Monday, October 31, 2011

Acorn Woodpecker

One of the things I enjoy about birding is all the things I continue to learn about birds, even after the original sightings. This is where a good photo is particularly helpful.  A week ago I took a photo of an Acorn Woodpecker while at Lake Mendocino in California.  Today, while editing photos of the trip I became aware that one of the photos I had taken was of a female Acorn Woodpecker. (notice the black band between the white forehead and the read crown) I previously only had a photo of a male in the Critters section of Cascade Ramblings.  Now I have both male and female photos of the Acorn Woodpecker.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Red-tailed Hawk

This fleeing Red-tailed Hawk is one of the first birds we spotted on a hike we took today.  A call yesterday to our friend Eddie Harrod set up this trip, and at his suggestion we started at Cottage Grove’s North Regional Park. We took the paved path that winds through Cottage Grove’s new Disc Golf Course, then skirts along the edge of the Middle Field Golf Course.  We had a section we had to endure through houses and businesses, but soon picked up another paved path that took us through the East Region Park where the birds were the most numerous on and around the many ponds.   A call to Eddie’s wife Jeannie provided a shuttle for us back to our cars.  We ended up with a hike of almost 5 miles and identifying 15 different species of birds.    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Great Birding Trip

We are back home in Elkton now, concluding our trip down into Northern California.  Besides the wedding that was the purpose of the trip, we got to do a lot of birding in some great new places. This photo of a Marbled Godwit was taken during a stop near Eureka California. We were looking for a break from driving, and I recalled a county park I had seen on the map on Humboldt Bay right off Hwy 101 called Fields Landing. We parked the motor home, and while Jeanette made some fresh coffee, I stepped out with Buster and right way noticed a good number of birds. The net result is three new Critter photos for Cascade Ramblings, this MarbledGodwit, a Black-bellied Plover, and a Willet. In all during our trip I was able to add new photos of 9 different species of birds.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lake Mendocino

This has turned out to be a really strange stop!  We arrived here at Kyen Campground at Lake Mendocino with high hopes, the weather was perfect, warm and sunny, the lake was beautiful, and the campground looked inviting in a wooded setting.  But, as we drove through the campground, the occupied sites all appeared to be homeless people, tents and stuff strewn around, and almost no vehicles.  We did not have a comfortable feeling.  Luckily for us, as we were starting to drive away we stopped to talk with the campground hosts.  They assured us it would be alright, some would be leaving, it would be quiet, and offered to help us with a site next to them. I had just got the motor home leveled, and the slide out, when Jeanette started spotting birds.  She asked for her binoculars, and then a chair, and that was as far as we got.  We were besieged with birds, for the next 45 minutes we identified a dozen species of birds right from our site. Most exciting for us were a number of Oak Titmice, a brand new bird for us. Strange, we were set to drive away, and 15 minutes later we were in a birders paradise. Sort of like 0-60 in 5 seconds.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Novato RV Park

We picked Novato RV Park to stay in because of its proximity to San Rafael where Tony & Maggie’s wedding was held yesterday.  It has worked out well for us as a base of operations to meet with family and attend the wedding.  It’s on the pricey side at fifty dollars a night, but it’s been very convenient and has a store, deli, laundry, and free Wi-Fi. Another big plus is its location right next to Rush Creek Open Space, a 522 acre preserve with miles of trails for hiking, running, & cycling, and the Rush Creek Marsh, a huge birding area. You probably got the picture;- -  I’ve spent time birding there the last three days, counting hundreds of birds and adding four new birds to my Life List, plus a couple of photos to the Critters section.  Tomorrow, we start back north, planning on a first night’s stay at Lake Mendocino.   

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ferndale to Cloverdale

Yesterday was primarily a travel day, didn’t take any photos or do any birding, just drove from Ferndale to Cloverdale, with a stop in Willets for diesel and groceries. It was a pretty route through the redwoods and brought back memories of our bicycle tour from Canada to Mexico 12 years ago on this same route. Here in Cloverdale we are camped at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, another one of those "under the radar" good RV camping spots. It was 80 degrees when we arrived yesterday afternoon, so we spent some time sitting and relaxing on the shady side of the motor home. Today we move on to Novato to be ready for the big day of Tony & Maggie’s wedding on Saturday.  We will be staying in the Novato RV Park and attending the wedding rehearsal dinner tonight.  My mistake not a “rehearsal dinner” - - a “Soiree”.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Traffic Delay

OK, we are used to traffic delays because of road work and bridge construction, but this was a first for us, having to stop and wait for a herd of Elk to cross.  We were heading south on Hwy 101 when this incident occured, interesting enough right at the Stone Lagoon Information Center. Luckily, Jeanette had just cleaned the windshield this morning, because I snapped this photo from the driver’s seat. (Remember, you can click on the image to see a larger view.) In spite of the delay we were able to stay on schedule and are set up this afternoon at one of our favorite and usual stops Ferndale, in the Humboldt County Fairgrounds Campground.  
This was the main bull.

