Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Tillicum Turn-around

On day three,  before leaving Boiler Bay State Wayside we got in a short, but obligatory, Buster/Bird Walk.  Preparations to leave caused Buster to wake from a deep sleep and have a real desire to get out the door, so we opted for a loop around the park.  In the process we got to enjoy surfacing Gray Whales in the kelp beds, singing White-crowned Sparrows, and nesting Cormorants, and more.  Click here for the bird list.

Our first stop of the morning was at the in Newport at the South Jetty.  Here the main birds in the parking area were gulls. Here are a couple of examples.

 California Gull

Glaucous -winged Gull

Lunch was an easy decision with a stop for take out of cod and crab at South Beach Fish Market before driving to South Beach State Park Day-Use-Area. After lunch another Buster/Bird Walk was in order and we walked a section of trail and garnered the following bird list. We spent the rest of the afternoon in our parking lot spot long enough for dinner and the TV news, before venturing on to Tillicum Beach.

The sign at Tillicum Beach said "Campground Full", but we had no worries as we had spot #4 reserved for two nights. It was a clean site tucked in among the shore pines.  In the site next door we noticed a Ford Transit van, so first order of business was to check it out.  Friendly campers from Arizona on their way to Washington.  We exchanges van stories of van life, looking at theirs and they looking at ours.  As we settled in for the night we were quite surprised to find that we had TV reception, however hard to believe, we had no cell service even after connecting up our signal booster.  Now here is where things get bleak.  We can survive with-out TV, but not with-out cell service.  Too much of our life is tied up with the Internet, which when we travel we get through our cell phones, to be with-out cell service.  All the work with e-Bird of listing observations and photos, e-mail, Instant Messaging, weather reports, and Facebook and YouTube which involves many people we connect with in our van life style, are all serviced by the Internet. We reluctantly made the decision to stay put for the night, but we would be out of there at first light, forfeiting our second night fee.  

Rain in the morning confirmed our decision to leave Tillicum Beach. Our first stop on our return route north was at Driftwood Beach State Recreation Area, a place we have stayed many times and knew we would have cell serve. Of course Buster was anxious to get out and explore, and we also knew from past experience this was a good one for him enjoy and run his heart out across the sand. After a beach romp we settled in to catch-up with Facebook, YouTube, eBird (see bird list here), and more as well as hot showers. Buster was mellowed out and content to just lay on the couch, so we decided to venture on.  In Newport we had lunch and got fuel. What the heck, we might as well drive on home.  We made stops at Depoe Bay City Park and Van Duzer Corridor Rest Area for dog walks and driver exchanges. We chose an alternate route home, continuing on up Hwy 18 to the Sheridan Exit, then through Balston and Perrydale, coming in the back-way to Salemtowne.  Home by 3:00pm.  In the four days out, we compiled 12 bird lists in the counties of Polk, Yamhill, and Lincoln.  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Coastal Adventure

Hampton Park - Willamina

Radio personality Paul Harvey famously prefaced his follow up remarks with, "And now for the rest of the story".  This post is about the "the rest of the story", as in what happened after Day One - in the last post back in June. Well, on the second day things fell completely apart, and we drove home the next day.  Many close family and friends know our aging dog Buster has become a real problem with traveling.  He has developed an anxiety when riding in the van, whining, and carrying on to the point of tremors and panting. Since the disastrous end to that planned 15 day trip to Eastern Oregon we have stayed put in Salem. 

For this trip we planned to meet with friends on the coast for a few days, and as a solution for the Buster problem we arranged to for a dog sitter so we could travel in peace.  I made reservations for two nights at Tillicum Beach Campground and we were all set.  Then our dog sitter came down sick, and so we revised our plan with the idea of leaving early, making short drives with lots of stops to walk Buster and look for birds, and take 3 days to drive the 100 miles to Tillicum Beach south of Waldport. 

On the first day we made our first stop 19 miles away at Balston County Park.  See our bird list here.  The next stop was Huddleston Fish Pond in Hampton Park in Willamina, a mere 11 miles.  Check out our bird list here.  After lunch in the park we taveled on to Fort Yamhill for a third stop and walk.  At this point Buster elected to rest in the van, age related arthritis limits his milage nowadays. Jeanette and I made a loop of the grounds with the resulting bird list here.  Our intended stop for the night was to be Spirit Mountain Casino, but hot temps in the 80's caused us to change our plans and drive on to the coast with our over night stop at Neskowin State Park. This is our go to over night place on the coast with the benefit of dinning next door at the Hawk Creek Cafe.

