[Tweeters] Some Spring Things

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Apr 8 08:42:19 PDT 2014


Yesterday it got to 60 degrees in the shade at my parents Port Townsend home, and considerably warmer on the south side of the house, which brought out noticeable numbers of Solitary Paper Wasps, a sign of warmer days to come. These pretty benign wasps ( look like a big slender yellowjacket with long dangling rear legs) make neato chambered paper nest's up in the house eaves.

I was excited about that, and almost said something to my folks as we looked out the south window at lunch, but then I stopped myself just in time. You see my dear old dad upon noticing such an event would immediately blast the dear bugs with the nearest can of bug poison. My dad never met a garden poison he didn't like. They say that the nut doesn't fall far from the tree,(true in some ways) but this nature nut has rolled somewhat up to higher moral ground in the Respect for Nature Department.

Escaping down to the nearby beach later, I was thrilled to see spring bird changes. First of all, a Horned Grebe in full breeding regalia. Wow.

Then, on the jetty around the boat basin, I spotted about a half dozen Black-bellied Plover's in varying degrees of plumage, one having achieved full-blown black-bellied wonder. The french impressionist painter Renoir once defended black as "the queen of colors" and used it quite effectively in his work. I imagine Renoir, upon seeing a Black-bellied Plover might say "Oui!, I rest my case" I just threw in that french word because it's one of the few I know, having learned french, like many americans, from watching Pepe le Pew cartoons. Anyhoo, nobody makes black look better than those plovers.

With all the bugs out, I zipped out to the beach by the lighthouse hoping to see some interesting "sand bugs" out there, but it was too cool by then. I did see some especially tiny flowers in the sand though - one of my favorites Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora) with their brilliant blue, purple-y flowers, the whole plant only about an inch tall. It's a classic little spring perennial of dryish open "balds", as a botanist might say, in our Puget Sound lowlands.

Also it was nice to see some Big- head Sedge, not named for it's delusions of grandeur, but for it's particularly large seed head, especially for the size of this beachsand loving plant.

Jeff Gibson
Reporting from
Port Townsend Wa



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