From Ecosystem

Blog Carnival Love: I and the Bird (and the Great Blue Heron)

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I love birds. They are an important part of my daily life: I listen for robins and towhees when I wake up on Spring mornings. I watch for night hawks at dusk in the summer. Juncos nitter and nest in my strawberries and thyme. The sweep of raven’s wings overhead seems to follow me year-round.

Birds also keep my gardens alive and interesting (thank you to all the birds whose purple poops have borne new volunteers to my flower beds). Wherever I live or travel, I discover new birds whose calls and silhouettes are inseparable from my favorite memories.

Today I’d like to draw your attention to one of the longest-living blog carnivals, which celebrates the ornithological: I and the Bird. Blog readers and writers alike share a true friend in blog carnivals. These online periodicals consist of collections of links to many different articles, photos, videos, podcasts, and other online media, all of which illuminate a single, special topic (such as trees, plants, or invertebrates).

If you enjoy the company of feathered friends and have a few hours to spare this summer, Mike of 10,000 Birds welcomes you to volunteer as a host for a future issue. You don’t have to be a birder or keep a birding blog in order to participate – just a desire to look up, listen, and share what you learn.

Even if you don’t have time to volunteer, you can help keep I and the Bird alive and soaring with three easy steps:

1)   blog about birds

2)   send in the link

3)   spread the word

In this spirit I share the following images of the Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) at Big Beef and Seabeck Bay, as seen last Wednesday. I might have a diligent amateur’s success with tree photography, but I’m hopeless when it comes to birds (or anything else that doesn’t stand perfectly still for a photo shoot). Luckily for me, these herons were hunting for breakfast, and were not planning to move until the perfect catch swam by.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to sport a great, sweeping beard like this one?

Or to have the endurance to stand still for hours in the chill water beneath these mountains, waiting for lunch?

And herons aren’t the only birds dining in the estuaries…

Click here to read the latest issue of I and the Bird: “A few of my favorite wings” now online at Madras Ramblings, or submit your links today for the upcoming issue to be hosted at Twin Cities Naturalist.

Mike over at the Pacific Northwest Slugyard has some nice photos of nesting Great blue herons.

Looking for more bird resources? Check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the annual Great Backyard Birdcount, and the National Audubon Society.

Know a better (or more interesting) resource? Tell us in the comments.

And remember – blog birds, send in the link, spread the word – I and the Bird!

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15 Celebrations in Spruce and Birch

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welcome to the party – grab a shovel!

A happy intersection of events resulted in the planting of 15 trees at the homestead this March. Our new saplings were procured from the Pierce County Conservation District annual native tree and plant sale in Puyallup, Washington. I discovered their sale only just this year thanks to the magic and happenstance of the Internet.

These trees were lovingly planted during a wonderful spring rainstorm on March 14th, and with all the wet and wonderful forces of the waxing moon in Cancer to inspire them. Five Birches and ten Spruces are now growing where evergreens were removed some 15+ years ago by the original property owners. Our land is well suited to these tree species because it has lots of healthy, wet soil with good drainage.

If you follow the trio of trunks of the tallest hemlocks to the ground, you’ll see where the new trees are now tucked. The land dips down in the foreground, which will give the new trees a few years to get some height before the 10-year-old White pines, Douglas firs, Red cedars and Hemlocks overshadow them. The t-stakes visible in some of the pictures below were probably used for a horse corral; they will be reused in the future when we embark on the Great Chicken Adventure.

15 trees & 15 celebrations

1. For Mothers & Grandmothers: Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)

2. For Fathers & Grandfathers: Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)

3. For the Festival of the Trees #58: celebrate tree celebrations!

4. For Berry Go Round #39: (because I missed the deadline for BGR #38)

5. For Arbor Day 2011: shovel-dance in the rain!

6. For the Spring Equinox: get out and dirty while robins sing the sun up.

7. For the International Year of Forests 2011: Forests for People! Reach into the Earth and connect.

8. Reparations: replace trees sacrificed for the foundation of a happy home.

9. Reparations: replace trees sacrificed for the satellite dish of an awesome internet connection.

10. Gratitude: give thanks for the gifts of health and friendship and work and fleeting wisdom.

11. Humility: give thanks for the gifts of lessons learned and challenges faced.

12. Friends Departed: sustain the memories of those who have shared their love and are now beyond us.

13. Friends Arrived: seed a little hope in the shade beneath a rock, see what grows out.

14. Justice: for the trees cut down each year, I plant these trees as a small offering of restitution, and with the hope that others will plant location-appropriate trees in kind.

15. Just Because: because there is simply no such thing as ‘too many trees.’

BGR

Come out and party

with me! Soil your fingernails,

dig in, plant a tree!



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