Saturday, August 11, 2018

Oh What A Relief It Is!!!

We finally picked up our RV today, it's been in the body shop in Klamath Falls since our encounter with a deer on Highway 97 on June 28th.  We had no idea how dependent we were on the RV, and addicted we were to the freedom of the RV life style.  We are relieved beyond measure to have it back.

After receiving a call yesterday afternoon at home in Salem to let us know that our RV was finished, we rented a car and drove down to Klamath Falls this morning.  Our eyes we pealed to the side of the road as we drove down Highway 97.  No deer were seen, but there was evidence of at least 3 other impacts that had taken place recently.

We are set up this afternoon in the campground at Collier Memorial State Park,  where we are in site B-29, the only empty site when we got here shortly after lunch time.  With every mile we drive, and every system we use in getting camp set up our confidence continues to build, and the worry and concern fall away layer by layer.

Tomorrow we make a fresh start up the death corridor of Highway 97, and over the Willamette Pass to home.  Stay tuned for our next surprise.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Beauties

Despite this being the dog days of summer and that forest trails are devoid of beautiful blossoming flowers,  there is still color to be found in fruiting berries.  This beautiful red berry is on a Hooker's Fairy Bell plant, one that I noticed this morning during a dog/bird walk at Darrow Bar, a Willamette Green Way Access Point, just a couple of miles north of where we live in Salemtowne. Hooker's Fairy Bell has another close look alike called Smith's Fair Lantern.  They are easy to tell apart when the flowers are in bloom, as the flowers on the Smith have long straight pedals, as opposed to the Hooker's have curved "hooker's hips." With the flowers long gone I was stumped as to which plant I had here and had to do more research. As is turns out, Hooker's has small hairs on the top and edges of the leaf and stem, only noticeable if you get an up close look. The berries of this Hooker's Fairy Bell are considered possibly poisonous, so it's best to just enjoy their beauty.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Discoveries New and Old

We choose to go to the coast on Monday after what I was sure was the mad house of Sunday.  It was a good decision and in part because we were in the car, not the motorhome, we discovered some new birding locations.

 Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy
I found this new location on eBirds Hot Spots, and it is a real gem, small but compact, and loaded with birds.  Amazingly this is tucked away in busy crowded Lincoln City. This is a must return. Here is our observation list complete with photos. 

 Rocky Creek State Park
Rocky Creek State Park in located on the south-side of Whale Cove.  Just installed this month is a new observation deck looking over Whale Cove.  It was a slow day for ocean birds in the cove, but we will be back.  A scope would be handy here. Be forewarned that this trail lacks signage and takes persistence to find the observation deck at this time.  I'm sure Oregon State Parks will improve the trail and post signs to direct people in the near future.

Depoe Bay City Park
Depoe Bay City Park is not actually new to us, we have been enjoying it for several years.  It too is hidden away and overlooked for the most part.  A wonderful trail follows up along the creek from Depoe Bay into thick coastal forest. The thing we discovered here is that when the afternoon winds pick up on the ocean, this is a great little protected escape. Here is the eBird Hot Spot.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer is for the Birds

Finding ourselves with out a motor-home since the 28th of June, and for probably the rest of July, is for the birds.  As Dr. Seuss would say; "We do not like it, not one little bit". We didn't fully appreciate how much we were dependent on using the motor-home to escape from the boredom of home and summer's high temperatures. Continuing oppressive heat, and lack of an RV to escape to the coast for days at a time, is forcing us to change our schedule around. We get out and get our birding done in the cool of the morning before retreating to the air-conditioning of the house. In this sense, we are trying to save our summer by focusing on the birds. This worked out pretty good yesterday, we were down to Wallace Marine Park a few minutes after 7:00am and were rewarded to a good couple of hours of birding.  As we walked across the railroad foot bridge I spotted a Peregrine Falcon atop the bridge, the first of two for the day. The second Peregrine was spotted under the Center Street Bridge.
Peregrine Falcon under Center Street Bridge

We continued to see and photograph a good number of birds as we walked through the Salem Riverfront Park.  Our turn around point was the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge.  As we neared the top of the bridge, Jeanette though she recognized a Killdeer calling.  It did not sound exactly right, and then she spotted three Spotted Sandpipers, and adult and two juveniles. 

adult male Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper are members of the plover family, and like the Snowy Plover that we have a good amount of experience with from our volunteer work on the Oregon Coast, it is the male that gets stuck with caring for the juveniles.  In this case we got to watch him as he try to control and direct two juveniles.

juvenile Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpipers. like the rest of the Plover family, which for example includes Killdeer, make their nest right on the ground.  The day the chicks are hatched they are very functional and almost immediately walk out of the nest. Dad then begins the important task of oversight, protection, food, and keeping them hidden. This could be this chick's first day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

In and Around Klamath Falls

Wood River Wetlands Trail

We spent five days and nights living in Klamath Falls after our disastrous deer strike on Thursday July 28th.  We spent our nights in our motor home where it was towed, Excel Auto Body, and our days visiting local parks and birding.   

