Sunday, July 18, 2021

Rickreall Creek Trail System

Black-capped Chickadee

Rickreall Creek winds its way through the center of Dallas.  Along its banks the City of Dallas is developing a system of trails. At this point it is made up of 8 different sections, or phases. Eventually it will become one continuous route. It is a fantastic location for birding, even though not all sections connect at this time. I enjoy every minute of my time here looking, listening and photographing birds.  Here is a collection of my favorite photos taken so far for this month.

Cedar Waxwing

Wilson's Warbler

Violet-green Swallow

Spotted Towhee

Green Heron

Wild Turkeys

Monday, July 12, 2021

Osprey Success

This is a story of Osprey success!  For background you need to know that this Osprey season of 2020-21 has been a very difficult one. For the second year in a row the Osprey nest in Independence at the Riverview Park failed. This is a closely watched nest site because there is a live camera mounted there and it is watched by a wide audience. Last year the male just disappeared, and the female stopped setting on the eggs.  This year she had two new suiters, but she eventually seemed to give up on them and abandoned the nest.  Another nest site is located at 9th and Patterson in West Salem, also with a live cam, but the extreme triple digit heat in June killed the three juveniles. So this morning, June 12, I was very pleased to find three large juveniles on the nest site in West Salem on Murlark Ave.  

Three healthy looking juveniles on the Murlark Ave. nest site.  Easily identified as juvenile by the white edging on their feathers. The bird in the middle obviously has a full croup, a good indication they are getting fed. This nest site is only about a block away from the river. 

While watching the juveniles I noticed a forth bird circle around, which gave chase to a fifth bird, an obvious interloper. She continued to circle the nest, producing clucking noises toward at me.  Eventually I figured out that she was not going land at the nest as long as I was pointing a camera around, so I hid out of sight under a tree.  Then she came into the nest.

You have to look close at this photo to notice that there are actually two Osprey.  They are so close together that they look like one bird.  It actually appears that the mother is giving a protective hug to one of the juveniles.  Adults are easy to identify by the yellow eyes, where as juveniles have brown eyes. Click on the image for a closer look.


Saturday, July 3, 2021

E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area

one of many new benches along the trail

We took a trip this morning to go birding at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Management Area. This is the site of the former Camp Adair, a US Army Training Base from 1942 to 1945. Jeanette had suggested it several times recently as a place to go birding, and I was not that interested, but once again she had the right idea!  I checked eBird, and it has been ten years since we were last birding there. This nice new bench in the shade of an oak tree caught my attention right off, it's one of many improvements we spotted on our walk to the fishing pond.


Jeanette using Merlin to record and identify a singing bird

The real story of the day however, was our first experience with our iPhone using the Bird Song ID feature of the Merlin app.  It was amazing!  Jeanette is shown in the photo above recording a bird's song.  Almost instantaneously, Merlin identifies the bird and displays the name and image of the bird. This will truly be a transforming tool for anyone interested in identifying bird sounds. It allowed us to probably double the number of birds we were able to identify today.  You can see our eBird Observation List with photos by clicking here


Friday, July 2, 2021

Huddleston Pond - Willamina

Yesterday we took off for a morning of birding at one of our old favorites, Huddleston Pond in nearby Willamina.  We have birded there a lot in winter over the years, because a lot of waterfowl visit then.  But we have not visited much in the summer, so this was almost a new experience.  We were surprised to discover the mosquitos were one of the most numerous life species. One of the most pleasing finds were these nesting Ospreys, shown in the bottom photo. The male is on the left, and the female is on the right.  Not shown in this photo is a juvenile who popped it's head up for a moment. This is particular reassuring to find a successful nest after nest failures this year in Independence, and this past week due to heat a nest failure, three juveniles in West Salem.  You can view our e-Bird Observation List and additional photos by clicking here.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Coastal Safaris

For the past two weekends Jeanette and I have fled the intense heat here in the valley, to seek out the cooler climes of the Oregon Coast for birding and camping in our trusty Ram Promaster City camper van. This morning, Monday June 28th, I have finally found some time to sit down and post a report in the comfort of our residence at Dallas Retirement Village.

Toledo and Florence - June 19-20

We left Dallas Retirement Village early Saturday morning, traveling south on Kings Valley Highway, and West on Highway 20 to our first destination, Toledo and the Depot Slough Path. Here is our Observation List. 