Day two we traveled down Highway 101 fifteen miles to Lincoln City where we made Holmes Road Park our first stop. We were especially pleased to discover a pair of Red Crossbills because they have been very scarce so far this season.  See our bird list here.
   Red Crossbill male

Our next stop was only a mile or so away at Friends of Wildwoods Open Space.  A delightful woodsy trail gave us this bird list here, as well as an unexpected deer encounter.
A search for a lunch stop in the Sunday crowded corridor of Lincoln City took us to Moe's on Siletz Bay. Next stop for some birding was on around Siletz Bay to the Salishan Nature Trail. See the checklist here.  The rest of the afternoon was spent parked in the shade, working on bird lists and photos, and resting.  A Douglas Squirrel busy harvesting a pine cone was another nature find.

For our evening parking we selected Boiler Bay State Wayside, another standby on our coastal boondocking sites. 

Rain greeted us this morning.  When Buster got up at 5:00 to do his morning business, he took one look out the door and went back to bed.  Rain is scheduled to last until 10:00, so I have taken the time to produce a blog post.  Already at 8:00 it is clearing.  Our destination for the day is Tillicum Beach a mere 34 miles away.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Day One - Salem to Detroit

This trip came about because: (1) We had a window of ten days open on our calendar. (2) It's a good time of year to travel over the Cascades and visit Central & Eastern Oregon. (3) Jeanette has long had a dream  of a trip made up short 50 mile days. Many of you know that our dog Buster, has developed a travel anxiety in his old age, so short travel days will hopefully work the best for us all. With all these factors in mind we set out from home yesterday morning in our Roadtrek Zion on our adventure, with a plan of combining relief stops for Buster with birding stops for us.

Lyons City Park

Our first stop based on Buster's level of anxiety was Lyons City Park.  An old faviote of ours, but yesterday morning we saw it through a new lens of the season. Many of our visits to this park have been in fall and winter when the ponds of full of wintering water fowl.  On this morning the woods were full of bird song, and the mix of sunshine, trails, and wildlife worked its magic on all three of us. For out bird list with photos click here.

Western Pond Turtle at Lyons City Park

Jouneying on we took the back road through Fox Valley to Mill City where we stopped for lunch at Subway.  From there we were back on Highway 22 to Detriot Lake for our next stop at Detroit Flats. For our bird list with photos at Detroit Flats, which include a rare sighting of a Horned Grebe, click here.

By the time we had finished birding we were baking in the hot sun with temps approcing 80 degrees, so we went in search for shade and a camping site.  We hit the jackpot at our first stop, Hoover Campground, a Willamette National Forest Campground on Blow-out Road on the South shore of Detroit Lake.  Circling through the campground we found site numer 4, the perfect site for shade and also cell coverage, which we where suprised and delighted. 36 site here of which we had 30 to pick from. Cost 24 a night, put only 12 for us Seniors. Swainson's Thrushes serenaded from the towering firs, an occasional Stellar's Jay warned of our presence. On the shaded picnic bench I set up my laptop to process the photos and bird lists from the day. Life is good.

Hoover Campground

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Birding and Biking in Vernonia

A week ago we met up with our friends Gary and Judy Dinsmore at the Keizer Elks where they had stopped on their way back to Oregon from their winter in Texas.  We spent the  morning birding at the Keizer Rapids City Park, and over lunch Judy asked Jeanette what we were doing next weekend.  That led to a plan for this weekend to meet and camp together at Anderson Park in Vernonia.  We met the Dinsmores years ago in Arizona, when Gary showed up for one of my bird walks at Lake Havasu State Park.  We quickly discovered that we had quite a few things in common besides RVing and birds.  Both couples had a long history of bicycling. But by the time we met them our cycling days had ceased. That changed this weekend.  Jeanette and I got back on the bikes and rediscovered  our love of cycling. 

getting ready to ride from our campsites

We started our morning with a birding on our bikes around Vernonia Lake.  This was a first for all four of us, and it worked out great.  We would ride along until we saw something and then stop and all get a look and maybe some photos.
our crew at Vernonia Lake

After our birding trip around the lake and a short break, we left the camera and binoculars in camp and took off to explore more of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. It was great to find ourselves immersed in the cycling experience again. Back to Vernonia we stopped in for lunch at The Black Iron Grill.   

