Sunday, August 28, 2016

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

This afternoon while sitting in our back yard, Jeanette spotted this leucistic Red-tailed Hawk circling high  overhead along with a standard Red-tail Hawk and a Turkey Vulture. I went and got my camera and started trying to get some photos, and Jeanette started making a bird list.  Leucism is a condition where the feathers lack the normal pigmentation and appear white. This can be only small splotches or large areas without color.  Complete lack of color would be considered an albino. This the third year in a row that we have enjoyed occasional looks at this leucistic Red-tailed Hawk from our back yard. To see our complete observation list and photos click here

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A New RV Lifestyle

Knight Park - Salmon River Estuary

This summer it is becoming obvious that Jeanette and I are developing a new RV lifestyle, that is new to us. I'm sure there are lots of RVers out there already using their RV in this way.  With the purchase of our smaller Leisure Travel Van this spring we are using it in a different manner than past motor homes.  The lifestyle that I speak of is one that is not so much tethered to a campground or RV park, but rather has the flexibility to enjoy our day in scenic areas of choice, and then at the end of the day seek out a place to just park for the night.

Wapiti RV Park & Campground

This week's trip to the Oregon Coast Thursday thru Sunday, to escape the heat of the inland valleys, provided a graphic example of this new lifestyle.  We had booked a campsite for three nights at Wapiti RV Park, but on the second day a wedding party of 250 started pouring into the park for their 2-day event.  We got a refund and were out of there.  We drove to a shady parking-lot for a snack and considered our options.  As luck would have it earlier we had come upon a free parking spot at a harbor during our morning birding excursion, so that would became our nights destination and we spent the remaining afternoon and dinner at a scenic location.

undisclosed harbor parking spot

The next day we choose to spend at Yaquina Head Outstanding Nature Area, a BLM managed area north of Newport.  There we hiked and birded, lunched, napped, and ejoyed the scenery.  When the fog moved in late afternoon we journeyed on to the Walmart parking lot.  Dinner, free WiFi, and reading filled out the evening.

Yaquina Head Outstanding Nature Area

With all the conveninces of life on board the van, with no need for hook-ups for water and electricity for several days, and only the need of a parking space, we are free to roam and enjoy.  To quote traveler extrodinaire Ed Seajack - "take joy in your day".

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Day on Marys Peak

We spent the day hiking and birding on Marys Peak yesterday.  Jeanette and I both carry small hand clippers with us which came in handy while hiking the Meadow Edge Trail from the campground.  We actually enjoy helping out a little to make trails better. Unfortunately I have to report that the campground and trails all show a staggering amount of neglect on the part of the Siuslaw National Forest.  Blow downs forced us to abandon hiking on the Summit Trail. Signage is almost non-existent. The campground looks like a war zone.  And why would you chose to log in a campground?  ---- but I digress, we came to escape the heat of the Willamette Valley, and it was a perfect plan.  It got as warm as 72, while the valley hit 92. We hiked and birded, had lunch, I worked on bird lists and photos and took a nap, then we hiked and birded some more.  Because we had the van we stayed on the upper parking lot and had dinner, all the comforts of home. Below are a sampling of the wild flowers we enjoyed.  It's the first time in years that I took more flower photos than bird photos.

Inside-Out Flower

Cooley's Hedge-Nettle

Yellow Violet

Red Columbine

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hebo Lake

We took a little one-night trip to Hebo Lake, high in the coast range, for a little outing and a break from the heat in the Willamette Valley.  It has been 45 years since I last camped at Hebo Lake, so I was a little uncertain at what I would find.  But it turned out Hebo Lake is still a some what overlooked destination, used only by a handful of fishermen, campers, and hikers.   The campground and picnic shelter were originally built by the CCCs in 1937.  There are only a dozen camping sites scattered around this small lake of less than three acres, but we were lucky enough to snag site #2, which has the most commanding view of the lake. A twelve dollar camping fee, means we only paid six dollars with our Senior Pass.  There are no hook-ups, Verizon cell service was adequate at two bars, and TV was limited to three Public Broadcasting channels. To reach Hebo Lake high on the side of Mt Hebo, you need to turn at the small town of Hebo and climb 1600 feet in four and a half miles.  Our Mercedes powered Free Spirit climbed it with ease, and the six-speed transmission held us back well on our returning descent. The quietness of the setting, the deep shade, and cool temps were more than we could have hoped for.  All of which gives us confidence that many more mountainous destination are in our future.