Saturday, March 31, 2012

Joy in Elkton!

Today it was easy to find joy in living, the sun was out, the birds were singing, and we got to stretch our legs and get back to birding. We took our usual walk thru town, along the Umpqua River, out to the Elkton Community Education Center and back.  We were reminded once again how fortunate we are to live in Elkton, tucked in along Elk Creek and the Umpqua River, protected from the winds that we had been experiencing for the last three days on the Oregon Coast. The birds even seemed to be in a good mood, allowing me several good opportunities to take photos, like for example this photo of a Spotted Towhee singing his heart out.    

Friday, March 30, 2012


In exchange for volunteering for the “Whale Watching Spoken Here” program, we were offered free camping at Beachside State Park just North of Yachats where we have stayed the last three days.  Rain and high winds have made it a pretty miserable stay, and for the last two nights we have slept with the slide in to help stabilize the motor home and cut down on some of the noise.  When the Ranger appeared at our door this morning to announce that they were evacuating the campground due to flooding, it was sort of the last straw.  We were supposed to man our site again tomorrow, but with continuing rain and the wind predicted to pick-up again we decided to throw in the towel and drive home to Elkton. (The photo was taken through the windshield as we were driving out through the flooded drive way.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

On Duty!!

This is brought to you live from Cape Perpetua-------this is our set up at Cook’s Chasm where we are manning the Whale Watching Spoken Here site from 10-1:00 today.  Rain 100%, wind gust up to 25mph. Warm and dry inside the motor home.  Jeanette and I are taking shifts for going outside to greet people that stop to look for whales.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whale Watching Spoken Here

We stopped by Cook’s Chasm at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area today to touch base with the volunteers managing the site for the day.  We will be taking over the volunteer spot for tomorrow, Thursday the 29 and Saturday the 31 from 10:00 AM until 1:00PM.  It was a very stormy day with lots of breakers making it difficult to spot a spouting whale. Still, there were 114 people that stopped by to have a look. This is a cooperative program put together by the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife in which volunteers man 25 different sites along the Oregon Coast during whale migration times.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Evening Grosbeaks

The Evening Grosbeaks are back!  This is headline news, because this is way early for them to be seen in our area. In the past I have seen and photographed them here in Elkton in May.  In fact, according to eBird records, the earliest they have ever been reported in Douglas County is April 1st, with June being the peak time.  Today we saw them in two different locations during our bird walk around town, and then we have had a large number at our feeder this afternoon.   

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jackson-Frazier Wetland

Today while traveling from Elkton to Dallas, the sun came out in the Corvallis area so we stopped for some birding at the Jackson-FrazierWetland.  This is getting to be a favorite of ours in our many travels to Dallas to visit family. The extensive Bob Frenkel Board Walk makes this an ideal birding spot year around with no worries about wet and muddy paths. I think it works out good for the birds too, because it keeps people at a safe distance. In an hour of birding we identified 13 species.  Perhaps the most unique was one we did not see, but only heard, the Virginia Rail. These are very difficult birds to see, but thanks to our iBird app we could determine it was a male. We ended up hearing the call in two different locations, so we know there are at least two males out there possibly staking out their territory or doing their best to attract some females.   

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hooded Mergansers

This handsome pair of Hooded Mergansers appears to be enjoying a little trip down the rain swollen South Umpqua River in Roseburg.  They were among the 30 different species of birds spotted by the Umpqua Valley Audubon Society today during a birding trip on the Roseburg Walking & Bikeway.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tony & Maggie

I think the high light of our trip to California was our visit with Jeanette’s son Tony and his wife Maggie in Chico.  Yesterday they took us on a short hike in Bidwell Park along Big Chico Creek where this photo of them was taken.  We had lunch at Upper Crust Bakery, toured Tony’s work at Digital Path, and had dinner at Broadway Heights, a pretty complete day.
Jeanette and I are now home in Elkton. Because of the bad change in weather, today looked like our best chance to get back over the Siskiyous before more snow, so we made a fast dash home.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bidwell-Sacramento State Park

Yesterday we moved from Woodson Bridge RV Park to Chico where we are set up in the Almond Tree RV Park. In route we stopped at the Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park to do some birding.  The trail loop that we took was only half a mile long but it took us over two hours to complete, which gives you some idea of the number of birds we found to watch, plus throw in a River Otter and a half dozen of Red-slider Turtles. While we were having our lunch at a picnic table the Park Ranger, Zach Chambers, stopped to chat.  As you might possibly guess, again Jeanette almost got us a job!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Tender Moment

