Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chipmunk at our Feeder

When Jeanette called out from the kitchen to say that there was a chipmunk in the bird feeder, I was pretty sure she was mistaken.  "Are you sure it's not a squirrel?", I hollered back.  Amazingly it was, in fact, a Townsend's Chipmunk.  The reason for my surprise is that we live in a retirement community built around a golf course with manicured lawns and greenways. It's not the woodsy habitat where I would expect to see a chipmunk.  Squirrel possibly, or even a dreaded rat, but not a cute little chipmunk. You will notice in the photo it has its cheek pouches plumped full with bird seed. We watched it fill up with seed and disappear into the shrubbery and later make a return trip. Hopefully it's storing the seeds close by and we will get to see it again.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Birding in the Rain

 You can easily assume that we have a faily heavy addiction to birding when you realize we have a need to bird even if it is raining. Today was a pretty good example, even though it was raining this morning we chose to go out to Fairview Wetlands in South Salem, umbrellas in hand to protect our optics, and look for birds.  It had rained for the past week and we were anxious to check the wetlands for water and for new water fowl.  We were pleased to finally see the ponds gaining some water after a long dry summer.  We could hear the Mallards before we could even see them, eighty some were busy enjoying their fresh new habitat.  In the coming weeks as the ponds grow in size more species of winter water fowl will drop in to enjoy this spot. You can see our bird list here.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Birding the Waxmyrtle Trail

We spent an enjoyable morning yesterday hiking and birding the Waxmytle Trail in the Siltcoos Recreation Area.  The trail is very familiar to us from our volunteer time spend here last summer, so it was great to get in a good hike and check out areas of the trail that we knew we be good for bird sightings.  The most amazing thing we saw, or I should say smelled first, was this detached head of a skunk right in the middle of the trail.  (I Think I like the macro powers of the new camera.) Don't know what predator got it, but the smell permeated the air for quite a ways up and down the trail.
Although it was a quiet morning for birds we did get a respectable list which can be seen here. After our hike we enjoyed lunch on the picnic bench in the sun at our campsite, and then moved on to Winchester Bay RV Resort where we are currently set-up and will stay a second night, watching the Ducks play on the big screen in the activity center tonight.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Birds of the Siltcoos Lagon

We are taking a multi-day trip in the Free Spirit, making a loop down the coast, over to Roseburg, and back to Salem. Yesterday morning we spent time doing some serious RV shopping in Junction City, but by afternoon we were set-up in a campsite in the Silcoos Recreation Area at Lagoon Campground.  The summer crowds are gone and we had the campground to ourselves, save a nice chat with Ron the campground host. We took a late afternoon walk on the Lagoon Loop Trail to walk Buster and look for birds. It was a perfect opportunity to work with my new camera the Nikon P900. Below are some photos of the birds we enjoyed.

Black Phoebe

female Downy Woodpecker

Belted Kingfisher

American Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Friday, September 23, 2016

Day Tripping in the Van

The idea of spending a good part of the day birding in Yamhill County, grew more intriguing when we decided to take the van and make a complete day of adventure. Our first stop was in downtown Sheridan where Jeanette went on a whirlwind shopping spree at the grocery store, a brand new Dollar Store, and Subway. We journeyed on to our main birding stop, Huddleston Park in Willamina, which is shown below.  We circled the pond counting birds and taking photos. You can see our bird list here.

After a Subway lunch on a picnic table in the sun overlooking the pond we went directly to Dallas to Focal Point to purchase a new camera, a Nikon COOLPIX P900 with an amazing 83x zoom. Next stop was the Dallas City Park for another bird walk and a opportunity to try out the camera.  Birds were very very scarce, so I had to settle on photos of a squirrel with its harvest.
 Our final stop was Dallas High School where we parked for a recouping nap before watching the Dallas Dragons soccer team and our handsome grandson Will Borja.
After the game we found ourselves cold and hungry---no problem it was warm in the van and Jeanette dug into her pantry and produced hot soup, crackers and sliced apples. Life in the van takes travel and adventure to an amazing level of convenience and comfort.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fun in the Cascades

Our second day in the Cascades started with a birding stop along Diamond Lake.

With a cold morning, our next stop was a stop for hot chocolate at Diamond Lake Lodge.

                                  After lunch Kliever's took us for a hike at Benham Falls

Overlook at Benham Falls

We spent the night at the Kliever's and the next day they took us  on a hike to Todd Lake.

Todd Lake with Mt Bachelor in the background.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Broken Arrow Campground

Jeanette put together a fall RV loop up thru the Cascades with friends Michael & Melisa Garguilo.  On Saturday we drove down to Elkton to Michael & Melisa's place for our first night's stay. Sunday morning we drove up the scenic North Umpqua River to Diamond Lake to stay at the Broken Arrow National Forest Campground on the south end of the lake. The campground was almost empty so we had lots of sites to choose from. We choose to stay in this double site B-7, and in the process of paying the $10 Senior Pass rate, we discovered this was the last night of the season for this campground! Boy did we luck out.

campsite B-7

After getting setup and having lunch we took off for an afternoon hike.  Leaving the campground we took a trail that connects to the John Dellenback Trail, a paved trail that completly circles Diamond Lake, which we took to the junction with the  Teal & Horse Lakes Loop Trail.
Michael, Jeanette & Melissa

While hiking on the John Dellenback Trail we met and were passed by several bicyclist, among them much to our suprise were our friends Jeff & Joan Smith from Elkton who were cicling the lake on their tandem!
Joan, Jeanette, Jeff, Melissa, Michael

We visited both Teal and Horse Lakes, enjoying the great scenery and identifying a number of birds, among which were two Green Teals.
Teal Lake with Mt Bailey in the background