Thursday, March 31, 2011

Green Heron

We spotted this adult Green Heron on the far bank of a pond, and if you know about Green Herons you know that they are very elusive birds, so I was a little surprised that it turned out to be the best photo of the day today. Last night the plan had been to drive to Reedsport in the morning and go birding on the levee, but this morning when I looked at the Trip Check road cam it was raining in Reedsport. It wasn’t raining here, nor in the valley, so we amended the plan and drove to Cottage Grove to bird at the Row River Nature Park.  It turned out to be a good decision as this park is loaded with birds.  I was here a few weeks ago, but this was Jeanette’s first time. We identified everything from diminutive Ruby-crowned Kinglets, to huge Bald Eagles, 23 species in all.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wild Turkeys

One of the birds we see regularly on our daily walks in Elkton are Wild Turkeys.  My guess is that the common name of “Wild Turkey” is meant to distinguish these turkeys from those that are grown commercially, but they birds are anything but wild.  They make themselves right at home in Elkton, wandering from yard to yard, up and down the streets.  They dig in the flower gardens and poop on the sidewalks.  Right now they are starting to get more color to them as they move into the mating season. And as luck would have it my new camera has a setting for vivid colors, which I think is going to work well for bird photos.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Strange Day

Yesterday was a strange day in many ways.  We woke up to rain and thought we were going to be house bound for the day, but as I sat reading the Sunday morning paper, I spotted a camera deal---- a brand new model of Canon, a Power Shot SX30IS with a 35x zoom, on sale at Fred Meyer for less than I could find on Amazon.  I made some calls, Fred Meyer in Florence had one left, and next thing we were off in the pouring rain for a day of shopping. I got the camera; we did our shopping, and we had lunch.  On the way home the rain stopped, the clouds cleared and the sun came out, so we stopped at Siltcoos Lagoon to stretch our legs and try out the new camera.  That’s where I took this photo of this Great Blue Heron.  And I also accidently took three photos of the back-side of the lens cap, and a movie, just because I didn’t know what all the buttons did! It was a strange day, but in a good way.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Lucky Day

I took this photo today during a bird walk we took on the Reedsport Levee, one of our favorite “hot spots” for birding. This Steller’s Jay appears to be trying to hide from me behind a willow branch.  The sun was also playing hide and seek with us, but we were lucky enough to complete our bird walk without getting rained on, and we were able to identify 28 species.  Toping that, two of the birds we identified were “first” for us, a Red-breasted Merganser, and the Myrtle form of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. I had assumed the warbler was the Audubon’s form of the Yellow-rumped Warbler, because we have seen them a lot, and it wasn’t until I got home and looked closely at the photos that I realized I had the Myrtle form of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. I repeat, it was a lucky day.     

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Window Crash

Buster was really curious about this Dark-eyed Junco that accidently crashed into our front window.  The poor bird sat there dazed for a long time on our outdoor table before he was able to recover enough to stand up, take some steps, walk to the edge of table and fly off.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

The latest addition to the CRITTERS of Cascade Ramblings is this Pileated Woodpecker I took this morning.  Every day I make sure to take our dog Buster for a walk, and recently these walks have sort of evolved into a Buster/Bird Walk. Today on our walk I stopped to talk with friends Greg and Linda, and Linda pointed out this woodpecker in an old fruit tree next to the road. She says this is a common site, they see him often and he does not seem bothered by observers. I will definitely be checking out this location again. I’m beginning to believe that good birding as a general rule may always be available close at hand if a person makes the effort to look. For more click here

Monday, March 21, 2011

Third Egg!

