Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Birding Area

This is a Northern Flicker I took a photo of this afternoon while birding in an area that has suddenly become our new favorite.  It’s a ridge of Hancock Hill that can actually be seen right off our front porch on the other side of Elk Creek.  It’s private property and posted so we have never ventured up the gated road.  A few days ago Jeanette received permission from the owner to walk up the road.  We have walked up the road the last two days and much to our amazement have spotted a good number of not so common birds, like Black-throated Gray Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat, and Orange-crowned Warbler. It turns out to be a good aerobic work-out for us, a fun walk for Buster (there are several good culverts to explore), some great birding, and it's close at hand. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No Dogs!

Yesterday we drove to Sutherlin to go birding at Plat I Reservoir.  As we entered the park I was surprised to see this new sign “Dogs Prohibited between April 15 – September 15”. I decided to take a photo so I would have a reminder of the effective dates.  When I got out of the car with my camera, Buster jumped out too and I guess you could say, expressed his opinion.

Monday, June 27, 2011


It’s not all about birds; --- I’m actually interested in a lot of different kinds of critters.  Yesterday it was Western Pond Turtles that caught my attention.  We walk out Schad Road on a regular basis here in Elkton, and there is a certain section of Elk Creek that we pass where some logs always produce turtles soaking up the sun. The last two days four to five turtles have been spotted. They are on the other side of the river, so it takes binoculars to confirm, and full zoom on the camera to produce this photo.  Put “Turtle” in the SEARCH function of any of the main pages to see the three different kinds of turtles in Cascade Ramblings.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Birding Tugman

We went birding this morning at William M. Tugman State Park on the Southern Oregon Coast.  We have hiked there many times in the past few years on the Eel Lake Trail, but this was a first time to be there primarily for birding.  It was an interesting experience, and took some adjustment to look at the park and trails thru the lens of bird watching as opposed to hiking. It seemed a little odd to find ourselves standing still on the trail listening for bird sounds.  Trail distance goes way down; birding requires that you move much slower.  But, really that’s a good fit as we find ourselves slowing with age.   

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pretty Face

No, Pretty Face is not a comment---it’s the name of this flower.  I took this photo this past Saturday while hiking in the Jacksonville Woodlands on the Brett Ridge Trail.  It took me until Tuesday to be able to identify this flower which is found in California and Southern Oregon. It’s been a while since I’ve stooped to take a wildflower photo, been kind of obsessed with birds. Maybe it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Click here for most recent flower photos.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lazuli Bunting

We have always seen the beautiful Lazuli Bunting in the fields or tree tops, never up close.  Last evening this male appeared at our feeder, allowing for this close-up photo.  They are small birds, similar in size to Goldfinches or Juncos, but a little shyer than both.  They have a beautiful song and this unforgettable coloring.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Heaven in Elkton

Here is Jeanette luxuriating in her new hot-tub in Elkton this morning.  We moved back home to Elkton yesterday from Denman Wildlife Management Area in Medford.  Those of you who are on Face Book possibly got a hint from Jeanette’s posting of the frustrations with ticks. Dealing with ticks turned out to be a pretty big deal, it was one of those things as the story goes----“it’s the things that people don’t tell you.” Ticks were not mentioned to us, nor was the “non-potable water”.   “Bottled drinking water provided” in the volunteer’s site description should have been a clue I guess.  In the end we did OK on the water, but the ticks were a little too much, plus there was the crazed female Lesser Finch who apparently assumed she had proprietary rights to our site and continued to daily assail our car and motor home.  Oh, and then there was the new hot-tub waiting in Elkton.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Easy Birding

This afternoon we discovered that birding is pretty good and real easy from our lawn chairs in front of the motor home! We were dead tired after a morning of pruning, weeding, and raking on a landscaping project at the Denman office. I collapsed in a chair in front of the motor home and never got up.  This photo is a little misleading because Jeanette did really not spend that much time in her chair.  She was busy bringing me my lunch and coffee as well as tidying up. In two hours we identified 17 different species of birds and never left our site. I’m thinking that this might be the way to go.    

