Shades of Brown

I sometimes think of In a Dark Time as my journal. For instance, I often use it to remember when something happened during the last 10 years. But looking back at this month, it’s clear I haven’t recorded some of the best days of December.

That’s because I resolved not to post another entry until I finished my write-up on Crow Planet, which, of course, I’d finished reading at least a month earlier.

Thankfully, weather-wise, December has been an unusually good month and though I resolved not to post any entries until I finished Crow Planet, I wasn’t about to stay inside on a sunny day even if I hadn’t finished writing a blog entry. These pictures were actually taken on the last day of November.

You know it’s winter here in the Pacific Northwest not by the amount of snowfall, but by the number of brown ferns you see in the woods.

Dying Fern

I think these shots actually reveal the complex structure of ferns better than shots taken in Spring because it’s hard not to get distracted by the brilliant greens.

Another sign of winter here is an increased number of birds. Because the weather here is relatively mild, birds come down from the mountains and from northern latitudes. If the experts are to believed, the large flocks of robins seen here in the winter are northern residents, not the native species who spend most of the year here.


With all the brown foliage and an increased number of predators, it’s a good thing most of the small songbirds are cloaked in brown, like this small Song Sparrow hiding in the reeds that surround the pond.

Song Sparrow

Though the lack of leaves makes it easier to see these LBJ’s (Little Brown Jobs), it’s still tough getting your camera to focus on the bird, not the small branches they flit back and forth on.

Bewick's Wren

Out of the dozen or so photos I took of this Bewick’s Wren which was only a few feet away from me only two turned out because so many were out of focus.

In the winter you sometimes have to look harder to find birds and their colors tend towards the browns, to match what little foliage there is, but I’m quite fond of small songbirds birds in their subdued colors and “blast-beruffled plumage.”

4 thoughts on “Shades of Brown”

  1. A Happy New Year to you and your family Loren. I love LBJ’s and think that they really come into their own at this time of the year. Little wrens skulk under the hedge outside my kitchen window, their tell-tale tails giving them away. Here’s to another year of blogging and of your marvellous photographs.

  2. Nice stuff Loren especially the wren – how you can tell the differences in sparrows is beyond me though – even with a guide book they all look the same to me 🙂

    1. Song sparrows are much easier to tell if you hear their song, that plus the fact that they’re the most common sparrow around here.

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