Sunday, August 13, 2017

Osprey Fledglings Being Fed

It's easy to notice in this photo an Osprey bringing a fish to the nest, but there are many layers to the story of what is actually going on here.  The photo was taken today at Wallace Marine Park during a standard route we take that circles the soft-ball complex.  When we first started we spotted a juvenile sitting on a light pole, and then found another juvenile on the nest which is built on top of a large cluster of lights. We noticed an Osprey fly in and possibly leave a fish in the nest.  This happened a second time as we cicled the playing fields, and the bird on the nest seemed to be eating the fish.  As we were about to complete our circle,  some crying from the juveniles allerted us to a possible feeding coming up.  The juvenile off of the nest flew to the nest, and then a third Osprey which had been sitting on a nearby power pole flew to the nest at which time I got this photo.  This is the dad with the fish, and it appeared that he waited on purpose until both juveniles were on the nest to bring in the fish.  The juveniles have fledged and are able to fly, but dad at this point is still bringing them fish to eat. Hunting for their own fish is the next skill they will have to learn in the next few weeks before taking off for probably Central America for the winter.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Butterfly Mass Migration

Why traveling to Bend this weekend for the Scott Family Reunion, I noticed bugs starting to smack on my freshly cleaned windshield.  I soon realized that there was an unusually high number of bugs, and as I glanced to the right and left, I noticed that they were orange colored butterflies.  My first guess and fear was that they were Monarchs.  I pulled off Highway 22 at the Cold Springs Snow-Park to park and see if I could get a photo.  It turned out to be a little more difficult than I imagined, even though there were hundreds if not thousands, because they were in constant flight. I was relieved they weren't Monarchs, but was not sure what they were.  Later that evening, after looking through a couple of phone apps, I determined that they were California Tortoiseshells. Ironically, the California Tortoiseshell is the first Critter entered into Cascade Rambling years ago. The next day one of the family members pointed out the dead butterflies in the grill of my motor home. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Observing Western Bluebirds

Earlier this month I received a report of nesting Western Bluebirds along the first fairway of the golf course here in Salemtowne were we live.  I took an exploring trip on July 7th and found the nesting box and took some photos of the male and female busy with their obligations of feeding and removing fecal sacks. Today, July 20th, while on a morning birdwalk I discovered a juvenile feeding on insects along the 8th fairway, proving that we have successful fledglings.  Up until this year I am not aware of any nesting bluebirds here in Salemtowne.  In general Western Bluebirds  are not expected to be seen in urban areas, but are said to prefer rural areas with large fields, so this is all very exciting to me.



male removing fecal sack


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sharing Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

Friends Judy & Gary Disnsmore mentioned the other day that they would like to see Sitka Sedge.  We share intrests with them of birding, RVing, and bicycling.  We originally met them while I was leading bird walks at Lake Havasu State Park in Arizona during the winter of 2012-2013.  We have stayed some-what in touch, and as they are currently volunteering at Fort Yamhill State Park, it's easier to meet up.  We agreed to meet them at Neskowin on Sunday evening where we had dinner together at The Beach Club Bistro and parked for the night at Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site. On Monday morning after breakfast we traveled to Sitka Sedge for a morning of bird watching.

Sitka Sedge Trail

Great Blue Heron

Greater Yellowlegs with a fish

Long-billed Dowitchers

Although we came to see the birds we also enjoyed other wildlife like this handsome buck.

 and this young one.

To finish up our morning of birding we had an impromptu lunch at nearby Clay Myers State Natural Area.  Great freinds, great bird walk, & great lunch. You might notice that another thing we have in common is that we both drive Mercedes-Benz vans! 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Exploring Sitka Sedge

Hot temperatures of over 100 degrees has driven us to the coast for a few days to escape the heat. We made a stop this morning to learn more about Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, located North of Pacific City. We hiked a beginning portion of the trail, but the morning heat was building fast with a high forcast in the 90s, so it was a short one.  But it's a winner and I'm sure we will be returning many more times on cooler days.
The parking lot has yet to be developed.

A nice gravel path runs out through the wet lands.

Great Blue Heron

Swallowtail Butterfly

Friday, June 23, 2017

First Osprey Chicks

This as been an intense year of watching the Osprey at the Salem Audubon Nature Reserve.  It's the fourth season we have had nesting Osprey. Each year I learn a little more, so by now I have some idea about whats going on and what to expect.  The first Osprey sighting in the West Salem area this year was on March 23rd at the Murlark Ave nest site. At the Reserve it was April 5th when the male showed up. It has been a record year for rain, which meant that the nearby Williamette River, the Osprey's main food source, ran high and muddy much longer than normal, making fishing by the Osprey almost impossible.  There was little evidence of fishing success and they looked gaunt, causing a good deal of worry on my part. Now all my worries have vanished as we discovered we have two chicks in the nest. I was at the Reserve on Wednesday the 21st and had no indication of any chicks, but Thursday the 22nd, arriving at the parking lot with Jeanette we heard the softer quieter call of what we suspected were chicks.  We could see the female striping flesh from a fish, which she seemed to eat herself, but after awhile we noticed she was feeding a chick, which began to get bolder and even started to demand food.  Backing up the days, I am estimating that incubation began about the 10th of May. Fledging should be around 50 days from now.  Last year the first sighting of chicks was the 20th of June. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Posting Excuses and a Trip to the Coast

If you are a regular reader of this blog, I'm sure you have noticed a decrease in the number of posts.  I'm going to blame it on the continuing changes in social media.  There was a time when all my posting efforts went to my Trip Journal on my web page.  Then bogs came along, and my Trip Journal got neglected because of the ease of using the blog format.  Now it's Facebook that seems to be the quickest and easiest to use, and my life gets chronicled there on an almost daily basis.  However, Facebook seems to act as a giant hole, and can be hard to recover or find anything in a reasonable way.  So, I'm still committed to post to this blog, if for no other reason than a selfish wish to be able to have a record of our adventures.

Driftwood Beach State Recreation Area
Last weekend we make a quick trip to the coast for a few days.  We left the rain in the Willamette Valley on Saturday and spent the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday in glorious sunshine near the beach. Driftwood Beach is one of 57 state wide rest areas where up to 12 hours can be spent "resting" that we are continuing to find and enjoy.

 An early Sunday morning walk at Driftwood Beach did not net very many birds, but I did get this photo of a California Gull.

On Saturday we had traveled down Highway 99 thru Corvallis, taking Highway 20 towards Newport, with a turn off at Toledo to make birding stops at East Slope Park, and Paddle Park. Next was a stop at Beaver Creek Welcome Center where we have volunteered in the past.  We enjoyed sitting out on the deck and talking with the current volunteer and watching the bird life.  One of the many birds we watched was this female Rufous Hummingbird. 

A Sunday morning stop at Ona Beach in Brian Booth State Park was not that productive, the winter storms have changed the course of the Beaver Creek a lot, but I did get this Killdeer photo.

A mid-morning stop at Seal Rocks State Recreation Area gave us lots of birds.  Nesting Western Gulls and Pelagic Cormorants covered the rocks.  Here is a pair of Pigeon Guillemots.

During some afternoon time spent at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area I made sure to stop to check on the nesting Peregrine Falcon. The male was off hunting, the female was hiding out in a cleft of the cliff sleeping, and a lone chick was on the nest.

Our ever changing schedule evolved into a stop at Spirit Mountain Casino for the night, thinking a return to Salem in the morning.  However after dinner in the casino and an hour or so of resting in the RV, we decided on continuing on home where we could have TV.  We love the flexibility of the RV life style that we are able to live with our Serenity Leisure Travel Van.