Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Day with Bobby

The purpose of this day was to spend time with four year old grandson Bobby and his parents Tony and Maggie in Pinole, California.  Maggie took Bobby and his trike and us on an "adventure" through neighbor hood trails and the Fairy Forest down to Fernandez Park and then the Pinole CreekTrail which we took on to San Pablo Bay. Bobby and grandma Jeanette enjoyed seeing two trains, AMTRAK and a long frieght train.  Bobby is big on trains! The Pinole Creek Trail is a real treasure and grandpa Jim got to take lots of bird photos and make up a bird list. Click here to see. After some afternoon relaxing time we went to Sue's Kitchen for an amazing Tia food dinner. Grandma & grampa went to bed early.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Perfect Day

This morning Jeanette noticed this astonishing view of the moon going down through the clouds over the ocean.  I rushed out and took this photo at 7:10 AM. This was from our site at Oceanside RV Park in Gold Beach.  I should have recognized this as a good omen for the day, because as it turned out it was a perfect day in so many ways.  First off it was a dry day.  Not a drop of rain.  Bright sunshine all day long.  A stunning day of scenery as we drove south on Highway 101 past miles and miles of crashing waves along the beach line, deep towering redwood forests, and several herds of elk. Our high point of the day however, was an impromtu stop at Crescent City to change drivers. As we pulled over to the curb  at a city park, we noticed people walking their dogs along the bay and the light went on that we should take a walk and maybe get a chance to see some birds.  In the end we did get a list of birds and with a couple of good photos as shown below.   The Vermillian Flycatcher was a complete surprise. It's a rare bird for this far north, and we only recognized it from our years in Arizona.

male Vermillion Flycatcher

Black Phoebe

Tonight we are parked at the Bear River Casino for the night, will be venturing on to Cloverdale tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grateful for Mobility

We are feeling very grateful for the mobility of our lifestyle with an RV that allowed us to escape the on-going snow storms currently hitting the Willamette Valley.  Today we took advantage of the moderate coastal tempatures as we traveled south and stopped to hike and bird at Bullards Beach State Park and Bandon Marsh Nation Wildlife Refuge where we had lunch at the Ni-les'tun Overlook.  Jeanette is shown here at Bullard's Beach, which is as far west as we could go.  Buster, who normally loves to run on the beach didn't want to have any part of all the noise of the pounding surf.  He was however, delighted to tear into a mole hill, as shown below.  Tonight we are comfortably set up in the Oceanside RV Park at the mouth of the Rogue River in Gold Beach.

Our eBird Observation Lists can be seen here and here.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fleeing the Storm

We decided to flee the Salem area today, ahead of yet another snow & ice storm.  Not wanting to chance getting over the Siskyous, our plan was to take the coastal route. The one thing that has held us up leaving for warmer climates  since October has been Volkswagen taking back our 2015 Golf Sportwagen because of the emmisions fiasco. Our appointment to return the car was at 3:00 this afternoon, which would have given us a late start to make it somewhere on the southern Oregon Coast, so it would have made sense to leave tomorrow morning, BUT the weather forecast called for snow tonight continuing through tomorrow.  So, we packed-up the motor home and took the car to Volkswagen of Salem around 11:00, hoping for an opening before 3:00 so we could get down the road sooner. To our great suprise and happiness, they processed us a few minutes after we got there and before noon we were blasting down I-5 in a blinding rain storm with the temperature hanging around 38-39.  The rain stopped someplace around Cottage Grove, and the sun actually peaked out a little just before Reedsport. When we made our first stop a William Tugman State Park, as shown in the photo, there was no rain and the temp was 44 degrees.  By the time we got to Coos Bay we were at a balmy 51 degrees, which might be the highest temps we have experience since Jan 1st. We are parked tonight in the Pony Village parking lot, and will venture further south along the coast tomorrow.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Winter of our Confinement

We have been confined to our home in Salemtowne and thwarted in our desire to travel south to California and possibly Arizona by a number of circumstances since early November. Primarily we have been waiting on Volkswagen to buy back our turbo-diesel Gulf SportWagen, which will probably now be this Tuesday January 10th. But weather has also contributed to our confinement. We do get out an go on a dog/bird walk daily as we catch a window in the weather each day, but we are now in the middle of enduring our second snow storm of the season, which confines us even more just to our house.  In an effort to look at the brighter side of the coin, confinement causes me to concentrate in the birds or our yard. I offer the photos below of the birds we have enjoyed the last two days from our windows. 

Oregon Dark-eyed Junco - this is the most numerous of our backyard birds, any where from 4 to a dozen daily. Notice the snow flakes, even on its head.

White-crowned Sparrow - this is a juvenile whose crown and eye-brows have not changed to the bright white of an adult.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Kinglets are the tiniest of songbirds.  Males have a orange/red crown on their forehead that they can flare to express there anxiety.

Yellow-rumped Warbler - - we have one Yellow-rumped Warbler that we see at the suet feeder many times a day.  Nice to see it sharing the area with the Junco eating seeds.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Bird List of the Year

Today we took or bird/dog walk in near-by Wallace Marine Park.  We were all bundled up against the cold with temps in the 30's. This was my 551 bird list for this year, and probably the last list for 2016, and for that matter the last post for this year. Tomorrow starts a brand new year and I start all over with zero. Below are some of birds we saw. Here is a link for the complete list. 
This is a male American Wigeon.  A winter migrant that normally is seen in large flocks, but today we had just a pair, a male and a female. They give off a squeaky call that you can often hear before you see them.
This is a male Mallard.  A very common duck that can be seen year around, but the bright colors of the male always call to me to photograph.
This is a Merlin, and a little strange on the color to the point I gave serious consideration to thinking it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It flew like a Merlin, and sat posed as a Merlin, but it was not until I got home and looked at it close in the laptop that I was convinced it was a Merlin.  We know for positive that their are two different Merlins in West Salem this year, and this might be a third.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merlin a Favorite

I am quite often asked, especially when meeting a new person, "What is your favorite bird?", and with out exception I am always stumped because I enjoy so many.  But for the moment today what easily comes to my mind is a Merlin.

Temperatures in the high 20's last night caused ice to form on our streets and sidewalks, and I was content to stay hold up in my den.  But at 8:30 the sun burst out in full force, pulling me out to get in a walk and check out the birds.  As I stepped out my front door this is the first bird I saw high in a tree across the street.  What a lift to my dismal winter spirits. We saw him yesterday a few blocks away as well as a female in a nearby park. Making yesterday our first ever two Merlin day.

We enjoy watching Merlins every winter, and this marks the forth winter for us to watch them in Salemtowne where we live.  Their seasonal presence is easy to notice because they are gone the rest of the year, traveling north to breed. They are a small member of the Falcon Family, and extremely fast in flight, which allows them to catch a small bird in flight.  Salemtowne makes a good area to hang out in for the winter for a Merlin because of the numerous backyard feeders which provide a good supply of little song birds.