Blog Posts by Ann Linnea

Weather Watching

With a 40-mile view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains I love watching the weather. All kinds of clouds gallop across the Pacific Ocean and fly over the mountain tops  to produce our maritime weather. As a citizen scientist, I am part of a team of volunteer weather watchers and measurers: www.cocorahs.org. Our information provides important supplemental backup for the National Weather Service forecasts. Anyone can participate. All it takes is a $30 ...
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Toddler Hummingbird

A young rufuous hummingbird (left) learned to drink from our feeder today and lucky me got to witness it. This morning while making tea I noticed a hummer fly in and sit right next to another hummer who was feeding. "Hmmm," I thought. "Hummingbirds generally fight each other, not sit together." Then the one who flew in began to beg for food from the other. It put its little beak up in the air ...
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Snow in May?

At first glance, it looks like we got a light dusting of snow here on Whidbey Island in May. Unlike my disgruntled friends and family members in Minnesota who DID get snow on May 2, this white substance by the side of the road is white flowers from our beautiful madrone trees. The madrone tree, Arbutus menziesii, is found all along the west coast of North America. In spring it creates these white flowers and ...
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Farewell Orion

The most spectacular constellation in the northern winter sky is Orion, the Hunter (named after a god from Greek mythology). By mid-April this constellation is only visible in the western sky for a couple of hours after sunset. No longer the spectacular overhead cluster of stars with its belt and sword, it is making its exodus from prominence in the sky just as winter fades. In Canada and higher elevations and latitudes in the ...
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Nature is Everywhere

Nature is everywhere. My 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter, Sasha Ann, watched her mother carefully remove a bee from the window of their LA apartment using a jar and a piece of paper. Lesson: Bees are good. Don't hurt them. They belong outdoors. An hour later Sasha, I, and Grandma Nina (the photographer) were playing in a park when she wandered out of the playground onto a nearby sports field. Suddenly she stooped to point out ...
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Tasmania—southern temperate rain forest

“Where is Tasmania?” asked my Minnesota parents when I Skype called their land line. “It sounds like a fairy land.” It is a fairy land of gorgeous coasts, wild rivers, and high mountains that is an island state of Australia—the last significant land mass before Antarctica. I am spending a few days vacationing in Cradle Mountain National Park here in Tasmania between Australian work assignments. Hiking from 900 meters up through the southern ...
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Northern Winters

In the northern latitudes of North America winter has many faces—from snow and ice to early blooming plants. I have made journeys from one coast to the next and into the middle these last two months. What intrigues me is how many ordinary people are wondering about the changing face of winter in their area. Folks in the northeastern U.S. who have recently been hard hit by snowstorms and Hurricane Sandy are seriously talking about ...
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The Outing

My little corgi dog, Gracie, and I often take a late afternoon walk to the beach. Last week on a cold, rainy winter day we trotted to the top of the community stairs. I was busy unlocking the gate, as we have done hundreds of times.  All of a sudden Gracie started barking. I looked up thinking another neighbor might be coming up the stairs, but I could not see anyone. Her barking got more ...
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The Elder

This elder is generations old, twisted and gnarled by its journey of adaptation. Steadfast in its determination to live and hold place on this precious earth, it reminds me of my own father. I am just back from my trip to Minnesota to be of support as he fights to recover from a stroke. The hearts of both the old bristlecone and my 86-year-old Dad pulse on. Other bristlecones in the high mountain grove ...
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Small Creatures

On the last day of 2012 I headed out with my backpack to spend a quiet night with the earth to give gratitude for the year past and to set intention for the year coming. Temperatures were slightly above freezing. There was a light drizzle. Darkness fell at 5 p.m. and daylight rose about 7 a.m. The last creature I heard before total darkness and the first one at daybreak was the tiny golden-crowned kinglet ...
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