Tuesday, November 30, 2010

California Thrasher

Just last night Jeanette mentioned that we hadn’t seen any Thrashers yet.  So, of course this morning I got my first photo of a California Thrasher.  I also got a good photo of a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk with its morning catch. Our daily bird count is rising slowly; first it was 11, then 13, and today we made it to 15.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Buster is shown warming in the sun coming through the window this morning.  We have had cold nights here at San Lorenzo Park, a couple down to 25 degrees, and one more is forecasted for tonight. Did we make a mistake mmmm---.    

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Birding at San Lorenzo Park

This morning we made a concentrated effort to do some birding here at the park.  Full gear --- binoculars, spotting scope, and bird guide books. We heard American Crows the minute we stepped out our door, but in the end, it was kind of slim pickin’s with only 11 birds for two hours of birding.  The most numerous where Western Scrub Jays, followed by Black Phoebes as the one shown here catching insects in the eves of the old King City Train Depot. Next in numbers were Audubon’s Warblers, and a covey of California Quail. My favorite photo of the day was the Nuttall’s Woodpecker.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wine Truck

Jeanette took this photo today of this old truck hauling wine barrels, thinking of our vineyard and winery friends back in Elkton.  It’s a 1916 Republic truck, and is in the Museum Barn here at Lorenzo County Park where we are staying. This is truly an amazing park.  It has so much to offer with displays, museums, camping, and hiking trails, all in a wonderfully landscaped park.  We’re fighting the temptation to accept a volunteer position here, and not travel any farther.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More on San Lorenzo

The photo shows our campsite in San Lorenzo Park in the morning sun after a cold night in the mid 20’s.  Although cold here, it is dry and sunny, and we are looking forward to exploring the area.  I’m always curious about history and names and places.  As it turns out this area was orginally a 22,000 acre Mexican land grant given to Feliciano Soberanes in 1841, called Rancho San Lorenzo.  In 1884 Charles King purchased 13,000 acres of Rancho San Lorenzo, started wheat farming, and founded the town as King’s City.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

San Lorenzo Park – King City, California

This sign at the end of the railroad tracks here at the Monterey County Museum located in this park, pretty much sums up our day. This morning we fled the intense congestion and mayhem that is the Bay Area and headed south prepared to stop when we could find a place of peace and quietness.  We had pre-selected King City and San Lorenzo Park, based on distance and planned to stay one night before moving on.  As soon as we were parked in our site we piled out of the coach and went for a walk through the park, by the time we had only gone a quarter of the way through the park and talked to some volunteers, we had decided to stay a week.  Jeanette chased down the head Ranger and sweet-talked him into a deal, so we are only paying twenty-one dollars a night for the week instead of thirtyfour dollars a night! We have definitely come to a stop!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jeanette Gives Thanks

Today was Jeanette’s Thanksgiving contact with her two boys, Sean and Tony.  They have been moving this week, so a little hard to get together, but today we did.  We picked up Sean in his new place in Oakland and then drove to Tony’s new place in San Francisco. It was a dry sunny day, which is always a plus in SF, and made for a pleasant walk of a couple of blocks to Pasta Pomodoro where we had a great lunch.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bad Weather Everywhere

Here is the road cam photo this morning from the highway junction in our little town of Elkton, Oregon.  It’s a little hard to feel sorry for ourselves because of all the rain we are having here in Pleasanton, California when we see the snow back there. We do however feel very fortunate we left when we did and were able to get over the Siskiyous before the snow.   

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Dry Day

We are having a dry day here, so we got in a nice walk this morning to downtown Pleasanton and back of four miles.  Buster is shown waiting patiently on my lap in the street-side courtyard while his mom is inside picking up some goodies. We also stopped at Towne Center Books to pickup a book we had ordered on California Campgrounds, which strange as it may seem, was shipped from Roseburg Oregon. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Two-Bird Day

Yesterday was just a two-bird day.  The sun was out briefly in the morning and we got in a short one-mile walk here at the fairgrounds before the rain hit.  I managed to get these two photos; a Western Bluebird in its drab winter colors, and a brighter colored Audubon’s Warbler.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Racing the Rain

     We left our campsite at Buckhorn Campground at Black Butte Lake this morning with dry conditions and overcast skies. As we drove south we could see the clouds threatening to come over the coast range. By the time we turned west on Highway 80 rain started to become a real possibility and before turning south on Highway 680 I had the wipers going. As we continued south it cleared and by the time we pulled off at Pleasanton it was dry. I’m sure the next two days the rain will catch us.
     We are set up now at the Alameda County Fairgrounds shoulder to shoulder with other RVs in a packed campground. Kind of a shock to the system after being one of only two RVs in a 65-site campground last night.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Full Day of Birding

Jeanette and Buster are seen here heading back to the motor home, tired after a full day of birding.  We were out birding from 10:00AM until 3:00PM, covering almost 5 miles, on and off trail, through the oak savanna and along the shoreline.  We identified 25 different species, but that doesn’t give you an accurate picture because we probably saw over 50 each of Western Meadowlark, and Lewis’s Woodpecker. What is particularly interesting is both of these species are on Oregon’s Sensitive Species List, but are found in great abundance here. We also saw about 50 Grebes, both Clark’s & Western. It’s supposed to be the last nice day, so we wanted to get as much in as we could. Looks like tomorrow we are going to pull up stakes and head for the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Black Butte Lake

