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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group, a place where everyone is welcome to note the observations you have made of the natural world around you. Insects, weather, fish, climate, birds and/or plants: all are worthy additions to the bucket. Ask questions if you have them and someone here may well have an answer. All we ask is that you let us know where you're located, as close as you're comfortable revealing.
Seattle. April 30, 2013.
I can walk the Forest's paths in street shoes again. They're the old street shoes, given that I still have to maneuver around the remains of winter's muddiest places, but the mud boots have been living under the passenger seat of the car for a week now. They'll find their summer place in the back closet when I can walk in sandals.
The view from the stump has greened remarkably since early April.
View from the Stump. April 27, 2013.
It looked like this just a month ago.
View from the Stump. April 2, 2013.
The canopy has not quite closed yet. The light filtering through new Big-leaf Maple and Alder leaves is still bright on my shoulders. I look down as I walk, overwhelmed at how everything changes from day to day. Sword Fern. Lady Fern. Bracken Fern. Wood Fern. Past the fiddlehead stage now and brushing damp on my knees as I pass. Deer Fern just beginning to unfurl. Deer Fern is always the last to unfurl. There is too much happening now to describe it all.
Down below the Stump, in the place where Grandmother Tree used to grow, the wettest places have come thick with Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora) blossoms. I am wary passing by the nettles, but need to crouch down and smell the Fringecups. To some, they smell of socks, forgotten under the bed for a week or more. To me their fragrance is of the keenest of lilies, underlain by moss. The time of their fragrance is too short. I am old, and greedy enough to risk the nettles' sting.
Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora). April 27, 2013.
Bill-the-Dog has wandered off the trail. He has become less interested in sight and sound as he has aged, preferring to follow his nose. Perhaps smell is the keenest of his senses now. He doesn't notice Eagle's shadow passing across the forest floor next to him, nor does he seem to hear the cries from the nest tree up the ridge as he once would have done. I have to walk over to him to catch his attention, to give him the hand signals we have agreed on over the years, but close this time so he can see what I mean. He gives up his interest and follows me. The cries from the nest increase in intensity as we traverse the slope up towards the nest tree, and I catch just a glimpse as Eagle flies over us again, rising above the nest to make a perfect stall. He does not even flap his wings as he lands, carrying something dark in his claws. The nest falls silent.
I'll be in after about noon, then away until dinner time PDT. Let us know where you are and what's been happening there.