Showing posts from April, 2021

Three "Flavors" of our native Oregon Grape

April and May is the time for Oregon Grape   shrubs to show off their bright yellow flower clusters.  These displays are important nectar sources for our native pollinators...including hummingbirds!  In midsummer, dark purple to black berries will adorn these shrubs.  Important food for First Nations peoples, and still enjoyed as a sweet treat today by many!  We have three species of Oregon Grape here in the northwest:  Dull or Low Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa) lies close to the ground, has 15 to 17 leaflets, and has a matte finish to the leaves.  Creeping Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens) despite its name grows more upright and has broad leaflets with greatly reduced marginal prickles.  Tall or Glossy Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquafolium) does indeed grow tall, with 7 to 11 shiny leaflets.  It is the prickliest of the three; but still far less prickly than invasive English Holly (Ilex) which, although superficially similar, always has alternate leaflets compared to Oregon Grape which has opp

April 16 Birding and Owl Prowl

Trillium (Trillium ovatum) is a member of the lily family and is aptly named as the leaves (with parallel veins--a lily family diagnostic), sepals and petals are all grouped in threes.  One of the most showy and beautiful of our spring wildflowers, April is prime time for trillium appreciating so go out and find some and enjoy!  Next week: the three "flavors" of our native Oregon Grape!     The Union Bay Natural area has  been the site of a couple of unusual birds recently: A Mountain Bluebird and a Say's Phoebe have been sighted there!  Let's meet Friday the 16th at 8:00 am in the east parking lot and hopefully we can get a peek at these cool and unusual (for our area) birds.  Also, a few days ago Seward Park hosted a Great Horned Owl (first of the year at that location!) that gave us many views and hoots.  Meet me there Friday at 7:30 pm and we will go Prowling!  Cost is $25.00 per outing and as always, email me to register.  Hope to see you this week!           Ed 

Saturday, April 10th: Birding by Ear in Des Moines and Owl Prowl in Seward

Red-Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) is in full bloom everywhere!  This gorgeous native shrub is an important plant for pollinators and is especially loved by our hummingbirds: both our resident Anna's and our spring migrant Rufous (I saw my first rufous hummer last week!).  Good news for all my friends in the Des Moines Birders...I am leading a birding by ear (plus just general bird watching) outing at Saltwater State Park on Saturday the 10th starting at 8:30 am.  That same night I will be leading an Owl Prowl in Seward Park starting at 7:30 pm.  Please join me by sending an email to register.  Happy April to all!