Western MeadowlarkThis morning I seemed to have an abundance of energy that needed to be burned off, so I selected a bird hike on the Rich Guadagno Trail at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. It's a beautiful trail that climbs and circles a butte through wonderful oak forest. An abundance of birds were making their presence known, most notabily the Western Meadowlark with it's melodious song. It was one of those glorious sunny spring mornings when one can't help feeling grateful to be alive. Because I have lived in the Willamette Valley most of my life, I remembered that Feburary always has a week of unbelievable spring weather. We are right in the middle of that great weather right now. Bright sunshine and warm temperatures every day, the flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are singing, it is the best of spring!
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
This photo, taken yesterday during a bird walk in the Dallas City Park, is our first sighting of the year in Polk County of a Red-breasted Sapsucker. The spring weather has the sap moving in the trees and this member of the woodpecker family is visiting his sap wells for sap and any insects that might have be attracted to the sap. If you look closely at the photo you can see the round hole he has made previously with the sticky sap at the edges. Even more interesting in the photo is the dull look to his eye. Notice the shine coming from a partially closed eye lid. It's a translucent third eyelid, technically called a nictitating membrane. It allows protection to the eye while still allowing visibility. In this case the sapsucker's eyes are protected from flying wood chips and sap while drilling. This interesting feature is found in not only birds but fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Ok, call me a bird nerd, I can't help rambling on about things I find fascinating.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Jeanette & Glenn
We met our friend Glenn early this morning on the Smith River estuary for some birding. Although it was a perfect morning with low tide, the birds were a little scarce, we could only come up with a list of 18 species, so after an hour we moved on to Reedsport. Here is our checklist for Staples Road on the Smith River estuary.
In Reedsport we took Glenn on an old favorite route of ours on the Schofield Levee. Here we found an abundance of birds, ending up with an observation list of 40 species, perhaps a record for us. Checklist for our Reedsport list.
Jeanette & Glenn on the levee
Friday, February 5, 2016
It's a well know fact that the most productive hours of the day to bird are the morning hours. We have proven this to ourselves over the years many times. The second most productive time of day is reported to be the hours just before or at dusk. This is something we really don't have much experience with, but today we got to test it out. After a busy day we realized we had not got out for our Buster & Bird walk. We were just approaching Cottage Grove in our motor home in late afternoon and a walk in the Row River Nature Park sounded like a perfect idea.
We are camped for the night a few blocks away from the park at Walmart. This particular Walmart is a great place to stay. They ask that you register with them, taking your name, phone number, vehicle type, license number, and departure date. In exchange you get a free place to park for the night.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
WARNING: This post contains material appropriate for mature audiences only!
Yesterday morning the sun came out early so I made a quick trip to the Salem Audubon Society's Audubon Nature Reserve for birding. The sun was working it's magic and lots of birds could both be heard and seen. Just as I was leaving I happened to notice the following activity.
Raccoons are always considered nocturnal, yet here in broad day light, I caught them doing the deed.
She suddenly realizes they are being watched.
"Ah, we were just hugging a little"