Monday, February 26, 2024

Toledo to Dallas Retirement Village - Day 5

 Day 5 found us at the Toledo Marina and Moorage, after a quiet night. Coffee, computer work, and breakfast started our morning off.  Before leaving town, we checked out the location of the Toledo History Center. We will be returning here to the History Center with the bus from Dallas Retirement Village on this coming Wednesday. 

We left Toledo on Hwy 20 in a light mist, which turned to rain before clearing to sunshine by the time we passed through Corvallis. It's been an adventure filled five days, that has left us inspired to do more in the upcoming months, and perhaps years. We birded in the six counties of Benton, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas, and Polk, turning in almost two-dozen eBird lists. We post these blogs in part to keep or family and friends informed of our where abouts, but also to share the inspirational places we visit. In addition, in all honesty, we have the selfish motive to have a record of places and dates of our travels to refer to since age seems to have an effect on the recall and clarity of our adventures.


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Florence to Toldeo - Day 4

 We arrived at the Siuslaw National Forest Alder Dune Campground at Dune Lake just north of Florence on Friday with fond memories and the idea that we would stay two nights and enjoy a day of not traveling, just relax and hike around the trail at Alder Lake.  But as the afternoon turned into evening, we realized there was a catch in the plan. The cell service turned from poor into worthless, making it impossible to work on e-Bird Lists and photos.  The new reality was that we would leave first thing in the morning, drive over Cape Perpetua, and hope for cell service at Yachats. Arriving at Yachats Ocean Road, we had glorious sunshine and 3 bars of cell service. I got right to work getting caught up with photos, bird lists, and a blog post. 

Yachats Bay Rd.
While in Yachats we took another walk-through Yachats Community Park and Wetlands and made this Bird List. After lunch in the van, we continued north up the coast enjoying full sunshine and impressive ocean views through Waldport, Seal Rock, and Ona Beach.  At Newport we turned off Hwy 101 and took the Yaquina Bay Rd. to Toledo, birding as we drove along the bay, here is our Bird List.  We stopped at Paddle Park just before Toledo and parked for the afternoon. I spent more time on bird lists and Jeanette spent time outside in the sunshine counting birds and taking photos.  Here is her Bird List.  

Paddle Park

In late afternoon we continued on into Toledo and got gas in the van as usual because it's always a good price in Toledo.  Then on to the Port of Toledo Marina & Moorage where we parked for the night.  Dinner and enjoyed some YouTube on the tablet made possible with good cell service using our phone as a Hot Spot. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Florence to Winchester Bay - Day 3

Glenn and Jeanette checking some birds

Our first stop for birding for the day was at Cleawox Lake in Honeyman State Park, Jeanette and I had enjoyed it so much the day before that we wanted to share it with our friend Glenn Pannier, plus we wanted his help to verify a possible Osprey's presence. Glenn spotted it, and we got photos, our first Osprey of the year! Here is our Bird List.

Our second stop was Stables Road, an e-Bird Hot Spot on the Smith River just North of Reedsport.  An old favorite of the three of us, it again did not disappoint us. Here is our Bird List. Next was a lunch stop at Subway in Reedsport.

Our third bird stop was Salmon Harbor Marina in Winchester Bay where we did a driving tour and got the following Bird List, and then a second Bird List at Half Moon Bay.

Dropping Glenn back at his trailer at Siltcoos Lake, we continued north, trying to make up our mind of an overnight spot.  We ended up at an old favorite of ours, Alder Dune Campground just north of Florence. When we stepped out of the van, we were greeted with the birds sounds, so made one more Bird List for the day.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Waldport to Florence - Day 2

 Day two started where day one finished, at the Alsea Bay Viewpoint in Waldport. While I worked on the blog post of the previous day setting in the dinette, Jeanette sat in the front seat watching the bay for birds through the windshield, taking bird photos and making a Bird List. One of the greatest features of our van is the Truma furnace that allows us to enjoy warmth and comfort regardless of what's going on with the weather outside. Strong winds out of the SW created magnificent wave formations which dictated that our birding activity for the day would take place in protected locations. With that in mind our next stop for the day was the Yachats Community Park and Wetland

Tucked away in the middle of Yachats is the Commons, a real gem and a favorite of ours, which seems to be enjoyed mostly by friendly locals. Extreme right arm shoulder pain continues to limit my camera use, (who knew they only design cameras for right hand use), but here is our Bird List with a few photos.

