picture shows an old farm truck parked along a rural road in Bend, Oregon. It’s parked along one of the 51 farm-to-market roads built in Deschutes County during the early 1900s.
This is a display of tail dresses at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. They’re called tail dresses because the deer’s tail is left on the cured skin. You can see them near the neckline on these dresses.
This picture shows an old farmhouse and windmill at a ranch in Central Oregon. To give this a more aged appearance, I used a filter that muted the reds.
Best Art Pictures
This is a close-up view of a bison sculpture by Greg Congleton, one of my favorite local artists. The name of this sculpture is Wooly Bully.
This is a sculpture of Sacagawea that’s located at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming. I admired how the artist portrayed her as a calm yet powerful presence.
This is a close-up view of a mural located outside a computer repair store in Bend, Oregon. Born Again Babylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future. See the whole mural here.
I decided to make a tumbleweed snowman from the giant tumbleweed I recently found in my yard. In my previous post, Giant tumbleweed in my yard, I tried to show the scale of this tumbleweed. It measured 7 feet 6 inches across!
Since it’s December, I thought I might as well have some fun with it. We tied it to a tree to keep it from blowing away. I added a smaller tumbleweed to make a head.
It’s kinda hard to see his face so I zoomed in. The branches are spaced far apart on the top tumbleweed so his face is held on with a few twist ties. Can you see his lichen eyelashes and juniper nose and smile?
A string of battery-powered lights added some holiday cheer.
Hope you enjoyed my High Desert tumbleweed snowman. Happy Holidays! 😀
Here are a few photos of wildlife sightings at Yellowstone from our trip in early June. Visitors have opportunities to see many furred and feathered creatures within Yellowstone National Park.
Sometimes you see wildlife, such as this snowshoe hare, that you may not have seen in the park before. This hare’s population peaks about every ten years and this must be a peak year.
Sometimes you’ll see wildlife interacting within close proximity of each other. This radio-collared gray wolf got a little too close for comfort to the bison calves in this herd. The bulls and cows quickly chased it away.
Sometimes you’ll get wildlife sightings at Yellowstone that are hundreds and hundreds of yards away. This grizzly bear with two cubs made its way across a distant mountain meadow. I took this photo with my Samsung phone attached to a spotting scope.
Other times you’ll get closer views. This sandhill crane family patiently posed for photographers.
You might see familiar friends in new settings. We saw killdeer in shallow hot spring features throughout the park. They must enjoy the warm temperature!
Since the park includes 3,500 square miles, you’ll need to look close to find the wildlife. This lone cinnamon teal floated in a sedge-filled pond – a pinch of spice in a sea of green.
Today I’m featuring portraits of pink flowers in my Bend, Oregon yard. All of these plants are drought tolerant, once established.
The first photo is an ice plant. This groundcover has cheerful starburst flowers and succulent leaves. The leaves turn a bronze color in winter. We had an escapee take root in another part of our yard and it survived without watering.
The second plant is a Woods’ rose. This native 2-5 foot tall shrub attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Red rose hips develop once the flowers lose their petals.
It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.
One day, while playing around with editing effects, this mirror image of autumn leaves sparked my imagination. I saw a woman wearing a crimson cape in the photo below. The short story I created, The Tree People of Autumn , is based on edited photos of trees.
I tried to turn my camera towards things in my yard more this year. Here’s one of my prickly pear cactus in bloom.
We created a big vegetable garden this year. Some of our produce may not have won ribbons at the fair, but it was entertaining. 😊
Many of us won’t be celebrating the holidays with close relatives, but we’ve grown closer to bird “families” in our yards. Interest in birding is soaring and people are flocking to this activity during the pandemic. I’m sharing the joy of birds in these photos of ornaments I’ve collected over the years.
Bluebirds capture the essence of the sky in their plumage. I’m hoping we have more bluebird days to look forward to soon.
Flocks of whooping crane birds fill the landscape with their unique “unison” call. Maybe people can heed the call towards unison in the upcoming year.
The following images of igneous rocks up close were taken in my yard near Bend, Oregon.
What’s an igneous rock? Geology.com describes them as being “formed from the solidification of molten rock material.” For example, granite, gabbro, basalt, scoria, and obsidian are all types of igneous rock.
You probably notice some of these rocks have round bubble-like holes in them. These “vesicles” form when gas is trapped within the melted rock at the time it cools and turns solid.
I took some pictures of a varied thrush drinking yesterday. I’m posting them for the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge and Sunday Stills challenge. My previous post, Backyard birding adventures, shows other birds in my yard.
One or two varied thrushes always visits us in the fall season. They travel with the American robin flocks.
You can see how they’re closely related to robins. To hear the eerie song of varied thrushes, scroll down this page to Songs and Calls.
We have a water feature in our yard so we have lots of backyard birding adventures. This summer I bought a special mount to take digital pictures through my spotting scope. This process is referred to as “digiscoping.” Unfortunately, many of the pictures I first took turned out blurry. I’m having much better luck with my brand new mount.
Here’s a photo of one of our California scrub-jays taken with my Google Pixel phone. Isn’t it a beautiful bird?
I used my point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix camera for this one. It was a little tricky to hold it in place on the mount. This a European starling and an American robin.
We get tons of robins at this time of the year and they chase other birds away.