The Black Iron Grill

Our afternoon included for me working on bird lists and photos, and we all got in some resting as well as planning our next rendezvous. Jeanette and I are committed to continue including biking on our RV escapades.  Thank you Gary and Judy for getting us pedaling again.

Friday, April 19, 2019

A Lesson in Birding

Red-winged Blackbird female

Look closely at this photo of a female Red-winged Blackbird and you can see that she is gathering cattail fuzz for nesting material.  We had an outstanding time birding at Huddleston Fish Pond in Willamina this morning.  It was overcast and threatening rain, and the pond looked devoid of all life when arrived.  Quite a contrast from our last trip here a little over a month ago when we saw a dozen different species of water-fowl on the pond. There is a saying in the bird world, "bird every bird", meaning don't assume when you see a flock of birds that they are all the same species.  A new concept struck me today, "go ahead and bird every location". Meaning, in spite of the fact that it looked like there were no birds in the area when we arrived, it's important to look anyway. By the time we left the pond  45 minutes later, we had identified 26 different species including a very rare sighting of three Caspian Terns. When we started making our loop of the pond, the first thing we noticed was there were a lot of noisy Red-winged Blackbirds, in fact we counted of 20, and in fact there were probably more than that.  The above photo provided a clue to all the activity of the Red-wings, they are busy nesting. The next time we find ourselves stopping to bird at a location that doesn't look so promising, I'm hoping we take the time to look a little closer.

Huddleston Fish Pond

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Day Five - Back to Home

This is the sunrise this morning from our over-night parking spot at K-Mart in The Dalles.  It was a great send-off for us for leaving to drive home this morning.  K-Mart was a great place for us to night park, which we did for two nights.  Unfortunately for K-Mart,  business is slow, but that makes for a large quiet parking lot.  Kentucky Fried Chicken is just across the street, so dinning needs are covered.  Cell service is good, so the Internet works well, and there is TV coverage if we park in this direction. Originally we didn't know how many days we would be gone, but we arranged our schedule so that we could be gone for eight days.  But yesterday looking at the weather forecast with the promise of rain, we decided we would take advantage of the last dry morning and head for home, hopefully ahead of the rain.  We made it by an hour.

All in all we had a pretty good trip.  We birded in a number of different counties, Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat in Washington, and Wasco County in Oregon.  We spent four nights out and never spent a penny on campground fees.  Actually it's not just about the money, it's our preference.  We love the freedom of parking lots and rest areas, and in fact they are in general much quieter than campgrounds and no reservations needed. Perhaps our biggest joy was retracing our Honeymoon bicycle trip in May of 1993.  We were self contained in those days too, with our tent, sleeping bags, cloths and cooking gear on our bikes. On this trip we could only marvel at the miles we peddled then.  The days of youth are oh so fleeting.

Day Four - Birding The Dalles

Yesterday we decided to stay put in The Dalles, enjoy the best weather of the week, and bird the Riverfront Trail of The Dalles.  I picked the section at Chenoweth Creek, and we walked almost three and a half miles, taking the trail north in the morning as far as Taylor Lake, and then a section south after lunch.  Lunch was hot dogs grilled on the George Forman gill, oh the joy's of solar and lithium that provide electricity for all our needs. Osprey provided most of the entertainment in the bird world.

A pair of Osprey where busy laying claim to a nest site and fending off a loaner bird who kept circling the area.  This is the female coming in for a landing.

This is the male, possibly a young one, his chest pure white as the driven snow.

 This female caught her own fish, a little unusual in that the male usually would be bringing her a fish. The fish looks to be a Rainbow Trout, which I would speculate is a planter for fishermen from near-by Taylor Lake.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Day Thee - Sunshine at Last

Chamberlain Lake Overlook

Sunshine final found us yesterday afternoon. The motivation for this RV trip in the Columbia Gorge was to escape the rain in the Willamette Valley. The weather forecast supported that idea originally, but then the weather deteriorated to the point that rain was everywhere. We left Salem on Tuesday in the rain, traveling to Washuagal. We spent Wednesday traveling East in the Columbia Gorge in the rain. Thursday became dry, but cloudy until afternoon when the sun broke out while we were taking a break at the Chamberlain Lake Overlook.