Our next protected area to enjoy was the Alder-Dunes Campground. Parked in the day-use area at Dune Lake and enjoyed a view of the lake while we ate our lunch.  The sun began to shine in earnest, the bugs came out, and the birds got active.  We opened a couple of windows and using our Merlin Bird Identification app made a Bird List

On to Florence for some shopping at Fred Meyer, and then a stop at Cleawox Lake in Honeyman State Park for an honest to goodness bird walk.  A nice maze on woodchip paths wound through the salal and rhododendron thickets and picnic benches along the lake shore. Here is our Bird List.

We finished our day with dinner with our friend Glenn at Darling's Resort on Siltcoos Lake.  And, as you might have guessed, one last Bird List.

Our night-time parking was free at the Three Rivers Casino.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Alsea River Adventure - Day 1

Jeanette scanning for birds at Mill Creek Park
 On Wednesday we set off on a 5-day trip to the Oregon Coast in our Winnebago Solis Pocket camping van, with the goal to take advantage of a three-day window of a good weather forecast for Thursday thru Saturday. Our first day was spent driving Highway 34 down the scenic Alsea River to Waldport. This is a trip we love to take, stopping at every boat ramp, picnic spot, and campground to check out the bird life.

Our first stop was Clemens Park, a Benton County Park, 21 miles west of Corvallis. Light rain greeted us at a muddy parking lot filled with pick-ups and cars of fisherman plying the Alsea for late returning Steelhead. We elected for a pass, and journey on. No cell service here.

Next stop was Mill Creek Park, another Benton County Park, and probably our favorite. Besides the parking lot, boat launch, and restroom, there is some picnicking area and short trail up the river. Here is our bird list. 2 - 3 bars of cell service

Close by is the next boat launch, Campbell Park. Very similar to Mill Creek with parking lot, boat launch and restroom, just minus the extra picnicking area. Here is our bird list. 1 -2 bars of cell service

The last of the Benton County Parks was the Salmonberry Park and Campground.  The campground was closed for the winter, but there is a nice Day Use Area out front with parking, rest room, and boat launch. Here is our quick bird list. There is no cell service. 

Missouri Bend Recreation Site is a Bureau of Land Management park with river access. We zeroed on birds here. There is no cell service.

River Edge Campground is a Siuslaw National Forest operation, with a poorly maintained Day Use Area with river access, and a large seasonal, reservation only, group camping area.  We zeroed on birds here. There is no cell service.

Blackberry Campground is another Siuslaw National Forest Campground. It has a resident host. There is a boat launch. Here is our Bird List. There is no cell service.

Mike Bauer Wayside is a Siuslaw National Forest Day Use Area. No overnight camping allowed. Fishing access and restroom. We zeroed on birds. 

The end of our Alsea River journey ended in Waldport at the Lower Alsea Bay viewpoint. Here is our bird list.  


Thursday's Bird Watch

This Yellow-rumped Warbler was photographed last week on the 11th of February at The Pavilion here at Dallas Retirement Village. Now is a good time of year to spot these brightly colored little birds before the trees leaf out. They are busy little birds, so it takes patience to get a good look at them.  I consider these winter birds for us because they hang around here from November through April.  Come Spring they will head for the conifer forests of the Oregon Coast Rang to nest and raise their young.

This is being posted remotely from the Lint Slough Trailhead in Waldport on the Oregon Coast.  We are on a 5-day camping/birding trip, so look for upcoming posts.  

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

This American Kestrel was photographed here in Dallas Retirement Village on January 28th. While parking our campervan in the Jasper Street parking area, we noticed it perched atop a Douglas Fir tree in the water collection basin.  The American Kestrel, formerly called a Sparrow Hawk, is the smallest member of the Falcon Family.  They are a common sight in Polk County, perching on power lines alongside country roads, looking for large insects and small rodents.  Due to the absence of blue on the wings, this would be considered a female.