WHERE TO START? How about this closeup of a Camas blossom in a park outside of Seattle? The park used to be a golf club, and efforts are being made to slowly return the landscape to native habitat. Hence the recently planted Camassia quamash, a local meadow flower that grew in such profusion centuries ago, that Lewis and Clark are said to have remarked that the flowers gave the appearance of a lake in the distance. An important food source, the bulbs were gathered and eaten by indigenous people, and like many native plants it has suffered from habitat destruction. Now it’s often seen in perennial gardens.
At the other end of the flowers-that-gain-our-respect spectrum are dandelions. The first crop has gone to seed, presenting macro photography opportunities. This one wore a glittering skirt of morning dew:
This pretty little bud is another native that’s been planted here and there in the park, the Western Columbine, or Aquilegia formosa. You may have seen it in gardens:
Squatting down in the wet grass and peering through it, as if you were a mouse, brings rewards. So does looking up.
This is our native Vine maple, Acer circinatum, a slight tree with delicate branches and many-lobed leaves. Maples have tiny flowers in Spring – here, they make shadow play on the new leaves. Huge old willows in the park have taken a beating over the years, but the dead branches are left for the wildlife.
Time to stroll along the willow-draped boardwalk to the water –
On lake Washington, which hooks around to form a sheltered bay here at Juanita Bay Park, the water lily leaves have grown large enough to provide a resting spot for a weary frog, but aren’t quite big enough yet for the little Pied-billed Grebes, which will soon build nests on and among the lily pads.
A pair of Wood Ducks, which nest in trees, scoots across the water. By this time the sun is glaring on the water and without a long lens, I can barely get a usable image. But you get the idea – they are eye-popping birds!
As a pair of Bald eagles looks on from their post atop an empty osprey nest platform, a Mallard mother shepherds her little entourage of ten ducklings across the bay. She passes directly underneath them, but they’re uninterested in the foraging family.
The abundant Western Painted turtles are safe from most predators and have reappeared on logs across the bay after spending winter in the mud. It’s very amusing when a heavier fellow climbs on board and the whole crew has to grab tight as the log starts to roll. Plop, plop, splash, as they fall in…
(Google log-rolling turtles and you’ll see some funny videos).
After the walking and bending and all, it felt good to flop down on a bench and, legs splayed, lean back into the sun…
In a few days I’m off to New York. It’s been over three years since I’ve been back and I feel out of touch. I’m looking forward to being around familiar places, sounds, smells (?), and people. But I’m kicking myself just a bit for leaving at the height of Spring.