Sunday, July 26, 2009

July: "At this Time"

At this time the high meadows are hot and dry. The sienna-red bark is curling off the lime-green trunks of the arbutus (Arbutus menziesii).

The forest is mostly silent now, the songbirds now busy feeding and fledging their young. Calls now, the Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Winter Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Chestnut-backed Chicadee, and the alarm of Robins.

The spring flowers are gone. Among the dry arbutus leaves push ghostly white Indian-Pipe (Monotropa uniflora).

Huckleberries (Vaccinium parvifolium) begin to show and ripen in the heat.

Rein Orchids stand as pillars on the forest floor.

Among the scales of the Douglas-fir cones, tiny mice hide their heads.

In the heat I retreat by kayak to the small coastal reef island with golden patches of drying grass.

Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) hide amid the the broom

and roses (Rosa nutkana) offer their hips to the summer sun.

Listen on small rocky islets for the greeting cries of Black Oystercatchers and Killdeer. In the distance I hear the Tu-tu-tu of passing greater Yellowlegs.

Pigeon Gillemots nest among the drift logs and rock crevasses. They "fly" to the ocean bottom to capture slender gunnels to feed their young.