for context, see daily account #15. this was a large black crow that i caught sitting on what i think is a douglas fir tree outside my house. a number of them came out because we put some food (english muffin) outside, which attracted these crows and a few eastern gray squirrels. the crows would fly and sometimes hop over, grab some food- not before looking around suspicously, and then fly it away to consume it.
for context, please see daily account #15. this is an eastern gray squirrel eating some english muffin in my backyard. i saw a few climbing around plum trees and western red cedars in my yard before they came down to eat food. two of them grabbed food and ran away to eat it, and one stayed, undisturbed by me, nibbling away at her grains. they seem to be nearly as friendly in residential areas (at least near my house) as on campus, as i remember feeding them from my hands when i was growing up.
for context, see daily account #15. i have seen this plant in a number of places, and it has taken over the entire back portion of my yard, which we don't really tend to. there is some bamboo and plum trees back there, and one of the only low-growing plants there is this peculiar looking one, which i have definitely seen elsewhere but have no idea where to start identifying it. some inches up from the base there are darker, rhododendron-like leaves that fan out from a central point, and then the stem goes through the middle and shoots out these networks of little green umbrella-like leaves with tiny star-shaped flowers on each.
update: i found it in a book!
for context, see daily account #15. i know that this particular alyssum was planted, but i documented it because i have seen alyssum growing wild near sidewalks and even on sandier substrates near beaches and in other parts of the city. i know because i always pick some to smell it- it has a beautifully sweet fragrance, and i see it most often in white, purple, or some combination of the two. i learned that it is native to the mediterranean region, but has been naturalized everywhere else.
for context, see daily account #15. we have over ten species of rhododendrons in our house, but this one i identified as Rhododendron ponticum for its violet-purple flowers. i saw bumblebees going at them around 10 am this morning, as they were in full bloom and it was warming up to be a sunny day.
for context, see daily account #15. these violets were not currently blooming, but i see them take over patches of my parents' garden every year. the small purple flowers that come out exactly resemble the ones for Viola odorata. the leaves are shaded and heart-shaped, and they tend to take over areas that have shade and that are home to other weeds, such as stinky bob and dandelions.
for context, see daily account #15. i'm fairly certain this is a different species of horsetail from the more common Equisetum arvense (common horsetail) which has much narrow and more dense leafing. this horsetail had rather sparse, long leaves (do they have a different name than leaves?) that came out in opposite branching in groups of ten. the specimens i found growing under a rhododenron tree in my house were probably only 8-10" tall.
for context see daily account #15. we have numerous foxglove plants and just confirmed that we've never planted a single one. but they're so beautiful that you can't get rid of them all! they are usually found in bunches in different parts of the yard, growing anywhere from 2-6' long. they are currently flowering. i didn't see bees or any other pollinators in the flowers this morning, but it may have been too cold.
for context see Daily Account #15. i saw bumblebees pollinating rhododendron trees that were in full bloom. i don't know what kind of bees they are, so i looked up "bumblebees found in north america" and ventured to say it was Bombus rufocinctus based on the region it's found and the distinctive, thick orange band on its lower half. if you have any other suggestions, i'd be happy to know!
for context, see Daily Account #15. the buttercup this most closely resembled to me was the creeping buttercup, Ranunculus repens, although there are roughly 600 species in that genus. i saw these buttercups growing in numerous parts of the yard, usually in close proximity to other plants- either grasses or otherwise. these were packed in with some stinky bob and poppies.
for context, see Daily Account #15. while lemon balm is often planted by people intentionally, i have seen it spread to places where it is not welcome- i don't know if it is officially an invasive species but i think it acts as one. wikipedia actually says that "In North America, Melissa officinalis has escaped cultivation and spread into the wild." these plants were growing in a large cluster in a more unkempt part of a garden bed, and when you break the leaves they have a strong, pleasant lemony scent to them.
for context, see Daily Account #15. today i decided to walk around my parents' backyard to see what wild or native plants i could find, since they have a huge yard with a number of overgrown areas. one of the plants i saw growing near some sword fern and a few other intentionally planted plants was pacific bleeding heart. they were a pale pink and currently flowering.