Archive for December, 2012


Happy New Year 2013


May the new year be truly happy and peaceful for you! Life and change can be troubling at times as we move through the transitions that come our way. Celebrate the new beginnings for 2013 and let it snow!!! Ok, some of you hate snow, but I had to get it in there to hightlight the beautiful, intriguing work of Kenneth Libbrecht.


Photography: SwittersB vs. the Sapsucker

I just wrote about this pesky bird, the red headed (breasted/bellied…I don’t know) sapsucker, that has been annoying/damaging my Sea Berry (Botanica) tree in the back yard.

Yet again, this morning, I looked out to see the Sapsucker/Hummingbird combo working over my tree! Ok, enough is enough. Out I went armed with…well hell I couldn’t find anything to arm myself with. I grabbed a Tiki light stuck in the ground near the tree. I waved it, I poked toward the bird and the rascal looked at me and moved a few feet higher, out of range, while continuing pecking away at the bark. I could see the damage that had already been done. Hmm?

I didn’t want to hurt the bird, but I mean come on. The folks, where I bought the tree, said the tree was impervious to pests (“Pests & Diseases: Sea Berry is bothered by no significant pests or diseases in North America.”) But, they may have not considered the Sapsucker. This Sea Berry tree has fed countless birds through the Winter with its bright orange berries. The Sapsucker apparently goes for blood or sap. I will have to admit to securing some sort of projectile and scaring away the bird, but I have no doubts he returned as soon as I closed the back door and headed off to work.

I seriously need to go fishing. I haven’t been out since October and this shows it!





Photography: the sapsucker and the hummingbird

The other day, I glanced out the back windows of my house looking for that Blue Heron I had seen the week before. No heron. Instead, I did see a ‘woodpecker’ banging away on a Russian ornamental tree. How interesting I thought. I will see if I can snap a photo or two of this bird. I grabbed the camera and snuck outside. Creeping along toward the tree I took shots of the bird. What I also saw was a hummingbird flitting about the woodpecker…a red headed woodpecker.

I was shooting into the low, bright light, but I got a few shots. I decided to research the woodpecker…the red headed one and low and behold I discovered the sapsucker. What a pest this bird is apparently. Those neat rings of holes around the tree are a bad thing for the tree, but not for the sapsucker or hummingbird it appears. 

I took 22 shots in all, but not one shows that flittering hummingbird. The sapsucker was unconcerned by my presence unlike the heron the week before. 

RED Head WPkr SB

xRed Head Wpkr 2 SB

“A sapsucker’s tongue is adapted with stiff hairs for collecting the sap. Red-Breasted Sapsuckers visit the same tree multiple times, drilling holes in neat horizontal rows. A bird will leave and come back later, when the sap has started flowing from the holes. Repeated visits over an extended period of time can actually kill the tree. The insects attracted to the sap are also consumed, and not only by sapsuckers. Rufous Hummingbirds, for example, have been observed to follow the movements of sapsuckers and take advantage of this food source.” (X)



Merry Christmas…Happy Holidays

Call it what you will and fight the spirit all you want, but this is a wonderful time of year for all the right reasons. At the core, one knows what it is all about whether surrounded by loved ones or alone….Merry Christmas and I do wish all of you a pleasant, safe and happy holiday season!!!

fish-bench-snow Christmas SwittersB


Mayan Calendar Wrong?

Just as in today, the Mayan Calendar Administrator, a government bureaucrat, botched his job. Thank goodness prognosticators of doom were wrong then and hopefully wrong now. 


Graphic from GenWhyMovement



Hot Sauce…For Real (Mad Dog 357) Too Much for Me!

Yesterday, at a work holiday luncheon I decided to put a dab of hot sauce on my chili. The bottle had a home made label affixed “this is really hot”. I put maybe a teaspoon of the dark sauce on my chili.

Boy Howdy!!! I doubt I took in more than a pea size quantity on the first bite and for the next hour I was in serious distress. So, if you are one of those freaks that enjoys truly hot sauces then this may well be enjoyable for you. For me, this is the third time in my life that I have entered into that very uncomfortable realm of “shit this is too!!!”. Mad Dog 357 not for the faint of heart!! I should have paid attention to that home made label. Somewhere in the room was someone with a wicked sense of humor watching my distress. I would say one bottle should last someone a decade!!


“This sauce will blow you away! 357,000 Scoville certified KILLER sauce! Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce – will shoot your mouth down in flames. One hit and this sauce will blow you away! Finally, a super hot sauce that tastes like real chile peppers. This sauce is blended with ingredients that makes a sauce fit to take your breath away. About five seconds after you taste the recommended dose of one drop, prepare your mouth and mind for five to 20 minutes of agony that all true chili-heads fully understand and appreciate. Because it’s so powerful, the average chili freak can get 200,000 mind-blowing, fiery doses in each bottle. This sauce has a legal disclaimer printed directly on the label.” (X)


Trout & the Brrrrrr Factor

Trout Redside Release SB

If you are ‘fortunate’ to fish in the Winter for Trout, fish a short line/leader from the tip of the rod, exploring the Czech Nymph presentation with multiple flies dredged as slow/low as possible in front of lethargic Trout. There can be exceptions of on the surface activity with midges, but overall work the bottom where Trout are holding in locations that require little effort maintain.


The Temperature Factor & the Trout’s Feeding Habits


Photography: Divided States…Leana Jimenez

Recently, Leana Jimenez of Rebel Photography took this picture along the Columbia River. The photo captures the Interstate Bridge that carries I-5 traffic across the Columbia River and joins Washington and Oregon. I particularly like the light reflected off the water and, it appears, the low hanging clouds. Of particular interest to me is the fact that my mom and dad met crossing this bridge during WWII and were married a few months later…just prior to my dad shipping out overseas.

Bridgeatnight Leana Jimenez

Bridge At Night by Leana Jimenez





Fly tying the emerger pattern (visualize)

The fly fisher fishes top to bottom and strategizes on what food sources are in the water and what the fish might want to eat. Part of this enjoyable game is tying (or buying) the fly that represents a stage of life in that watery world and presenting it to entice. It is helpful to visualize your offering as it entices…such is the ’emerger’ fly pattern. The pattern can be just below the water’s surface or hanging in the film (half in/half out) preparing to emerge or perhaps stuck in the process (stillborn) and highly vulnerable. I offer up three photos: The first one, I apologize because, I cannot source it (perhaps someone will note and comment) and the other is a pattern I tied of an emerger pattern.

emerger dry fly source unksnowshoe-emerger-swittersbThe ’emerger’ pattern is most often depicted in this manner. However, an unweighted nymph, or an nymph pattern with a tuft of something protruding from the wingcase can be fished just below the surface as an ’emerger’ with great effectiveness too. Query Google Images “emerging nymphs” and you can see numerous patterns. Ignore the freaky women ’emerging’ as nymphs from the water shots. 


Emerging Nymph:

mayfly-emerger ian martin

Floating Nymph-Emerger by Ian Martin

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December 2012

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