Friday, June 14, 2024

Places We Love to Bird - Baskett Slough NWR

Rich Guadagno Observation Platform

We are so fortunate that one of the places we love to bird, is also very close. Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is literally only minutes away from our home in the Dallas Retirement Village. It is a huge refuge of 2,500 acres, containing a reservoir and 7 different marshes. Miles of roads and trails provide access from all four directions. It was developed to provide wintering habitat for Canada geese, but they have done an outstanding job of maintaining and encouraging all kinds of native trees, shrubs, and flowers. It is possible to get in a lot of birding from the seat of your car, but there are trails enough to involve a good amount of hiking in your search for birds.  Readers will, of course, guess our preference.

The idea of a good hike popped into my mind Thursday morning. It was a little over two weeks from my shoulder surgery, and I felt like I was up to a good quick morning work-out, specifically up to the top of Mt Baldy. Most people refer to it as Baskett Butte, but if you look closely at an official USGS topo map, you will see it is "Mt Baldy". From the central parking lot, we took the 3/4-mile trail to the Rich Guadagno Observation Platform.

My arm was tucked into a sling to protect my shoulder, and Jeanette packed in our birding gear. Singing Western Meadowlarks pricked up or ears immediately, great swaths of yellow and purple flowers entertained our eyes, and up the trail we went. This is the shortest trail with the biggest workout payout. On most birding experiences we prefer the longer trails, and there are many to choose from including trails to Morgan Reservoir, and Moffitti Marsh, to name just a couple.  And then of course the option of combinations. 

We have hiked, photographed, and birded Baskett Slough NWR for many years. I'm not sure of my very first trip, but looking in Cascade Ramblings at the Trip Journals, I found this link to the oldest one: Cascade Ramblings - Ramblings: Mount Baldy Hike: Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge has been a place we have loved to go for over two decades now, it is in reality a place where we seek refuge for ourselves.  


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

 In recent weeks there has been a lot of attention on the Eurasian Collared-Doves in the Central Courtyard of The Lodge here at Dallas Retirement Village.  They spend a lot of time calling from the roof-tops. The interest picked-up considerably when it was discovered that a nest had been made in the rafters of resident Diane Wetherbee's third floor balcony, and there was a baby! That excitement turned to despair when it appeared the mother was not returning to the nest to feed the baby.  Eventually, it was discovered that the baby had left the nest, and the mom had found it, and was feeding it.  This photo, taken by Jeanette Scott on June 4th, shows the mother on the right, her bill wide open to accommodate the juvenile on the left to take whatever it finds.  This was a significant event for us, as we have never seen Eurasian Collared-Doves caring for juveniles.  Stay tuned, as this could happen again, as Eurasian Collared-Doves are capable of mating year around and producing up to 6 broods a year.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Electric Scooter For Sale!

I bought this Phantom electric scooter the first part of March in an effort to be able to get around without foot pain, and it worked! What was originally diagnosed as bone spurs, was after X-rays, re-diagnosed as planter fasciitis, and time off my feet, along with some medical attention, allowed them to heal!  I now walk several miles a day pain free.

If you are looking for some help in getting around, this might be your answer.  It was a life saver for me.  Simple, and easy to operate, it recharges with your household electricity. I paid $349, will sell for $299.  Additional questions? Call or text me @ 541-670-9189     

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

 Garden Home residents Kirk & Cheryl Wagner have a bird feeder in their back yard which has been drawing a good variety of birds.  We were very pleased to find this male Evening Grosbeak, sometimes referred to as a "clown bird", at their feeder on the morning of May 19th.  This is only our 4th sighting of Evening Grosbeaks in over four years here at Dallas Retirement Village, and the first time to get a photo.  They are rather noisy and gregarious birds, migrating through in flocks normally in April and May.  I hope other DRV resident go to see them.    

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Places We Love to Bird - Fairview Wetlands

We are currently on a streak of early morning bird walks, bursting out the door around 7:00AM, which has provided amazing results in the number of birds we get to hear, see, and identify. It is also possible that it is an effort on our part to divert our attention from my upcoming shoulder replacement surgery this Tuesday the 28th.   Saturday, our early morning destination of choice was Fairview Wetlands in Salem.  We have birded here for over 30 years. Our first trip was only a walk from our home on Reed Court to keep in shape for hiking. The wetlands had not even been developed yet. A road had been built for the development of the Fairview Industrial Park. In a wet marshy area, we saw some medium sized birds with long legs and long bills. They caught our attention, but we had no idea what they were. Hours later, looking through bird guides I came to the conclusion they were Greater Yellowlegs. Our first, and we were hooked. We started making paper lists. We have returned many times now, in fact over one hundred and twenty checklists have been turned into eBird, identifying 115 different species. Our appreciation for the cycle of life continues to deepen as we become aware of seasons and migrating patterns of these beautiful creatures we seek out. Here is the link to our checklist of the day.  If you decide to go here to look for birds, overlook the noisy airport next door, and the massive industrial complex that encircles this oasis. It can be just you and the birds.        

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

On Mother's Day we went for a walk at the Delbert Hunter Arboretum which is located adjacent to the Dallas City Park.  This continues to be a great place to walk and look for birds. There is an open meadow with a couple of nesting boxes, and this is where we found this bright male Western Bluebird. It's possible the female is in the nest, and he may be just checking on her. There is a nice bench to sit on close by and observe the coming and goings of this pair of Western Bluebirds. Here is our eBird Check List  

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Places We Love to Bird - Chitwood Bridge

During a recent trip to the Oregon Coast, we veered off of modern Highway 20 to travel the old route through Eddyville and Chitwood. It's a road filled with bends and curves as the route follows the winding Yaquina River through the coast range, fighting for space with the historic Corvallis & Eastern Railroad in the narrow corridor. It brought back memories for me of my families many miserable trips in the 1940s from Lebanon to Toledo and Otter Rock in our old GMC plumbing truck. But on this day, Jeanette and I enjoyed the slow pace and bucolic setting of this almost forgotten route.   

Chitwood was a railroad settlement of 200 people and a bridge, along a dreamed-up train route over the Cascades that would connect the Pacific to the East Coast.  Bankruptcy brought a halt to Colonel Hogg's scheme, and only the connection from Yaquina to Corvallis remained intact for many years. Now the rails lie empty and rusting away. Ony the historic bridge serves to remind us of the important past.

Our stop for a break, and a look around, was rewarded with bright sunshine and a good variety of birds. Barn Swallows were the overriding species, with close to 20 busy swoping over the river for bugs and visiting nesting sites in the rafters of the covered bridge. Here is our bird observation list.  Birders take note, Chitwood Bridge is now a recognized eBird Hotspot. This will definitely be a recurring stop in future trips to the Coast.