The Red-tailed Hawk that is being videoed by KGW’s Audubon Rapture Cam has now laid her third egg.  The nest is on the side of a building in Portland.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a real treat to get to observe the nest in real time. Check it out here. Be patient and wait for the advertisement to run first.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lynx Hollow State Park

Today I attended a work party at Lynx Hollow State Park.  Never heard of it? Neither had I.  It’s located on Davisson Road, South of Creswell.  The work party was organized by the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council. Park Ranger Scott Youngblood managed the work effort which was pulling invasive Scotch Broom.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Canada Goose

Today Michael Garguilo and I attended a bird walk at the Row River Nature Park in Cottage Grove. Although it was cold and rainy we had a good time and were able to identify 23 different species of birds. The bird that was the easiest to photograph was this Canada Goose,  which you will notice certainly had his eye on us. The event was put on by the Coast Fork Watershed Council and the Lane County Audubon Society.  I hope to become more involved with both of these organizations in the near future.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami = Change of Plans

We had planned to hike at the coast today, but when Jeanette turned on the TV this morning sometime after 6:00AM, it was obvious we would be canceling that plan.  To begin with we were glued to the TV and our laptops watching live streams on the Internet for hours. It was only a few days ago that we were in Crescent City camped right on the bay a mere few feet from the water. Later this morning when it looked like the worst was over and the sun came out we took a long walk up Schad Road along Elk Creek. It’s one of our favorite local walks, and the fresh air and exercise was just what we needed.  Birding is always good for us on this walk, and today we spotted 17 different species.  The weirdest being a Steller’s Jay who tried to impress or intimidate us by imitating the call of a Red-tailed Hawk.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Home at Last

Home at last, thank God, I’m home at last.  I realize this is a very loose paraphrasing of the late Dr. King, but it is the feeling that is escaping from my soul today.  We have been on the road and driving for a solid week.   We arrived in our quiet little town of Elkton late this morning.  For the last 24 hours we have been gazing at the green of Oregon, and absorbing the moist air into our lungs. It’s great to be home. We have been asked by several people to bring the sunshine with us.  I don’t know that we did—we seem to have a mix of rain showers and sunny spots.  But it was almost like we did bring back one of our birds with us.  We saw a Black Phoebe off our front porch when we arrived.  We saw them daily in Arizona, and have seen them in California, but I don’t ever remember seeing one in Oregon.  I’m taking it as a good omen----there will be birding in my days ahead.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bandon, Oregon

We arrived at Bullards Beach State Park today in glorious sunshine!  We are camped here to join friends Dan & Charlene and Gary & Pam who spent the weekend here.  We all got in a good walk this afternoon, and we will be headed out in the morning for our final leg to Elkton.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crescent City, California

Crescent City, California is where we stopped for the day.  It was another demanding driving day, with rain added to the mix. We left Willets around 8 this morning and stopped here around 2:30. We are in Shoreline RV Park, an almost unknown campground located next to Elk Creek right on the bay, with a pull through site facing the bay with full hook-ups including cable TV, for only 20 dollars! We knew about this park and are staying here because of great memories of camping here on our bicycle trip from Canada to Mexico in 1999. On to Bullards Beach State Park tomorrow, and then on to Elkton on Monday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Willits, California

Tonight we are camped in the KOA in Willits, California.  It was a demanding day of driving as we took a combination of back roads to skirt Sacramento and then twisted and turned through the hills to Clear Lake and on to Hwy 101.  This was the fourth day of driving in sunshine since leaving Arizona, but I think based on the weather forecast it will probably be our last.  Tomorrow we continue north on Hwy 101.  We’re planning by Sunday to make it to Bullards Beach State Park in Oregon to camp with friends.   

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dos Reis County Park

We are camped tonight south of Stockton in Dos Reis County Park after driving here today from the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield.  We have been fortunate to have been able to drive in sunshine the last two days. Dos Reis is a favorite of ours and we usually stay here every year coming or going to Arizona.  There is always room, it’s very quiet, and it makes a good base from which to visit family in the Bay Area. After arriving here this afternoon and setting up we went for a walk, and in less than an hour we had identified 10 species of birds. We realized we always enjoy great birding here, although it is never our reason for staying here. Photo: Great Egret, San Joaquin River, Dos Reis Park.