Jeanette counting Canada Geese on Depot Slough

Our hopeful camping destination for the night was at Alder Dune Campground, just north of Florence.  We arrived mid-day and were pleased to have our choice of three different campsites.  We chose a nice secluded site, #27. 

After settling into our campsite we took a bird walk on the trail that circles Alder Lake, and additional bird walks through the campground loops and along side Dune Lake. Our site, #27, was located in the southern loop next to Dune Lake, which is open on a first come first served basis year around. The northern loop, located next to Alder Lake is by reservation and only opened during the peak season. 

For our second day we elected to travel south to bird at Lagoon Loop in the Siltcoos Recreation Area. Here is our eBird Observation List. We spent our second night at Alder Dune Campground and then made an uneventful return to Dallas on Monday Morning. 

Toledo and Waldport - June 26-27

With temperatures forecasted for Dallas in the triple digits we again headed to the coast and Toledo to bird at Depot Slough Path. While walking on the Depot Slough Path, we got a call from Ron Noble to check on where we were, they were heading to the coast, so we invited them to stop in Toledo.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade with Ron and Bev and their son Kent at the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society Park. After lunch the Nobles traveled on, and Jeanette and I spent time exploring Toledo by car. We had dinner at Timbers, and then went to East Slope Park to hang out and bird.  Here is our e-Bird Observation List. We parked for the night at the Toledo Marina. The next morning found us traveling on to Newport and south on Highway 101 in search of more camping locations.  Campgrounds, rest-areas, and view points were all full and overflowing.  At Washburn State Park we found a stop to have lunch after Jeanette removed a traffic cone.  Over lunch we reviewed our options and elected to turn around and head back, and hopefully find a place in Waldport were we could stay. In Waldport Jeanette got some groceries, and we noticed a lot of complaining from an Osprey nest across the street.  I checked e-Bird for Hotspots so that I could log this observation.  I discovered a nearby Hotspot called Lint Slough Trail.  We decided to check it out, and we were amazed at the wonderful trailhead.  We spontaneously took off on a bird walk.  Here is our e-Bird Observation List.


The beauty of the trail along Lint Slough was more than we could have dreamed of.  The trail was lined with spreading Sword fern, with a background of Salmonberry, Thimbleberry and Twinberry, Red Huckleberry, and Evergreen Huckleberry. Towering overhead where tall Douglas Firs and Sitka Spruce trees, the middle elevation was filled in with Rhododendron and Cascara, completing the lush forest. 

The Lint Slough Trail trailhead turned out to be a great location for dinner and a quiet evening.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Birding at Buell Park

Twice a month through the summer Jeanette and I are leading a Bus Birding Trip of the Village Birders from the Dallas Retirement Village.  Dallas Retirement Village provides the bus and driver, and I plan out the destination. Our first trip, on June 3rd was to Mt. Fir Park in Independence. This week's tour was to Buell Park off of Highway 22 on the banks of Mill Creek. You can see our bird observations here
Nine people, plus Jeanette and I and our bus driver, Falene Richardson, made a total of twelve.

Jeanette provided cantaloupe and cookies.
Our last bird of the morning was a hard to find Chipping Sparrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Birding on the Rickreall Creek Trail

A reader of this Cascade Ramblings blog, pointed out to me during lunch yesterday, that I haven't been posting as many blogs lately. OK Judy, so here you go. Truth is, we are simply not traveling as much these days, and I have always thought of the blog as a report on adventures.  But now we pretty much have all we need right here, or close by, to this small town of Dallas. This afternoon's bird walk is a good example.  Rickreall Creek runs right through the middle of Dallas, and several sections of creek-side trail make up the Rickreall Creek Trail System. For our walk this afternoon we choose to walk the section from the Dallas Aquatic Center to the east.

 The majority of flying creatures we saw were butterflies, specifically this species, a Western Tiger Swallowtail. With a wing span of a couple of inches they can trick you for a fraction of a second to think it's a yellow and black bird. Below are some of the actual birds I was able to photograph.  For a complete Observation List click here.

Spotted Towhee

Brewer's Blackbird

Band-tailed Pigeon

Acorn Woodpecker