After picking up our rental car on Friday we went birding at two local e-Bird Hot Spots, Lake Ewauna Nature Trail and Moore Park. You can see the lists and photos by clicking on the high-lighted words.

Clark's Grebe - Ewanuna Nature Trail

Saturday we drove out to Agency Lake and spent some time birding the Wood River Wetlands, visiting and checking out Train Mountain, and cooling off on the banks of Spring Creek at Collier Memorial State Park.
Yellow Warbler - Wood River Wetlands

Sunday we made a return trip to Collier Memorial State Park and hiked the River Loop Trail in the morning and again spent the afternoon on the banks of Spring Creek. Our plan each day was to spend as much time as possible away from the motor home which got very warm in the parking lot on the exposed south side of the body shop.
Great Egret - Spring Creek

Monday we made a trip to Dunsmuir, California and to the Railroad Park Resort to deliver cake and gifts to grandson Bobby for his birthday. We had a nice brunch there and a good hike at the near by Hedge Creek Falls Trail.  Then we returned to Klamath Falls for the night.

Tuesday we packed up our rental car, a Kia Soul, said a sad good-by to Serenity our motor-home, and drove home to Salem where we will wait out the time it takes for repairs to be complete. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Oh Dear, Deer

We were zooming along Highway 97 at 65 mph right with the traffic, when two deer jumped in front of us, I managed to miss the first one, but couldn't avoid the second.  To give you the background,  leaving Salem this morning, we had stopped at Safeway to pick-up a custom made birthday cake for for grandson Bobby's sixth birthday.  We were to meet up with Bobby and his parents and other grandparents in Dunsmuir California at the Railroad Park Resort where we had RV reservations for Sunday and Monday. Our route was over the Willamette Pass with Thursday and Friday nights at Collier Memorial State Park with some birding with our friend Glenn, then on to Lake Juanita for Saturday night before arriving for the big birthday on Sunday.  That was the plan, put in place with days of planning and packing, but instantly changed with the thud of a deer to the front of our motor home. I pulled to the side of the highway to check and discovered the grill and right-hand head light demolished and fluid gushing out of the engine compartment.  Engine, air-conditioning, and transmission cooler radiators where all damaged.

The first call was made by Jeanette to our insurance company.  They said we had no collision insurance.  What!!! Hopefully this will be straightened out today.  The insurance company had no suggestions for a repair facility or towing company.  Klamath Falls was the closest town at 51 miles to the south of us, so we called Courtesy Auto & RV Center in Klamath Falls, they did not do body work but recommend Excel Auto Body and also Ace Towing.  An hour and a half later Ace Towing was hooking us up as in the above photo.

We are now parked at Excel Auto Body, shown in the lower photo.  Not bad, free parking and WiFi. We hope to get a rental car today, and by Monday be at the Railroad Park with birthday cake and presents.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Birding With Glenn

Jeanette & Glenn on Lagoon Boardwalk
A week with temperature forecast to 90 degrees in Salem caused us to block out our schedule and head to the coast.  Our friend Glenn was camped at Waxmyrtle Campground, so it was a no-brainer to start there.  Waxmyrtle is a Siuslaw National Forest Campground located on the Siltcoos River south of Florence.  We first met Glenn three years ago this month while we were volunteering in the Snowy Plover program and both camped at Waxmytle.  He, in turned, started volunteering here.  This past winter he stopped volunteering and started traveling, and we have literally spent the last six months catching up with him and birding.  In Arizona we met up at Davis Camp in Bullhead City in December, then Lake Havasu State Park, then Cattail Cove State Park, then Oxbow Campground. He spent the rest of the winter in Texas where we did not go, but when he got back to Oregon we spent a week birding in the Salem area, and later joined him camping and birding at Indian Ford Campground near Sisters.  We arrived here at Waxmytle Campground yesterday afternoon, and of course soon after getting set up we went birding.  The above photo was taken at Lagoon Campground, just accross the road from Waxmytle.  It's great to spend time together birding again.
Evening view of Siltcoos Estuary