Uncommon flowers at Bloedel

Bloedel Reserve would be well wort the trip if there wasn’t a single exotic plant to be found, but I’ll have to admit that seeing flowers I’ve never seen before adds to the enjoyment of the trip.  In my next life I’ll actually learn the name of all these new species, but for now I just enjoy seeing them for the first time.

After all, a rose by any other name would be just as beautiful.

Personally, I’m only interested in knowing the name of a flower if I’m interested in buying it for my own garden, which is why I captured the name of the orchid used in this beautiful planting.

I would never have guessed that any  kind of orchid could thrive in the Pacific Northwest.

This “trillium” which must be three times as large as our native Trillium.  

I was amazed that Wikipedia actually lists 50 different varieties of Trillium. 

Spring at Bloedel Preserve

It’s always a little sad when the overwintering birds leave for their breeding grounds, but, luckily, flowers that have been dormant all Winter suddenly Spring-forth.  Point Defiance Park is certainly as good a place as anywhere to see flowers, but I must admit that on a sunny day I’m more apt to drive to Bloedel Reserve.  

There’s no wrong time to visit the reserve, but Spring is probably my favorite time to visit.  Bloedel Reserve has a magical blend of common plants, both native and imported, and rare plants I’ve never seen anywhere else.  

Walking across the meadow we were greeted by these cheerful purple bells 

and this single stemmed beauty, which I suspect must have been planted, though it certainly looked “natural.”

Just before the lake we encountered a fairly common, but striking, azalea.

As we neared the Bloedel residence we saw several yellow Rhododendrons,

an uncommon, but not exactly rare, color for a Rhodie.  

Spread out over an area dominated by open meadows and old-growth forest, if you were new to the garden you’d probably swear these were just part of the natural landscape.  Only a regular visitor would realize that it takes dozens of gardeners to maintain the “natural” look of these gardens.  

The Way to End a Perfect Day

After spending the morning observing the shorebirds at Bottle Beach, I knew that the rest of the day would be anti-climatic, but it would have been a sin to leave the coast at noon on a day as beautiful as that day so we drove up the road to Westport to see what we would find in the harbor. 

We didn’t find anything we haven’t seen in previous trips, but I’ll have to admit that I still enjoy seeing Sea Lions,

even though most fishermen see them as pests and would like to drive them out of the marina.

There’s less hostility towards Harbor Seals,

probably because they eat a lot less fish and are “cuter.”

Finally sighting a Common Loon in breeding plumage

after several fruitless visits this year brought the day to a delightful close.

So Many Birds

I’ve been going to shorebird migrations for several years now and each one still seems as magical as the first one. However, since they only happen for a short period each year, I struggle to identify many of the birds we see.  

I needed to consult my bird guide to be sure that these were Western Sandpipers, not Least Sandpipers, much less Sanderlings in breed plumage.

I think this is a Long-Billed Dowitcher,

but I wouldn’t be shocked if a real bird expert told me it was really a Short-Billed Dowitcher.

I took a lot of shots of this Greater Yellowlegs (I think) in the distance because it was much taller than most of the birds I was seeing, but I didn’t positively identify it as a Greater Yellowlegs until it landed near this Long-Billed Dowitcher.

I really didn’t identify this Red Knot which was with a flock of dowitchers

until I was home in front of my computer.  

I worked hardest to get a good shot of these Black-Bellied Plovers

because they insisted on staying the surf-side of the flocks of shorebirds.  I’m not sure I like them because they are so challenging to photograph or because they’re plumage is so distinctive that it’s impossible to not identify them.