Heart of the Valley

The weather was warm and sunny, perfect for a road trip, so I headed over to the Corvallis area for a little exploring. My first stop was the Jackson-Frazier Wetland. As I strolled the boardwalk I encountered a stalk of gorgeous, vibrant purple flowers. I wasn’t familiar with this plant so I was relieved when the handy interpretive sign provided me the name: Camas (Camassia quamash).

I knew Camas was important as an edible bulb (one that helped save the Lewis and Clark expedition from starvation in 1805) but I had no idea it was that beautiful, too! A preening Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay and a Common Yellowthroat kept me company at the wetland.

My next stop was the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. In all my travels this is my favorite NWR – it is very accessible with lots of trails that meander through a wide variety of habitats. Massive Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana), Fuller’s Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), Wild Oregon Iris (‎Iris tenax), and Elegant Star Tulip (Calochortus elegans) were standouts!

While it wasn’t the birdiest time of day I still enjoyed my afternoon. A brief bobcat sighting was exciting. I will definitely be back for another visit soon!

Oh, My Aching Neck!

First, is the crick in my neck from staring up into the tree tops looking for small, flitting birds. Warbler Neck:


Then comes the strain from peering down at the beach, looking for treasures in the sand. We call it Agate Neck (which doesn’t tell the entire story but sea glass-shell-driftwood-petrified wood-fossil-zeolite-jasper-agate neck doesn’t have quite the same ring to it).


Thank goodness for the neutrally balanced pose called Whale Neck! (Yes, I know, not the best photo but the best one I’ve snapped thus far).