Living in Your Own Private Cryosphere

Albedo is the reflectivity of the earth's surface. Ice, white and bright, has a high albedo, reflecting back the sun on itself, whereas water draws the solar radiation deep into its hues. Water is always in flux, mutable -- liquid, vaporous, frozen -- evaporating, condensing and expanding. This fluidity of form and purpose fuels life with its hydrological rhythms. And, it stores life, even as deep as 4000 meters below the East Antarctic ice [...]

2018-02-15T21:49:10+00:00 December 12th, 2013|Blog, Photography, Weather|9 Comments

Welcome Home, Seattle Ducks!

I spotted my first migratory ducks on the urban shores of Elliott Bay last week. The new arrivals are on edge -- wary and easy to flush. Lifting my lens is enough to send them skittering to the middle of the bay, and I can only imagine what sights and sounds have jarred them into high alert on their long journey home. I think of how far the winter ducks soar, finally dipping into Puget [...]

2013-11-15T22:27:24+00:00 November 15th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

On Little Cat Feet in Seattle

Carl Sandburg's metaphor of fog creeping in "on little cat feet" over the harbor and sky is 21 words of descriptive perfection. But, it wasn't this gentle, pitter-patter idea of fog that formed me. It was a more treacherous fog, the fog of the mire, the one shrouding fantastical and coal-black specters: The cloud was within fifty yards of where we lay, and we glared at it, all three, uncertain what horror was [...]

2012-11-18T02:27:40+00:00 November 18th, 2012|Uncategorized, Weather|8 Comments

Waxwing Solo

I marked my winters in California by the return of the Cedar Waxwings. A few years ago this is how I would describe my seasonal transition: It starts with a whistle, but a whistle so faint it’s a whisper across the leaves. And then the sound of raindrops, but it’s not rain. It’s the patter of falling berries, pyracantha and holly, dropping into the blanket of debris below the trees. Finally, we see the face [...]

2012-11-13T22:51:07+00:00 November 13th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|3 Comments

A Makeshift Hummingbird Feeder Heater

Heating hummingbird feeders was a new thing for me after moving to Seattle. Here, Anna's Hummingbirds stay through the winter, and although the cold months are relatively temperate, there are enough freezing mornings when nectar turns into slush or ice. My first go-round with enabling the local hummingbirds came our first winter with Mr. Hummingway. I wrote about that here, A Bird Called Hummingway, and here,

2012-11-11T16:29:50+00:00 November 11th, 2012|Uncategorized|5 Comments

It’s the Time of the Season … for Bird Noir

Without even a wisp of autumn air, Seattle dipped from summer to storm, from a prolonged swelter to a premature December gray, leaving me damp and unrequited. In eighty days without droplets and dew, the Emerald city turned topaz and so dry that even the pigeons, normally preening under nimbostratus showers, looked haggard for the heat. All I wanted was autumn -- and a crisp Washington apple and, maybe, a flight of leaves and a [...]

2012-11-04T01:18:50+00:00 November 4th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

No Frozen Hummingbirds, Please

In the winter of 2011, my hummingbird nectar froze into a giant lifesaver of an ice cube. I'm a Californian which means I'm used to nectar that ferments into birdie moonshine after a few days in the sun. But last year we migrated north to Seattle ... at the same time Anna's Hummingbirds decide not to migrate south. So, I learned what it means to be a committed nectar provider and a hummingbird enabler. We [...]

2012-01-06T00:42:30+00:00 January 6th, 2012|Birds|0 Comments

Crow in Snow

The above American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) was standing behind a short wall with snow on top -- and he had a backdrop of snow which created the effect of this portrait. Crow flying against a background of snow-covered trees -- and kicking snow off her feet as she takes off. This pair of crows was sitting on a snowy branch above me. They were mumbling things to each other, the way crows do and taking [...]

2011-02-28T11:52:34+00:00 February 28th, 2011|Uncategorized, Weather|0 Comments

A Bird Called Hummingway

He was christened Mr. Hummingway by a dear friend who likes birds but is ambivalent about interaction with birds. She had formative experiences that made her view birds as flapping missiles who get tangled in your hair, dive bomb you, or suddenly ditch into the open window of your moving car on a freeway. Those are actually experiences she had as a young person. I was surprised and excited when she offered to put a [...]

2011-01-14T22:09:59+00:00 January 14th, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Freezing to the Tune of Willie Nelson

We went shooting ice pics today . . . on the tundra of frozen Seattle. On the way, I got hooked on this Willie Nelson cover, thanks to a new mix from my favorite pop musicologist, colloquially known as Dodels. First, Willie. Then, ice. I will always think of my frosted, immovable fingers when I listen to this song.

2011-01-01T21:48:31+00:00 January 1st, 2011|Weather|2 Comments