We started this 3rd day of our Columbia Gorge Tour with a stop at Rowland Lake Rest Area.  Not much was going on so we moved on to Catherine Creek where we hiked the 1 mile loop Universal Access Trail.  Birds were scarce, but wildflowers are the main act here. 


Driving on our next stop was the Balfour-Klickitat Trailhead just before the town of Lyle.  Here we had our best bird walk of the trip so far.  Our most interesting bird here was this Lewis's Woodpecker. You can see our bird list here.

Lewis's Woodpecker

After lunch in Lyle, we backtracked to the Chamberlain Lake Overlook Rest Area (shown at the top of this post). It's possible to park for up to 8 hours here, and we considered staying, but after a nap and some down time we were a little bored so moved on to Horsethief Lake Campground.  In the end we just could not see us staying there and paying 35 dollars to be uncomfortably close to neighbors. So, we moved across the river to The Dalles and our regular free parking spot at K-Mart. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Day Two - A Day of Discovery

Day two of our Columbia Gorge Tour began at Cotton Wood Beach in the Captain William Clark Regional Park in Washougal.  This is the location that the Corps of Discovery led by Lewis & Clark camped in March of 1806 for 6 days gathering supplies for their return journey up the Columbia River. The dugout canoe in the foreground was their form of transportation, in the background is a huge double barge and tugboat, one of our modern forms of transportation used to transport goods up the very same route. Who could have possibly guessed the astounding changes that have occurred in the past 213 years.

We journeyed on East up the Columbia River on Hwy 14 on our own little trip of discovery, driving over Cape Horn in a rain storm.  Buster's driving anxiety windshield wiper reflex forced us to make a stop at Beacon Rock State Park for a break.  To park here we were supposed to have a Washington State Discover Pass, which we did not have, nor could we see any place to purchase. Moving on we next made a stop at a boat launch at the mouth of the Wind River.  The rain had let up momentarily and we got out of the van and made up a bird list. Our next stop, which I was hoping would be our overnight parking destination was Spring Creek Hatchery Road.  I had noticed while looking at Google Maps that a large number of vans park there, probably to wind surf.  When we arrived again we saw the notice of the need for a Discover Pass.  However, the sign also said the pass could be purchased on line or by phone. Jeanette called and we got a pass and a code to post in our windshield.  We were set, the rain had ceased, and we were parked out of the wind, so we set out on foot to explore.  Although we were looking for birds ( you can see our list here), one of the first things I saw were some Grass Widows, one of our long time favorites, and the flower that best signals the start of spring flowers in the Columbia River Gorge.

Grass Widow

Jeanette points out an Osprey

Overnight parking spot

We loved our little discovery. Although this recreation area is probably most used by wind surfers, we enjoyed the river side trails, flowers, and birds, and will be back. Note for the future: cell service was good.  TV service only worked when the antenna was able to see West. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Columbia Gorge Tour - Day One

Washougal Bi-Mart

Heavy rain on a daily basis led us to search for drier climes around the middle of last week.  Weather forecasts for the Columbia Gorge were drier and warmer beginning Tuesday, so a plan was hatched to spend a week of travel, camping and birding in the Columbia River Gorge.  However, the weather forecast continued to decline daily to the point of our departure yesterday it was just as much rain in the Gorge as in Salem.  But we were determined in part because of all the great Spring trips we have taken to the Gorge in the past 26 years.  Our plan is to wander along the Washington side of the Columbia River, checking out e-Bird Hotspots and looking for free overnight parking locations.  Stuff happens, and it was one o'clock before we were able to leave Salem. Our first official stop was just after crossing the Columbia River on the 205 at the Biddle Lake Hotspot.  Rain terminated our bird walk after about 10 minutes, and we continued East on Hwy 14 through Camas and Washougal.  Our hopeful first night parking spot was at the Washougal Bi-Mart.  I was a little unsure as the last report to the Over-night RV Parking app was from 5 years ago.  But, it turned out to be true, and we had a quiet night with excelent cell and TV service. At bed time it was raining hard, but we were warm and dry in our Roadtrek Zion. Day-light this morning reveals we were the only RV here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

First Osprey of the Year!

