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.
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.
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.
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.
I am guessing that some readers may think that all I take photos of are birds. For the record, I do take photos of other wildlife. This native Western Pond Turtle is one of a half dozen or so that we saw today while birding at Row River Nature Park in Cottage Grove. They are always a joy to see because they are now a Threatened Species. An invasive species of turtles call Red-sliders, which have been introduced by careless pet owners are out producing them.
Also for the record there is one other thing I need to get off my chest, and that is my motive to keep posting to my blog - it is for our own record. A lot of my time is spent on posting to the Internet on a couple of other sites. I daily post to e-Bird in an effort to help with citizen science and maintain my own records. And of course Facebook has made it extremely easy to post anything. But with Facebook it is hard to be able to look at past posts in any kind of organized fashion. You say what you want to say, and it's available for the moment, and then it is lost into the mishmash of Facebook. With my blog, it's pretty easy for me to find a past post either by date or subject. In fact Jeanette and I often use my blog to find out what was going on in our life in years past. In other words, it is a log of what we have done and where we have gone; our record. Despite the number of posts in my blog dropping the past couple of months, I am determined to keep posting, just for our own record. I do recieve a lot of enjoyment from the feed-back I get from my readers. But over time it has become evident to that the most important reason I post is for my own record.
Jeanette's request of Lyon's City Park for our today's birding location proved to be an excelent one. We had bright skies and perfect fall temperatures to enjoy this favorite of ours. This first bird we spotted in the parking lot was a real stumper. A nondescript brown bird with a yellow stripe on it's back. Before I noticed the yellow stripe, I wanted to make it a female House Finch, but with the yellow I was trying to convince myself of a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Jeanette spotted the red male and was thinking a House Finch or a Purple Finch. After zooming in close with a couple of photos I realized we had a pair of Crossbills. The insect I thought was in the bill turned out to be the crossed bill, but wait -- if you click on the image below and look close enough there does appear to be an ant on the lower mandible. We had a great morning, you can see our complete observation list here.
Many bird names are quite descriptive of the bird itself and provide a good clue to recognizing and remembering a particular species. Solitary Sandpiper is the name of this bird in the photo above, and it was indeed all by itself, which is its habit. My wife Jeanette spotted this Sandpiper yesterday while we were birding at Minto-Brown Island Park in Salem. It took some work to come up with the identification, although our first thought was a Greater Yellowlegs, it seemed much smaller. It wasn't until I got home and did some serious comparisons that I came up with the correct identification of a Solitary. The only other one I have seen and photographed was in the Dallas City Park in May of 2013. The most significant thing of yesterdays sighting at Minto-Brown is the last time an observation was reported there was March 25, 1992. This is a migrating species, passing through in Spring and again in the Fall. I suspect they stop here every year but just have not been reported. You can bet we will be keeping a sharper eye out for Solitary Sandpipers the rest of this month.