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Flying Practice

We went over to Touvelle State Park this afternoon to enjoy a shady trail along the banks of the Rogue River for a walk for Buster and some birding for us.  Right away we noticed a lot of Tree Swallows.  After a little observation we found this adult overseeing some juveniles taking their first short flights.  There were actually three juveniles; one is just out of the frame. I was lucky enought to get one of the juveniles warming up its wings.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meal Time for Swallows

With fourteen occupied bird houses in our site here at Denman Wildlife Area, meal time is a noisy affair.  Similar to a large human family, there is much conversation taking place, but it seems to go on all day long. It’s a little hard for us, and especially for Buster, to relax in our front yard because on top of the din of all the chirping, there is also the distraction of getting dive bombed by one of the defending parents.  It does make for an interesting time, and today on top of all that action a family of House Finches was teaching their young ones to fly. Plus, the Lesser Goldfinch is still attacking our RV and car as it has since June 2nd.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rescued Pelican

This is an American White Pelican I helped rescue today.  The call came in from some people who had found it on a road unable to fly and they had managed to herd it into a fenced pasture with their goats.  I went out with our Assistant Manager to collect the bird, who was so weak we were able to walk right up to it and pick it up and put it in the cage. We don’t know what is wrong with the bird, but it is now on its way to an animal shelter. One of the interesting perks of volunteering for ODFW is the unusual opportunity to see wildlife up close.  If you are a regular reader of this post you may remember our interface with twin baby cougars last year, which you can see by clicking here.    

Friday, June 10, 2011

More About Acorn Woodpeckers

One of our favorite areas to hike and bird this month is turning out to be along the Rogue River.  We hike a section of trail on the Denman Wildlife Area and then in the adjoining Touvelle State Park. We returned there again today for the third time and again one of the most plentiful birds we saw were the Acorn Woodpeckers. One of the interesting things about Acorn Woodpeckers is that they drill holes in trees to store their acorns.  This big old pine tree in Touvelle State Park, riddled with holes, is ample evidence of their numbers and activities. Check out the photo below for a close-up.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bench Birding

We might have stumbled on a new favorite way to bird, ---- sitting on a bench.  It takes the strain off the hips, lower back, legs, and feet, plus sitting still seems to allow the birds to continue with their normal activity. We had the day off today and we went birding at Tou Velle State Park, which borders Denman Wildlife Area where we are volunteering. It was a great morning and we enjoyed walking along the Rouge River and were able to identifying 25 different species of birds.  Probably our favorite bird was the Acorn Woodpecker of which we saw eight.  (two are pictured below) 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jealous Behaviour

 Three days ago this female Lesser Goldfinch began furiously attacking the chrome mirrors on our motor home.  The best we could come up with was that she was probably jealous of the female image she saw on the mirror surface. We had observed the amorous relationship she was caring on with a male, and so in a jealous rage she was attempting to scratch the eyes out of the competition. After hours of this behavior we covered up the mirrors on the motor home with pillow cases.  Then she moved her attack to the car mirrors. Next we covered the car mirrors with plastic shopping bags, so she moved to the car windows!  I’m afraid she will not have any energy left to nest this season being so preoccupied with her competing image.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011


It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I don’t think much needs to be said other than this is a sunset taken last night from our site on Whetstone Pond at Denman Wildlife Area.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Neighbors

This nestting pair of Tree Swallows is our closest neighbor.  In fact, I think we have 5 nesting pairs of Tree Swallows using bird houses in our yard here at Denman Wildlife Area. Tree Swallows usually nest close to water, so being at Whetstone Pond is perfect for us and them.  Watching the swallows swoop over the pond in search of insects is enjoyable, and now as they build nests and begin raising their broods we will have a busy neighborhood.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Evening Silhouette

This Great Blue Heron silhouette on Whetstone Pond last evening was a special treat for us when we took a stroll from our RV site. It remained etched in my mind today as Clayton our manager took on a tour of the Denman Wildlife Management Area. The sprawl of Medford's modern suburbia and manufacturing has completely encroached on all sides of the wildlife area, leaving Denman as a precious oasis for a great number of birds, animals and plants. We already are feeling this volunteer opportunity is a unique privilege for us to experience.