Jul 28 2012

Mystery Flora and UFD Double Header

I promised you a two-fer today, and by West Coast standards, it is still today. See? I keep my promises sometimes! Sorta.

So here’s flora: little star-like flowers with a purple stripe, gracing the trails on the summit of Marys Peak in Oregon. I see flowers like these everywhere round the Northwest, and you may have identified something like these, but if so, I can’t remember when or what they are.

Mystery Flower

When we have enough entries, I might put together an e-book. That would be pretty awesome, actually – an ebook full of flowers you lot have identified, which we can all download and use for things like field identification and bragging rights. I might very well do it in the future. So if you want it to be less Northwest-centric and have a few mystery flowers of your own, you’d best send me some of your unidentified beauties. Put “Mystery Flora” in the subject line and send to dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.

Right. On to Unidentified Flying Dinosaurs (which we should also do a book on someday). This is both a joy and a fuuuck. We saw it whilst driving down a road up near Quartzville.


You have to keep in mind, I’d spent the entire trip trying to catch sight of a bird, and all I’d gotten to that point was tittering from the trees. The birds in Oregon are worse than the ones on Washington for staying hidden while lustily singing at the top of their little lungs to let me know on no uncertain terms that they’re there but they ain’t gonna give me the satisfaction of a photo. Little bastards. One particularly beautiful and strange one flew overhead at Marys Peak, timing its flight so that it would be long gone by the time I got the camera aimed. So when we saw this one running down the road, I stopped the car and got out as quickly as I could – just in time to see the baby bird following it dive into a ditch. Fuuuck.

But at least Mama was too busy sussing out us potential threats to realize, “Aha! That’s Dana, with a camera – I should go hide and then start singing at her before she gets the camera turned on!”

And then, just when I’d snapped the first photo and was getting better positioned for a second, she started for the underbrush.


And I was all like, “NOOOOO!!!!!!!!” and she said, “Okay, fine, just one more then, make it snappy, you freak, I’ve got a kid to track down.”


And verily, I rejoiced.

It’s a good thing you lot have been sending me UFDs, the way the ones up here treat me like I’m radioactive. Maybe I’ll try putting on a birdseed suit next time I’m out, but I suspect that will only lead to becoming coated in squirrels. And raccoons. And corvids and seagulls, because they have no shame when it comes to food. I’ll have to make sure someone’s following me with a video camera, because the resultant war over my body should be hi-larious. Help me avoid that, and send me more UFDs, please! Same email address as above, o’ course, only put “UFD” in the subject line.

Also, does anyone know where you can purchase birdseed suits? Cause I would totally wear one anyway.


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  1. 1

    UFD: I’m thinking a blue grouse, of the sooty grouse subspecies.


    Flora: No idea!

  2. 2

    Forgot to mention on the UFD: Female of the species.

  3. 3

    Flora: Columbian Windflower, Anenome Deltoidea looks close but perhaps no cigar.


  4. 4

    The flowers are a local miner’s lettuce, Claytonia sibirica.

  5. 5

    Mystery Flower – Miner’s-lettuce (Claytonia sibirica)

  6. 6

    Dang Susannah, beat me to it! My book says its also called candyflower.

  7. 7

    UFD – Either Dusky or Sooty Grouse. I’m leaning towards Trebuchet’s choice of Sooty.

  8. 8

    I based my choice of sooty grouse solely on the location: according to Wikipedia, dusky is from the Rockies, sooty from the West Coast.

  9. 9

    Oregon does have both Dusky and Sooty, but Quartzville area would be Sooty.

  10. 10
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    We have a much cuter miner’s lettuce. Genuinely tasty, too.


    Yes, the leaf really does grow completely around the stem. Well, biologically, it’s a pair of leaves, but since they’re fused, you can’t tell by looking that it’s not just the one, perforated in the middle to let the stem up.

    The flowers are miniscule, not showy like the sibirica species.

  11. 11
    Rowan vet-tech

    @10, That’s the type of miner’s lettuce down where I am. Tastes like a sweeter spinach and I can never get enough of the stuff.

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