Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Given the incident with the hawk and crows the other day, I thought it appropriate to post some photos of the crows going after one of the adult bald eagles last month.

The eagle was just sitting in the tree, minding its own business, looking around for a morsel or two to eat when the crows started attack it.

Although this is only a partial shot (below) of the bald eagle being chased by a crow, it seemed they were flying together in formation, not at odds with each other.

Me and Mini-Me?

Here’s a picture of the juvenile after it had flown. S/he walked up and down the log, venturing to lean over for a few sips of water.

And lastly, talk about eagle eyes.

Signing off from the Gardener's Roost, until next time...

Friday, August 22, 2008


The final stop on our Alaska cruise was at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It was a fantastic day, and of course there were gazillions of people who came out to enjoy the gardens in bloom.

It isn’t unusual to see Orcas (killer whales) on the boat ride to Victoria. This is a shot of an adult with a calf.

Butchart Gardens is a boat or plane ride away from Seattle, costs a few sheckles, but worth a visit.


Another fantastic garden to visit, and touted as the best Japanese-style garden in the Seattle area, is the Kubota Gardens in Renton. There is no fee, but donations are welcome, for this oasis away from the city.


How about a bonsai garden visit? Also free (donation welcome) is the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in Federal Way on the Weyerhaeuser Company campus. The Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden is also there, entry for a small fee. When the rhodies are in bloom, there is no better place to be.


If you’re into roses, you absolutely must see the Rose Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Both Washington Park’s International Rose Test Garden and the Peninsula Park Rose Garden.

And now, my gardens are calling to me to do a little late-summer, early-autumn cleanup and weeding, because for some reason weeds tend to grow best here!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Jet-lag Greetings to you!

I’ve just returned from another trip back east. While it was wonderful to see relatives, some I haven’t seen for almost 20 years, the occasion for it was very sad as we said good-bye to my uncle who was laid to rest. Another day, I visited my aunt and she shared many old photos of them growing up while telling both touching and humorous tales of their youth. Here’s one of the pictures she had of me living the good (and spoiled) life in Florida:

It’s good to be back home to the Gardener’s Roost again. While I was unpacking the other day I heard quite a clamor outside. From the deck I could just barely see that crows were assaulting some creature on the beach nearby. Since I had seen the juvenile and adult eagles roost in the trees there, I thought I’d check further into the ruckus.

As I approached the noise, the scene that unfolded reminded me of the movie ‘Birds’. I could see the crows repeatedly diving at and hitting something on the ground while others swarmed over it. The objects on the ground were a single mass, writhing and rolling like lava bubbling to the surface, black and red, over and over. As I drew near, I slowed, trying not to disturb the natural order of events. However, the crows began to scatter to the branches above, continuing to holler at the mass on the ground. Then I looked and saw brown feathers, wings spread on the ground, moving awkwardly. I thought it was the juvenile and continued to approach, aware that I could be interfering with nature’s course.

Once I was within 10 feet of the creatures, they separated, hopped, hobbled, and finally struggled to ascend to some low limbs above. Having separated, I saw the ‘mass’ was a hawk and a crow that had tangled and danced for so long. The hawk had pinned and spread its wings to cover the prey, a crow that looked to be as big as the hawk itself. It seems quite amazing and gutsy for that hawk, but also an error in judgment based on the savage attacks by the swarm of crows that came to the rescue of their brethren.

I guess I came to the rescue too, but for which animal?


Friday, August 8, 2008


First, the big news on our juvenile eagle—s/he has flown! Since arriving home from the trip to Alaska, I have seen him/her on the nest, and fly over the house to land in a cedar tree near the lake. I continue to listen for its call, and train my eyes to the location of the crows anytime they gather and squawk, since they seem to do that whenever any raptor approaches their nest/s. By tracing the crows’ noisy racket, I have found eagles, hawks, and osprey on different occasions.

In the meantime, a slight digression to post some info and pictures from my recent trip, and then I’ll get back to garden and bird news in future posts.

It was a lovely time on the cruise up the Inland Passage to Alaska, although I am happy to be back on terra firma. The trip would have been perfect if we could skip over the first full day’s cruising.

Here’s how the trip went…

We left the port of Seattle Sunday afternoon, headed to sea to the droning of the engines, full of anticipation, unaware of what the next 24 hours held.

Seattle skyline

Smooth sailing

The next day found us approaching , and in, the Hecate Strait.

As we progressed northward, the waters became angry, the wind screamed across the deck, and the visibility was nil. Sitting at the dinner table, we started to notice the boat leaning to the side more and more. A huge gust of wind seemed to lift us and carry the listing ship across the water for at least 10 minutes. During that time, glasses crashed, dishes fell, and people flew about. As I made my way to the room, friends likened me to a starfish clinging to the walls - very funny now that we’re safe and sound.

View from the dinner table, just before giving my impression of a starfish on the walls

The TV in the room had a station where you could monitor the progress of the boat and all the information about the weather, seas, winds, etc. After seeing the winds progress to what is called ‘Wind Force 10/Storm’, I was curious what this meant exactly. It is a measurement on the ‘Beaufort scale’,

and 'Wind Force 10' is a Whole gale/Storm, with seas to about 30 feet, winds to 63 miles per hour, and extremely limited visibility. Here’s the description: Very high waves. The sea surface is white and there is considerable tumbling. Visibility is reduced.

That was an understatement.
The pictures below just don’t do the experience justice.

From the back of the boat toward the bridge

After that, the rest of the cruise was lovely. There were the most incredible views of glaciers and icebergs, and fun times at the cities where we stopped.

Tracy Arm

Glacial ice in Tracy Arm

Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau

Tourists taking over Skagway, AK

Serene Seattle

Overall, I guess you could say the Inland Passage Rocked. ~Aerie-el