Archive for the Oregon Natural History Category

[photo] Have You Seen This Bee? BECAUSE SHE’S AWESOME!!!

Posted in Bees, digital photos, Oregon Natural History, SE PDX Photos on June 7, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
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Earlier today we were at Tony’s Garden Supply. This is a wonderful nursery near SE 104th and Holgate Boulevard and is the kind of hometown garden center I remember growing up … locally owned, very very friendly and very very knowledgeable.

We got a Yummy Mix pepper plant, a petunia (the really pretty kind with the dark, dark blue, almost indigo stripes), a big pot to do some transplanting in, and got some advice on how to save The Wife™’s Italian flat-leaved parsley plants. Free protips; you can’t do better!

But it’s a riot of color, and plants wontonly dripping with pollen, and where there’s pollen … we kind of hope these days, from what we’ve heard, it’s kind of grim for them … there’s bees. And I hated bees as a kid, because stingy-stingy-owie-owie, but I’m an adult and I have maybe a better understanding of bee boundaries. And I saw honey bees and bumble bees, and since I read maybe a little too much news I fret over the fact that there aren’t so many bees now. But they were chillaxin’, lazily-but-efficiently picking up pollen from the flowering plants at the front gate.

I’d been wanting to pict a bee for an awful long time. They are fascinating creatures. So I pointed and shot and hoped, and reviewed the photos, and look at this, will you!

Not only did I get a fabulously clear picture of afore-intimated apian, I so lucked that I caught the wings, momentarily, at rest. And, I’m a leg man … and check out them shanks, yo, just brimming with pollen.

I am proud of this picture. And that is one awesome bee.

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[pdx] Come To The River: See the Missoula Floods Without Getting Wet Or Killed

Posted in Cascadia, Missoula Floods, Oregon Natural History on April 22, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
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Spend any time looking into Oregon prehistory, you’ll find out about the Missoula Floods. They went a long way toward making the Willamette Valley the way it is.

Goes like this: between 13 and 15 kiloyears ago, when the last Ice Age was waning, a glacial dam across the Clark Fork created a great sprawling lake in the mountains of what is today western Montana called Lake Missoula. Sources I’ve read say it held at least 500 cubic miles worth of water. Glaciers being what they are during a period of melting about twice every century, that dam would give way, and the waters would gush across what is now eastern Washington, scour out the Columbia Gorge, and back up into the Willamette Valley, making great temporary lakes along the way (the filling of the Valley was called Lake Allison).

This happened dozens of times over that 2,000 year span. And, as a result, we have thick, rich, beautiful agricultural soil here in the Willamette, while Washington just gets the channeled scablands. In as much as Washington also gets the hot tech companies and professional baseball, I think it about evens.

Along the esplanade, alongside OMSI, is the above plaque. Embiggening it should give one enough of a view of the graphic to impress. The artist’s conception is, of course, of the Missoula flood at its greatest height, if Portland had been there at the time.

The floods rose to a depth of more than 400 feet, it’s estimated. How deep is that? Well, a picture is one thing, a bit of reality, another. The above plaque is set into a worderfully-designed kiosk-like object, as seen here:

Those two tubes, on on each side, are sights. The end is specially covered so that, sighting down them, you’ll see just what would be left above the waves. And just what is that?

The upper 6 or so floors of the Wells Fargo Tower, and just a few condo units at the KOIN Center.

Oregon … things do look different here.