Sunday, September 29, 2013


Rain, Rain, Rain, was the dominate theme of the weekend here in the Pacific Northwest.  Not so good for watching birds, but fun time watching grandsons play soccer. Will Borja is shown here aggressively charging after the ball in his soccer game on Saturday in Dallas.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Need a New Camera?

Are you looking for a new or better camera?  I’m offering up this “like new” Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.  It’s the camera I’ve used for most of the photos in Cascade Ramblings for the past two years. The 35x zoom with 14.1 mega pixels makes it a great camera for taking shots of birds and all kinds of critters, and the 24 mm wide angle lens takes in wide panoramas. It’s a 400 dollar camera; I’ll take 100, complete with software, cables, and memory card. If interested, give me a call at 541-670-9189, or drop me a line at  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Return to Fairview Wetlands

On a return trip to Salem on Thursday we made a quick stop at Fairview Wetlands again where Jeanette spotted this Green Heron.  Green Herons are good sized birds with a length of 18”, but are hard to see, in fact missed by many people, because they are such masters of camouflage, slinking along the water’s edge, weaving in and out grass and plants. You may even have a problem picking it out in the photo. We also heard a Virginia Rail, not a bird you can ever count on seeing, but because of our time at Beaver Creek State Natural Area this summer, we are quick to identify their various sounds. This will probably become a regular stop on our comings and goings from Elkton to Salemtowne. It’s a great place to shake off the daze of freeway travel, get in a little walk, breath some fresh air, and spot some good friends. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fairview Wetlands

In between appointments in Salem today we had about an hour to kill so stopped by one of our old favorite haunts for looking for birds, Fairview Wetlands in South Salem. By the way, you will be seeing more posts from the greater Salem area, as we are well on our way to purchasing a home in Salemtowne, a retirement community in West Salem.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Snipe Hunting

Most non birders scoff at the idea that there is an actual bird called a “snipe”.  Relying on the knowledge of old stories concerning “snipe hunts” that involved leaving a poor sucker holding a pillow case under a tree in a dark forest at night, they just sort of laugh off the idea.  But there actually is a snipe, and to be more precise, its official common name is Wilson’s Snipe. Rather than living in trees in the forest, you will find them living in marshes and muddy edges of ponds. Despite their oversized bill, they live rather inconspicuously, making it a great treat when one is lucky enough to see one.  This morning in the early morning light I found a group of four while birding at Ford’s Pond near Sutherlin.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rickreall Creek Trail

This morning Jeanette, Buster, I, and daughter Lisa all went for a walk on a new section of the Rickreall Creek Trail in Dallas. This trail, also known as the RCTS, is an outstanding trail winding along Rickreall Creek through the middle of the small community of Dallas. It’s being developed piece by piece, and this newest section, which extends east from the Aquatics Center, is my favorite. Rickreall Creek bubbles a few feet away, birds dart in and out of the bushes and fly from tree to tree in the towering over story. And today we found the shade very inviting.  Oh, and I should add, the location is so close that we walked there from Lisa’s house.  The bird of the day was this male Hairy Woodpecker, shown below, which we were able of observe for some time up close.  The female was close by, but I failed to get her photo. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Last Days

Tomorrow is our last day of volunteering at Beaver Creek State Natural Area for the 2013 season.  The above photo was taken on the bridge across Beaver Creek at Ona Beach State Park on our arrival on June 30th.  It’s been a great summer and it ranks near the top, if not the very top of our volunteering experiences, and there have been many of them. In fact, next month will be the anniversary of our very first volunteer job, which was at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery on the Metolius River for the month of October in the year 2000.

We’ve counted ourselves lucky to have been here this summer at Beaver Creek SNA during July and August, escaping the heat of the inlands valleys, and fortunate to be able to spend a good part of our free time walking and birding on the Oregon Coast. I’ve enjoyed meeting visitors and serving as a resource for questions on hiking and birding, and Jeanette as discovered additional joy in mowing lawns and landscape work.
In the end, I think we see ourselves like the little kids in the photo below I photographed earlier this summer. Although we wear the disguise of 65 year old plus bodies, we have been two kids at play in an exciting adventure.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Summer Returns

With the record rains of Thursday it was easy to get the feeling that summer was gone and the rainy season was here.  But warm sunshine returned yesterday, Friday, and all the bugs and birds reappeared. While walking along the Beaver Marsh Trail I noticed this butterfly.  It kept stopping along the trail just ahead of me tempting me to take a photo.  I obliged, and when I turned around to leave it flew up ahead appearing to want more photos taken.  In whatever direction I would move it would move just ahead of me. I ended up with forty photos just of this butterfly.  It’s a Lorquin’s Admiral, and the most common butterfly I have seen this summer. Makes me think that maybe the summer is not over yet.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


It’s a quiet time of year at the Welcome Center of Beaver Creek State Natural Area where we are volunteering.  Not only are the visitor numbers down with school starting and all, but the bird scene is definitely quieter too.  The swallows, warblers, and osprey are gone, all headed south for the winter.  But a mile to the west of us at Ona Beach State Park, it’s a different scene with new migrating birds passing through daily.  This is the case with the bird in the first photo, a Semipalmated Sandpiper.  They are not to be seen here year around, but only as they come through on their migration¸ in this case migrating south for the winter.  Few in numbers they are to be found normally mixed in with the very similar and more common Western Sandpipers
The photo below is of two migrating Brown Pelicans.  Brown Pelicans travel in the reverse direction.  They are done with their nesting along the California shoreline and are now spreading north along the Oregon beaches.  A few weeks ago, we would not have seen a single pelican at Ona Beach, now you can easily count forty or more collected at the mouth of Beaver Creek. This time of year when the nesting areas of the marsh along Beaver Creek are quiet, the ocean beaches have become the migration highway.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beach Surprise

We love going down to Ona Beach, either in the morning or in the evening. It’s a great outing for Buster and Jeanette and I are always eager to see what new bird we will find.  But last night we had a whole different surprise when we found this fellow using a parasail, I think that’s what it is called, to propel his tricycle type thing back and forth across the beach. By tacking against the wind he could race one direction, turn and race back the other direction. Kind of interesting to watch.