I got lucky today and found my first Osprey of the year at the Osprey nest site on Murlark Ave in West Salem. While the female was sitting on the nest the male was circling high above calling in his shrill voice. Jeanette and I have been watching this nest site on Murlark daily for the last couple of weeks.  For the past 4 years, the first Osprey to be seen in West Salem at the 6 nesting sites I keep track of has been the Murlark Ave nest site.  Last year it was on the 18th of March, so their showing today is pretty much on time.  Osprey are known to return to the same nest site year after year, and I have reason to believe this is the same female as nested here successfully last year.  Female Osprey have a spotting on the chest that is often referred to as a necklace.  Her necklace is unusually broad and high up the neck.  See the photo below, taken on the same nest site on March 25, 2018. Why this nest site has constantly been the first to be occupied each season is purely speculation on my part, but perhaps they winter closer.  Maybe instead of migrating clear to South America, this is a pair that winters in Mexico and has less distance to travel in the Spring migration back North.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Delight In New Birding Spots

One of the things I enjoy the most is finding new locations to look for birds.  This was our quest yesterday when we went to look for Bonesteele Park, a Marion County Park located along the Aumsville Highway between Salem and Aumsville.  Although I have lived in Salem for fifty years, I had never been there. A little research on line, and with maps pin-pointed the location and we were off yesterday morning to find it.  A gravel parking lot with restrooms is located next to the highway. Large areas of grass fields and a wooded area make up this park.  It was a glorious spring like morning, and the portion of the park that is woods was filled with birds.  You can see our bird list here.  I was so impressed with this park for birding that I suggested to eBird that it be designated a eBird Hotspot.  Upon leaving we struck up a conversation with Steve Narrow the park maintenance person and he told us about the huge old Douglas Fir tree that is some 300 years old.  This is definitely a place we will return, and with it's Hotspot designation others will find it also.

woodsy path

Mourning Dove

Hairy Woodpecker female

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Getaway to the Coast

We had a bit of a blank spot on our calendar, and the weather looked promising, so mid-day on Wednesday we took off for the coast in the van.  Most of our trips this winter have been in the southern direction on the coast to Florence or Coos Bay, for this trip we ventured north with our iternary including the Neskowin, Pacific City and Tillamook areas.

Knight County Park

Our first stop was Knight County Park, a combination boat launch and parking lot on the Salmon River estuary at the base of Cascade Head.  This a spot we stop at often to relax and enjoy some birding.  It worked out perfectly on this trip, which involved quite a bit of rain as we drove over the coast range, and then clear skies and sunshine when we reached the Salmon River.  A couple of short walks and some resting filled out our afternoon here.

Jeanette and Buster

Next we crossed  the cape and dropped down into Neskowin to the Neskowin State Rest Area, our nite time parking spot.  Here we took Buster for another walk before dining at the Hawk Creek Cafe.

A nice dinner just accross the street from the Rest Area, followed by a quiet night filled out a perfect first day.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bird House ???

We left our over-night spot at Walmart yesterday morning at 8:00, pointing our van north up Hyway 101 towards home.  By the time we were close to William Tugman State Park, Buster's travel anxiety was in high volume, so we pulled in to the Day Use Area.  His medicine which we could not find before leaving Walmart was discovered in the refrigerator and administered, followed by a short bird walk.  It was during this walk that I noticed two bird house as in the photo above, located at the fish trap at the outlet of Eel Lake.  My first thought at a distance was someone had plugged the entrance of the bird houses with a can.  Once I had zoomed in with the camera I realize that they were actually surveillance cameras placed in a "bird house" look-a-like. I'm not sure if their purpose is to watch for spawning fish, or fish poachers. Here is our short bird list.

We pressed on with our route home, turning at Florence to drive west on Highway 126. Above Mapleton the road took on the look of winter as in the photo below.  The snow continued to deepen, and by the time we reached Veneta, where we planned to stop for lunch, the snow was so deep that only plowed out areas in the parking lots could be used.  After lunch we continue north on Territorial Road where snow plows and electric repair trucks we out in mass all the way to Monroe.  The snow depth decreased as we continued north, to the point of bare ground by the time we reached home in Salemtowne. A great relief to arrive home safe, and grateful for our lithium batteries that provide all the electricity we needed to run the furnace, power the lights, and run the micro-wave.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Day Three

