A Frozen Forest Stream

Before we begin this post, let me again apologize for my absence in the blogosphere during the last few weeks -  a family medical emergency sent us into a tail spin. Now all is hopefully well and good, so let's talk about plants...this time, frozen plants, and birds at Audubon.

 A light dusting of snow capped off a week of below freezing temperatures in Portland (this photo is my front garden), the coldest it's been in decades. Bah, humbug. So rather than lament the loss of some of my plants (which will have to wait for Spring to determine total losses), David and I went out and about the past couple of weekends to get some fresh air. First up is Forest Park here in Portland, specifically the Lower Macleay Trail, which is a short hike leading up to the Audubon Society headquarters.

It's difficult to tell by this lighting, but that white - that's snow and ice...the stream was frozen over. Very pretty but brrrrr....not much seemed alive this day, even the tough native Western Sword Ferns were looking fried.

This shot makes it a bit more obvious. Pretty!

Although it was sub-freezing, it was good to get outside and breathe the fresh air. Nice to see the green of the forest, even if it was drooping.

The mosses were especially welcoming this cold day.

We made it up to the Audubon Society of Portland where they were having their holiday open house. We met a few of the education birds, here's Lily the American Kestrel. 

Lily's tale is a bit sad, but luckily she is in good hands now. She was raised by humans and given beef to eat as a baby. Apparently this does not have the nutrients she needs as she would naturally feed on small rodents, reptiles and insects. Her beak was thus malformed due to poor nutrition, plus she's been exposed to people and cannot survive in the wild. Audubon encourages people to call them if a wild bird is found and you have questions about what to do. Most of the time it's best to leave them as a parent is usually nearby if it's a baby bird.

We heard all about Lily's tale via the wonderful volunteer Nancy on hand that day. We also saw Hazel the Northern Spotted Owl and Julio the Great Horned Owl, all great ambassadors for Audubon. In fact, if you are still looking for a great gift to give, a membership to Audubon is a worthy one, it helps to support the care of these and other birds - plus they have a fabulous nature store filled with books, wild bird supplies, local chocolates and coffee, jewelry, children's gifts, stuffed animals, games and much much more. I am grateful for all they do, especially as they introduced me to the Backyard Habitat Certification Program -  a creation of both Audubon Society of Portland and the Columbia Land Trust.

After the cocoa, bird watching and gift-buying at the Audubon store, we headed back down the trail.

The old stone house along the path - 

From the Portland Hiker's Trail Website:
  The Stone House is located at the junction of the Lower Macleay Trail and the Wildwood Trail. It was built as a rest station with bathrooms and running water in the 1930s as a WPA project. It suffered from repeated vandalism, and during the Columbus storm of 1962 resulted in severe damage to the plumbing and the roof. The city decided not repair the building, and instead removed all the fixtures, doors and roof. All that remains is the stone framework.

Thus ends our frozen stream adventure, next up is a visit to our backyard park, Mt. Tabor, another great spot for bird-viewing. We did not see many this day, rather we saw fog, more moss and frozen persimmons.

 On the way, I spotted these...too bad, it looks like it was a good crop for persimmons pre-deep freeze!

Just some pretty Christmas colors...

So Mt. Tabor...It lies somewhere behind that orange house in the mist...I like this particular garden for its grasses. I'll blog more about some neighborhood gardens such as this one another day. For now, let's keep going on up to Mt. Tabor.

 On the way up to the top of Tabor, these pretty purple ornaments caught my eye.

 The path to my favorite tree at the top of Mt. Tabor.

At the top, my favorite tree(s) in Portland, which I blogged about here earlier this fall. At the lower right corner you can just make out these flowers:

 Some flower offerings to the fairies...always something left for them at this tree...really lovely to see. Apparently this tree is magic for other people, too, and that's a comforting thought.

And last but not least, some native Snowberry or Symphoricarpos albus, a deciduous spreading shrub. I have some in my garden and I love it. The white berries seem to float after the leaves have gone and the wildlife appreciates something to eat, even if it's not the birds' very favorite food.

I think next week we should take a tour of Chickadee Gardens plants, to see what still looks good this time of year after the great freeze of 2013.  Thanks again for joining me...what do you do on cold winter days where you cannot garden? We all need a dose of green, even on the dreariest of days.

Happy Holidays to all! 


  1. On cold winter days when I can't garden, I mostly stay indoors. I'm a weather wimp, I really didn't like our recent cold snap. Looking forward to the tour f your own garden.

    1. Oh, Alison, me either. Too cold! Even the de-icing warm thingy in the bird bath had a hard time keeping up with the cold. Looking forward to having you out this summer! Cheers and stay warm...


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