Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Butterflies and Squirrels and No See-Ums: Another one written at our cabin. We went for a small stroll after supper. On the way back, looking into the lowering sun, we could see batches (herds, gatherings, whatever) of midges about fifteen feet off the ground, dancing the dance of life or something. Indians call them"no see-ums." There was a butterfly, probably a tiger swallowtail, fluttering around aimlessly, at least that’s how I think of them. An article in Smithsonian Magazine belied that, telling of the migration of Monarchs from the east coast to California or Mexico. Anyway, my butterfly reached probably an altitude of twenty-five feet, then sailed for probably forty feet. I have never seen a butterfly sail like that before. They are always flying, wings in motion, flitting from place to place, changing direction constantly. His wings held perfectly still he just sailed. Finally we arrived back at the cabin and reaching the front corner of the porch, we were greeted by a squirrel of some sort. After forty plus years of coming to this place I thought we were well acquainted with the wildlife. Squirrels have always been golden-mantled ground squirrels. This guy wasn’t. Dark gray, almost black above and red underneath. And a brave little guy. He gave us stare for stare before he scampered under the porch. A small research question for me. What species is he? Last night we searched for nighthawks over the river. They are sometimes seen at dusk catching high flying insects. They are easier to hear than to see. There are not many. We used to see lots of them. In the 70s spraying with DDT killed many of them. Not directly but their eggs were soft and none hatched. They were gone for many years and now we only see one or two when we go out at dusk.


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