Tulip Season

The first of the 2011 tulips — I love this time of year (in spite of the lingering gray) for the parade of cheap tulips and the hope of occasional clear mountain views.

This is our 7th winter in Seattle (can you believe it’s been so long?) and it feels like the seasons go something like: (starting in late August) preliminary gray, fall leaves, deep gray and mist, Thanksgiving & Christmas, primroses (2 or 3 weeks in January), tulips & mountains, deep grey and moss, spring (this is short, too, a few weeks max), and then vivid long-day summer, before the cycle begins again.

Aside from summer, which is obvious in its appeal, the mountain & tulip season is probably my favorite time of year out here – so much potential and building of momentum after a period of subdued indoor hibernation. This is the time of year when everyone starts finding outdoor activities even if it’s drizzling a little, and the twilight almost lasts long enough so that the first part of the drive home is still under deep blue (rather than black) skies. Plus my little 10-for-$7 tulip muses to speed the winter along.

Bird identification quiz

I had to grab the camera on the way out the door to work, since both of these guys were just hanging out on the fence right outside the kitchen window. Any help? What are they?

Bird #1: We’ve been seeing these ones for years – bigger than a robin, not as big as a stellar/blue jay. (For some reason, I’d been calling them mockingbirds in my head but I looked those up and they’re not even remotely similar. So now I’m at a loss.)

And Bird #2: we’ve been seeing these a lot for the last few weeks – nice color coordination with the neighbor’s deck and grill. About 2/3 the size of a robin.

Otherwise, we have a zillion little chickadee/sparrow/wren type things flitting around too, now that the feeder is up. The squirrels spend a lot of time beneath it combing through the seed shells, but I haven’t seen them manage to disrupt the feeder itself. (Victory? Or too soon to declare?)