This cow was the last slow-poke coming across. Notice my Garmin GPS screen in the lower right hand corner. Incidentally, the GPS did not pick up the elk herd.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Who Could Ask for Anything More?

I can’t imagine asking for anything more than the day we just had.  We spent the morning checking out three different National Wildlife Refuges in the Bandon Area.  The first one we stumbled on by accident, the Ni-les‘tun Unit of the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, which is brand new and has so much potential in the years to come I guarantee you will be returning there again.(check out the Trip Journal)  The second one was the Bandon Unit of the BMNWR. We were aware of this one and have stopped before, but we enjoyed spotting birds here and counting. The last of our morning adventure was at Coquille Point a part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Here the scenery is spectacular and we enjoyed seeing hundreds if not thousands of Brown Pelicans on the rock islands.  After lunch we drove on down the coast amazed at the warm weather and great views of the coastline.  Now this evening we are tucked into this quaint site at the Port of Brookings Harbor Beachside RV Park. As I write the sun is still shinning, it’s warm, our windows are all open, and we are serenaded by the waves breaking on the beach.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bullards Beach State Park

Our second night stay is at Bullard’s Beach State Park. This afternoon we went out and visited the Coquille River Lighthouse.  That’s Jeanette and Buster sitting in the sun at the base of the lighthouse.  As you can see from the photo the weather is fantastic. I think it was 70 degrees in Coos Bay today. I also got some photos of Surf Scoters and a Double-crested Cormorant in the Coquille River estuary. We have given ourselves permission to take a leisurely route to the wedding, and so far it’s working.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Start of a New Journey

We are beginning a small journey that will take us down the coast of Oregon and Northern California to the San Francisco area and back.  The purpose for our trip is to attend the wedding of Jeanette’s son Tony on Oct 22st in San Rafael. Our first stop is in this sunny campsite in Eel Creek Campground about 10 miles south of Reedsport.  We can’t believe our luck, we are the only campers here, and with my Senior Pass it’s only ten dollars for the night.   However it’s always a little hard to choose a campsite when you have so many choices.  In the end we just picked a sunny one.  It’s a great start for our little journey. (check the Trip Journal for more--)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Change in the Bird Scene

This Lesser Goldfinch (as well as some American Goldfinches) is one of the birds we have been seeing again at our feeder in good numbers for the first time since last spring.  We have also been noticing during our daily walks a good number of American Robins and large numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos that evidently have migrated down from higher elevations. Canada Geese can also be heard daily as their flocks fly over. However, equally noticeable are the birds that have left, the noisy Ospreys, swooping Violet-green Swallows and circling Turkey Vultures, all are gone, migrating south.  It is for sure a time of change in the bird populations we watch here in Elkton.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Harvest Time

This time of year we daily see Steller’s Jays and Western Scrub Jays flying off with oak acorns in their mouths busily harvesting.  Today we were caught off guard when a Red-tailed Hawk flew up in front of us carrying something.  We watched him perched on a limb for some time, and eventually came to the conclusion that he had a squirrel in his talons.  I imagine it went something like this, --- a squirrel busy harvesting acorns failed to notice an approaching Red-tail and became harvested himself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Faithful Bird Dog

Today the weather is a little iffy, and we are still suffering from our colds, so we were standing at our front window doing a little “birding” watching our bird feeder.  I set down my binoculars and my bird book in a chair and went to get my camera.  When I came back I found Buster in this position with the book and binoculars. Birding paraphernalia always means a walk to him.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Mouthful

A single sunflower seed from our feeder makes a mouthful for this Black-capped Chickadee. The last four days have seen a dramatic increase in the number birds we see at our feeder and on our daily walks.  Some are grouping up and migrating as was the case with the 103 Turkey Vultures we saw two days ago, but I also have the impression that there is a sense of urgency in the feeding that is going on particularly with the resident birds. With the change in the air to fall it is probably well timed to add as much fat as possible.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Red-shouldered Hawk

I have been hearing this bird for the last three days, and it’s been driving me a little crazy.  The first day I only heard it, but could not quite remember what it was.  The second day I got a quick glimpse of it and recognized it as a Red-shouldered Hawk.  We became very familiar with the Red-shouldered Hawk last winter in two different locations in California, San Lorenzo Park in King City, and El Chorro Park in San Luis Obispo. It has a very distinct call of a series of high clear notes. Today just as I was stepping out the door to take Buster for his walk, I heard the call, and then saw the hawk fly to a tree where I was able to identify it for sure and get this photo even though it’s not the greatest. I’m thrilled to be able to add it to my Douglas County sightings. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Brother returns to Civilization

On September 22 my brother Mark and his wife Holly finished up their epic journey on the Pacific Crest Trail and have returned to their home in Bend.  He reports that they hiked 2130 miles from the Mexican border to Washington’s border on the Columbia River.  Although they had originally hoped to make the Canadian border, a heavy snow pack, and lack of days forced them to stop short of that goal.  I am extremely proud of what they accomplished, and once again they have raised the bar of competition in the Scott Family.