Friday, December 25, 2020
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Here are some of the ways our Cascade Campers van aids our flexibility. The folding chairs and table are always packed and ready, and when weather permits we enjoy using them to sit and eat outside. Because we have solar, the 12 volt compressor refrigerator is always on and stocked with beverages. So, basically the camper van sits ready to roll. All we need to do is add some food, appropriate clothing and gear, and we are down the road.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
We pride ourselves in not being "Chasers", that is a birder who chases after the odd or rare bird that pops up on some bird report. Chasers will be off on a minute's notice to drive half-way across the state for a new bird for their Life List. Often times it turns out to be a sort of circus with everybody showing up for the freak show. Yet here we were yesterday morning after reading a rare bird report for Polk County of a Horned Grebe being reported at the Sheridan South Side Park & Fish Pond, packing up the van to find the bird. It was cold and foggy, so we took our time taking the back road route through Perrydale, and Balston, stopping at a pond at Perrydale Road and Tucker Road, to check out the birds there. Here is that bird list. By the time we got to the South Side Park it was 11:00, and the fog had lifted, but it was still cold. But we were in luck, as we pulled up to park at the edge of the pond, I spotted our target species, the Horned Grebe, busy diving a matter of yards away. We were out of the van and photographing and counting birds as fast as we could. There were no other birders there, only some fishermen that barley gave us a glance. Twenty minutes is all we could stand the cold, and Jeanette was back in the van boiling water for some hot chocolate! With our new electric heater going we were soon very comfortable and enjoying our lunch in the van. Here is our bird list with photos. We continue to love birding using our Cascade Campers van. It's so nice to be able stop for a meal anytime or place.
Monday, December 7, 2020
Not every year will you get to see Pine Siskins. This little brown striped bird with a hint of yellow is a member of the Finch Family, and usually hangs out in the boreal forests of Canada. But, as happens every few years when the cone supply is scarce, they push south as far as Mexico in search of cones with seeds, in what is known as an irruption year. This year their numbers are phenomenal, with the National Audubon Society reporting that without question, it is one of the biggest irruption years in recorded history.The top photo is a close-up of a Pine Siskin harvesting seeds from a fir tree cone at the Dallas Retirement Village on Dec 1. The lower photo shows a Pine Siskin harvesting seeds from a Red Alder tree cone along the Rickreall Creek Trail System in Dallas on Dec 6.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
We met our friends Kerry and Debbie Kliever, and their dog Max, at the Sitka Sedge State Natural Area yesterday for a hike and a picnic. About the safest way to get together with friends in this time of COVID is in the great outdoors. We drove over in separate vehicles, we put on masks to hike, and and enjoyed our lunch outside in the sunshine at a picnic table. Arriving at the parking lot, there was a cold wind out of the east of about 20mph, and I was ready to cancel, but by the time we reached the beach the wind had disappeared. We took the main trail out across the dike, and straight on to the beach. Not a soul on the beach, bright sunshine, and no wind. On the way back we took a detour to Elk Point before returning to the parking lot. In all we had a great time visiting, and identifying 20 different species of birds. You can see our bird list here.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
We took the short loop around the pond, and the next bird we saw was this female Bufflehead, which was busy diving for food.
The birds were kind of scarce, but we were here in the quiet time of afternoon. Perhaps this is high enough elevation that song birds have sought out lower elevations for winter. Maybe come spring time we will make another trip. You can see our complete list here.
Monday, November 30, 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Earlier this week Jeanette had set up a bird walk with her sister Patty, and Patty's husband, Kordell, for the Friday after Thanksgiving. The location was Lyons City Park in the small town of Lyons, east of Salem. The weather continued to deteriorate as the day grew closer, so by Friday we were facing temperatures in the 30's and fog. We soldiered on, driving through the fog east on Highway 22, and then miraculously into bright sunshine by the time we arrived at Lyons City Park. I took this quick photo before Patty & Kordell arrived, and when they arrived, it was a mad rush to put on as many hats, coats and gloves as we could muster against the cold. We kept on the move to stay warm, and I failed to get a photo of us all. We did have a good time though, pointing out bird sightings as we traveled around the pond and then on through the ponds that make up bordering John Neal Memorial Park. You can see our bird list with photos here. Plus, here is a bonus link to our very first trip to Lyons City Park
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Yesterday morning we took another driving tour of Livermore Road and I was able to photograph this American Pipit along with other species which you can see in our list with additional photos here. The American Pipit is a small sparrow sized bird, and a winter migrant here in the Willamette Valley. In adding this photo to the Critters section of Cascade Ramblings, Jeanette and I remembered that our very first sighting of an American Pipit was in Arizona on the lower Colorado River at Buckskin Mountain State Park. It was during a bird walk that I was leading as a Park Volunteer. Even though I was leading the group, I had no idea what we were seeing. Luckily we had an experienced birder in the group who politely suggested it was an American Pipit. It took some digging but I was able to find that date was January 24, 2011. I did not get a photo that day, but have since photographed American Pipits in a variety of locations. Here is the link to the Critters page of Cascade Ramblings.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
A tip from Grant's Getaways on TV led us to take a trip to the Oregon Coast yesterday to seek out this giant cedar tree that is reported to be 800 to 1200 years old. It's hard to comprehend the years it has stood here and all that it has endured. Giant stumps in the area testify that this tree's family members where cut down and removed probably with-in the last 100 years. Yet here it still stands, perhaps spared because of it twisted gnarly appearance.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
It's a delight to have our winter sparrows back, like this Golden-crowned Sparrow seen along the path at Fairview Wetlands in Salem yesterday. He does however seem to have an objection to our presence. The bark dust path which runs along the east bank of the lower pond is great habitat for Golden-crowns to scratch up in search of bugs. In fact they probably consider the path belongs to them. Fairview Wetlands is our go-to-spot for Sundays. We like it because the many near-by workers who use the path for walking on their breaks during the week are not around on the weekend. In other words, we have it to ourselves on Sundays. Perhaps this Gold-crowned Sparrow has the same attitude, he feels like it's his territory! Here is the link to our observation list.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
Friday, October 30, 2020
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Strome Boat Launch and the adjacent Barbara & Walter Brown Memorial Park. Although the campground was closed in the Brown Memorial Park, we enjoyed a bird walk on the trail along the Siletz River. Bird List
Monday, October 26, 2020
We first discovered Lyons City Park as a birding location back in December of 2013. Here is the Cascade Ramblings Trip Journal for that trip. I looked back in the eBird records and in the passing years we have birded there twenty nine times. You can easily conclude it has been a favorite area of ours and we were relieved to find it survived unscathed. We did see some campers in the John Neil County Park, and learned from the bulletin board that the campground was for fire evacuees only.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Saturday, October 17, 2020
The Village Birders from the Dallas Retirement Village went to Kingsborough City Park this morning to walk a section of the Rickreall Creek Trail System. Immediately upon exiting the cars Jeanette noticed and pointed out some Western Bluebirds. In all we saw six individual birds, the highlight of our morning, and the perfect start for a birdwalk. The weather was a little iffy with threatening clouds or rain possible, and birds were scarce, but all six of us enjoyed the walk. Click on the observation list here.