Shopping in Florence

Our third day out on our little escape from the sub-freezing temperatures and snow of the Willamette Valley started out with bright sunshine.  After a night at Sutton Campground we stopped in Florence for shopping at Fred Myer, the Dollar Store, and Shell for gasoline. Heading south, we stopped to bird at Cater Lake, a long time favorite.  Although still sunny, a biting wind off of the lake made the 37 degree seem much colder.  Here is a link to our bird list with photos. Next was a stop in Reedsport of a hot sandwich at Subway and some more shopping. We continued south to the Coos Bay area, stopping at the North Bend Boardwalk to bird, but the cold wind quickly forced us back to the van.  We passed some time with computer stuff and an unsuccessful attempt to get TV reception.  Giving up, we went to the Captain's Choice Fish House for an early dinner. Our original idea was to park for the night at Pony Village, but with poor TV reception we decided to try Walmart which has a higher location.  Lots of room, and for TV we got a Medford station. The night descended into darkness and a full blown rain storm.  The cold and rain was depressing enough that we started to think of shortening our 10 day get-away plan. Checking weather and routes, it looked like Wednesday would be a dry break and we went to bed relieved in the thought of driving home the next day.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Kick'n Around Florence

Our morning started with breakfast at a little cafe in Florence where we heard from a couple that were stranded from returning to Eugene by a wrecked snow-plow that blocked the tunnel on  Highway 126.  Well that was all right with us we wanted to continue south towards Coos Bay. Oh no, piped up a local, you can't get through to Reesport because of snow and downed trees.  So, after breakfast we concluded it would be the best to just spend the day in Florence.  First we killed some time at the True-Value Hardware and purchaed a small electric heater 900 - 1500 watts for use in the van.  The 900 watt setting should work well with our 2,000 watt inverter. By then the rain had stopped and it was starting to clear so we went to check out the North Jetty.  The area was a real mess with the Siuslaw River on a muddy rampage.  We ventured north and checked out the Darlingtonia Reserve with the insect eating plants.  Wrong time of year for bugs, and there were absolutly no birds.  Next we stopped at the Sutton Lake Boat Launch.  Birds caught our attention right away.  A majestic Great Blue Heron sat quietly still in a patch of dead cattails.  A Red-winged Blackbird made his presence known.  As we continued to check off birds we followed Sutton Creek to the campground as the sun continued to win over the grey sky. We got in a nice walk and a respectable bird list which you can see here.  We decided to check the Sutton Campgound for TV reception.  It was good and cell service was adequate, so we decided to get a site and spend the night.  First site we looked at was a pull through with lots of open sky, which was good for us for solar, no need to look farther. Standard sites are 24 dollars, or 12 with a Senior Pass. We had lunch and clean-up, some down time to relax and work on photos.  After his nap, Buster wanted to go for another walk, we obliged, and Buster got to give chase to a bunny rabbit.
Darlingtonia Reserve

Sutton Lake

Site B-1 Sutton Campground

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Fleeing the Storm

Three Rivers Casino
This morning we noticed that the weather forecast for the next 10 days included 3 days of snow ane 7 days of temperatures in the 20s! We decided to pack-up the van and head for more moderate temperatures on the Southern Oregon Coast.  We were able to get it all together and leave home around noon, and by around 3:00 we pulled into Three Rivers Casino in Florence. Jeanette registered us for a free nights parking, and then we picked a spot #43.  I think there are around 100 spaces, and only 2 others had RVs.  We will mosey on down Hwy 101 tomorrow stopping to bird when the conditions are right.  While driving here, about the time we were driving down Highway 99W through Monroe, Jeanette got a National Weather Alert on her phone warning possible winter snow of 4" to 6" for Salem.  We feel we have made the right choice.
 #43 parking site

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Pair of Northern Flickers

It was a spring like day, with bright sunshine.  In a stop at nearby Brush College City Park, we couldn't overlook hearing the familiar rat-ta-tat-tat of Norther Flicker male trying to impress a female. We have been hearing him during our past three visits.  But today we got to see the next step as they got closer together,  her in a submissive posture, he in a dominating pose.  After examining the image closer when I got home, I noticed another surprising difference.  The male is a Red-Shafted variety, the female is a Yellow-Shafted variety.  Once considered separate species, the Red-Shafted and the Yellow-Shafted are now lumped together as Northern Flickers. The red crescent on the nape of the female was the first clue, and the yellow tail shaft feathers support that idea. The photo below shows the red shaft feathers of the male.