Today we stumbled upon Black Butte Lake. Jeanette and I have traveled up and down I-5 in California more times and years than you can count and have never noticed a place on the map west of Orland called Black Butte Lake.  It’s a US Army Corps of Engineers Project for flood control, irrigation, and recreation.  There are two campgrounds, with Buckhorn Campground being the one that is open year around.  It has 4 different loops with a total of 65 sites.  No hook-ups, but the price is only $12 a night, and with my senior pass its only $6.  When we arrived we were greeted with the sweet song of the Meadowlark.  Later we realized there are flocks of them, more than I have seen in my entire life.  We stopped at one of the first pull through campsite we could fit in and then walked back to pay for the site, it took a long time because there were so many birds; most impressive were Lewis’s Woodpeckers, they were everywhere.  We had lunch, got in a hike, and discovered even a better available site.  So, back to our site, pull up the jacks, pull in the slide, and move to the new site with this impressive view overlooking Black Butte Lake taken late this afternoon. We stopped today thinking we would stay one night, we now plan on staying five!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Red Bluff, California

We took a very leisurely start this morning and only drove as far as Red Bluff to stay in one of our favorite campgrounds, Sycamore Grove Campground. We felt ourselves fortunate to find this shaded site! Spent the afternoon in t-shirts and shorts, walking the trails and birding. Our favorite was watching a pair of Ladder-back Woodpeckers. Summer seems to still be hanging on here.  We were here at this same time last year and the giant Sycamores leaves were bright yellow, but this year they are for the most part still green.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Jeanette took this photo today at about the time we were crossing into California.  We crossed the Siskiyous in dense fog and then descended into bright sunshine.  We stopped for the night north of Redding at Mountain Gate RV Park.  This is a park we have stayed at before and enjoy its beautiful landscaping, pull-thru sites, and friendly service. Tomorrow we will continue on to Sycamore Campground at Red Bluff where the temps are forecasted in the mid to high 70s. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Day of Packing

It is surprising to me to be experiencing a day of bittersweet, this day of packing. It’s difficult of course to have to choose all the things that we will need for the next four months.  But I’m finding it hard, even a little bitter, to say good- bye to friends and family. It’s not that we want to be gone from them.  But there is also the promise of warm sunshine, ah, that’s the sweet part. Today I have to keep focused on that sweet part, to remember the good hiking and birding we have had to the south.  To realize this cold wet day will soon be left behind, come Monday we will be fleeing south over the Siskiyous to the warm temps of California. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Worm

The grandsons have always refereed to Jeanette as Gam’net, and when Gram’net and the boys get together there is always a major amount of time devoted to computer games, the current favorite being Book Worm.  I have no idea how it’s played, but knowing it involves spelling, means count me out. However they all love it from the youngest at 5 years to the oldest at 11 years, well make that 64 years.  It’s hard to tell who enjoys it the most, Gram’net or the boys, they all participate with such concentration and glee.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day with the Boys

Daughter Lisa and her three boys, William, Luke and Jake came to spend the Veterans Day Holiday with us in Elkton.  Lisa needed to study, grandma need to cook, so grandpa volunteered to take the boys on an outing.  Buster got to go because he is a boy and we all piled into the van. We stopped first at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area to use the spotting scope to look at the elk, then on to Reedsport where we hit the Umpqua Discovery Center.  That was a quick run through where all routes seem to end in the gift shop.  However, the outside area shown here was good to run off some energy.  Over lunch at Subway I posed the question; would they like to go bird watching next, or go to a playground.  In retrospect a silly question on my part, our next stop was a playground.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ducks in a Row

I took this photo of these male Mallards last month while at Collier Memorial State Park. I have been wanting to post it for some time hoping to be able to come up with something witty and profound to say, like the importance of one having ones ducks all in a row.  But today, thinking of the U of O football game, the best I can come up with is---GO DUCKS!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Birding Day Two

We had such a great day of birding yesterday in Reedsport that we decided to go again today and invited friends Michael and Melissa Garguilo.  We essentially covered the whole of Scholfield Levee, starting with McIntosh Slough and then along Scholfield Creek and past the pond next to the RV park.  Sunshine did not appear as we had hoped, but we had a fantastic day of bird watching, identifying 31 different species of birds.  Plus we also got to watch a River Otter and a Harbor Seal. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great Day of Birding

The goal for the day was to get in some hiking and birding, and with that in mind we left Elkton this morning in the fog and drove into glorious sunshine at Reedsport.  We first explored some sloughs in the industrial area and were rewarded with this handsome male Hooded Merganser.  We also saw his group of females and a couple of diving Cormorants.  After that we moved to a pond where we saw quite a few Canada Geese, pairs of American Widgeon, Ring-necked Ducks, and Mallards, and a sprinkling of American Coots. From there we hiked a portion of the Scholfield levee and watched several Cormorants diving and sunning, and got to see our first Band-tailed Pigeon. Add to that, lunch at the Crows Nest in the Reedsport Natural Foods store, and a full day of warm sunshine.  Hard to beat.