I caught these two Western Gray Squirrels engaged in a tender moment this morning on a picnic table next door to us.  We had spent the morning birding across the highway in the Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area, but when we got back to the RV Park there was so much squirrel activity going on that it was hard to remember our goal for the day was to count birds.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Woodson Bridge RV Park

After four days of enjoying Sycamore Grove Campground in the Red Bluff Recreation Area, we opted for a change of scenery today and moved down the Sacramento River to Woodson Bridge RV Park.  As you can see Buster seems to like this quiet park and with our site right on the river we can bird right from our patio.  But if you know us, we are never satisfied with something that easy, so this afternoon we took off and walked through the adjoining Tehama County River Park, and then through the next adjoining Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area. We might have camped in the Woodson Bridge SRA, but it is closed like so many other California State Parks. So sad to see a state that does not value its parks as Oregon does. We will be here for a couple of days before moving on to Chico for the weekend.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mr Complainer

I took this Red-shouldered Hawk photo from inside the motorhome this morning here in Sycamore Grove Campground.  I seem to have worn myself out birding the last three days. This is such a large park and I have tried to cover it all, plus it is very windy here today, so bear in mind I’m not complaining, but staying inside seemed like the most logical idea.
We always enjoy seeing the Red-shouldered Hawks every time we are here. They are very colorful, and they are very noisy, with such a harsh call that it sounds very much like they are complaining, and they seem to do this a great deal.  While resting up today and contemplating the bird scene, I realized they probably do have something to complain about this year.  My understanding is that the Great Horned Owls are using the Red-shouldered nest from last year.  A few weeks ago when Dan and I first found the owls nest out on the north end of the park it was just a short way from  where we had seen the Red-shouldered Hawks that morning, the Mr. was noisily attempting to build a new nest.  The day before yesterday, I saw them there again still complaining. Now today I noticed he seems to have an issue with a pair of White-tailed Kites here at the edge of the campground who look to be setting up housekeeping, and my best guess is that the Red-shouldered Hawk is complaining due to the proximity to another nest they have used in the past. He seems to be doing more than just complaining this time as I have watched him several times today giving chase to the Kites.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scotts with Another View

Meet Dan & Elaine Scott from Everett, Washington.  Last evening they pulled into a campsite here at Sycamore Grove on their way back home from their winter stay in Borrego Springs, California.  Besides having the same kind of motor home that we have, a Winnebago View, we were almost shocked to discover we share the same last name.  It’s almost astronomical the number of things we found that we have common. For example they are also are long time cyclist with touring experience and tandem experience, I could go on and on.  They left this afternoon for Seven Feather’s Casino in Canyonville, which you may remember is where we drove from yesterday.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sunshine & Warmth

Here we are set up in our campsite in Sycamore GroveCampground in Red Bluff.  It was 75 degrees when we got here at Three o’clock this afternoon.   After seeing 29 degrees this morning when we drove through Grants Pass, we have been having a little temperature adjustment. Our long sleeve fleece came off soon after crossing in to California, and I think t-shirts are going to be the rule here for the next few days.  This campground has 30 sites and we had our choice of any site, save one where a family is camped.  After getting set up, the first thing on our agenda was to check out the Great Horned Owl nest that we found when we were here last month. We found the nest and the female is still sitting.  I’ll have more information and photos in the coming days. I think we are set for a good time. Message to Joan --- we even took a short bike ride which was pain free for Jeanette!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Signs of Spring

I find myself constantly looking for signs of spring.  I seem to be hoping for some positive proof to validate the arrival of spring which I’m sure will be bringing with it sunshine and warm temperatures. Today is a good example of this focus. Spotting this pair of lovely Ring-necked Ducks, I was quick to consider them as proof that spring is close at hand. This has kind of become an obsession of late, and perhaps best explains why we find ourselves heading back to California again so soon.  We are set up this afternoon in the Seven Feathers RV Resort, where I took the photo, and tomorrow we will climb over the Siskiyou Mountains and drop down into sunny Red Bluff, California.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Orange Bush Monkeyflower

Rain and snow the last two days have forced me to spend more time than I like indoors.  This morning while looking through photos of our recent trip to California, I again pondered the identification of a flower photo I took. It was one of three wildflowers we found blooming on our hike of the Eagle Rock Trail in El Chorro Region Park near San Luis Obispo. I have searched flower guides several times and each time I have come up with a zero.  But today, for some reason I noticed a book I had not looked in, the North American Wildflowers Western Region. Conveniently it is sorted by color and consequently it was easy to spot the Orange Bush Monkeyflower! My day is now a little brighter.