Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Adventures with Madeleine

On Monday we met son Michael and grand-daughter Madeleine in Monroe at the City Park located on the banks of the Long Tom River for a morning adventure. This is one of our favorite birding spots, but Madeleine saw it through a different lens.

curious Madeleine and happy dad

tug over birds or puddles

puddles win!

Lambie barely survived

Following our adventure we went to the Long Timber Brewey for lunch. Our birding list can be seen here.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Birding Details

Yesterday morning while conducting what is now my daily birdwalk here at Dallas Retirement Village, I noticed several birds flutering around in a birch tree.  I pulled up my camera and did my best to get a photo so I could make an identification.  Once home, with the photos downloaded into my laptop I could confirm that they were American Goldfinches.


Secondly I noticed this bird had a seed in it's mouth, and could further realize that it was harvesting seeds from the catkin on this birch tree. Here is where it went from interesting to exciting.  Notice in the close-up below that this bird is actually holding up the catkin parallel to the limb its standing on with its toe nail! I'm sure holding it securely against the limb makes it easier to pull out the seeds. This make so much more sense compared to another Goldfinch I saw hanging upside down to harvest a dangleing catkin.


Focusing in on bird details is somewhat akin to Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole.  You get sucked into a whole other world and discover details beyond your own personal experience.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Cavorting Crows

There is a noticable change in bird behavior going on in recent days.  A couple of mornings ago while birding at Dallas Retirement Village a pair of American Crows caught my attention.  They were sitting side by side on a limb, and acting a little strange.  As I continued to watch, it became obvious to me they had a little courtship behavior going on.

The female, on the left sidles up a little closer

He whispers sweet nothings in her ear

He gives her a playful peck on the neck

He leans in to give her a little smooch

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Taking Advantage of the Sunshine


After a morning spent in Salem dealing with medical things, we returned to Dallas and some bright sunshine.  A quick change of clothes and we were out the door and over to the Dallas City Park.  Jeanette is shown here scanning the oak trees for Western Bluebirds which we saw and photographed the day before.  Buster stands patiently watching for any sight of squirrels or other dogs.  I have long been an advocate of looking for the sweet spot each day to get out and enjoy.  This time of year, it means waiting for the sun to come out.  It's so great to be living just a couple of blocks from the Dallas City Park and be able to get in a bird/dog walk at a monents notice.  Click here for our bird observation list.  

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Geographic Adjustments and More

 Green Heron

Yesterday had a weather forecast for dry after many days of rain, and we had nothing on our busy schedule, so we decided to go birding at one of our all time favorites, Huddleston Pond in Willamina. We knew we were now closer living in Dallas compared to living in Salemtowne, but to actually experience how close, left us a little shocked.  In mere minutes we were there. When living is Salem, it involved a big block of time.  It was probably a 30 to 45 minute drive, but with Buster along it always involved a stop along the way, and by the time we were finished birding we would usually have lunch at Coyote Joes in Willamina, so it would be afternoon before we were back home.  Yesterday morning Buster chose to go back to bed, so we were out the door and parked at Huddleston Pond in 20 minutes.  The loop around the pond went faster too with out having to make concessions for Buster.  Here is the link for our birding list. We had left Dallas Retirement Village around 8:30, and were back by 10:30, and Buster was still sound asleep.  So as we now adjust to closer proximity to many of our favorite birding destinations, we find we are also making adjustments for Buster's aging and giving him the option to stay home.  

Great Egret

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Taking Notice

I've been going to Community Exercise Class here at the Dallas Retirement Village for several weeks now.  It's held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:00am.  The class works on flexibility and balance, and is open to the entire Dallas community.  It's one of 8 to 12 events that is provided every day here at the DRV for no extra charge.  This morning as the class began with music and instructions by the paid leader, I was almost overcome by a sense of gratitude.  Here I was on another rainy morning in Oregon, in a warm facility, just a walk down the hall from our residence, enjoying an activity with other people in a healthy wholesome way. During mid-way break, I stepped out into the hall to get a drink of water. As I turned back towards the room, I noticed this fantastic art work on the wall of a Great Blue Heron.  I don't recall seeing it before, but I took notice and took this photo.  Has it been there all along, I don't honestly know.  I posted to Facebook earlier that my word of emphasis for this year is Gratitude. This morning I feel I have so much to be grateful for, and my point today is to take notice each day of what there is to be grateful for.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Walk in the Park

This morning, taking advantage of some sunshine, we teamed up with daughter Lisa for a walk in the Dallas City Park. We brought our dog Buster, and Lisa brought her dog Stormy.  Of course we made up a list of birds we saw, plus Lisa always does something with Pokemon, and now she is big into rocks, finding, painting and placing. Living close by in Dallas now, it is convent for us all to get together and get caught up with visiting.  It was easy, as the phrase suggests - - - a walk in the park.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

One of the things I love about living in our apartment in The Lodge at Dallas Retirement Village is being able to just pop out of the building during a short break in the weather to get in a quick birdwalk.  Yesterday while trying to beat a shower back to The Lodge I looked back and noticed this rainbow and the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow came to mind. It's the song Dorthy sings in the Wizard of Oz.  Other appropriate phrases from the song are "Bluebirds fly", "skies of blue" "clouds of white", and "brightness of day", "And I think to myself what a wonderful world".  It seems to me, Dallas Retirement Village is that place over the rainbow, and that is indeed where you will find me.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Progress In My Birding World

Yesterday I was able to get this bird feeding station set up in the Central Courtyard of our Lodge Residence at Dallas Retirement Village.  This should enable me to make my bird observations and take photos from our second floor balcony with ease.  I didn't actually erect the pole myself, we're not allowed because of potential damage to the watering system.  I got the OK from the Facility Operations Director and he dispatched a couple of workers that installed the pole for me.  I'm starting to get used to this pampered life style.  Besides, this saved me from getting my hands soiled and protected me from possible injuries like a hernia or stained back or pulled muscles.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Old Friends in New Places

Old friends Dori Nelson and Bev and Ron Noble joined Jeanette and I for lunch today at the Dallas Retirement Village in the Fireside Commons Dinning Room.  Dori and I have known each the longest, having met over 30 years ago while riding with the Salem Bicycle Club. Next in time is Jeanette, whom I met 28 years ago.  Jeanette and I met Bev and Ron around 25 years ago on a Chemeketan birding trip to Malher.  At that time we discovered Ron and I are twins, being born on the same day and year. All of us went on a bicycle tour on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Idaho together with other friends and family around 15 years ago. Of course Jeanette and I were happy to show off our new place, have lunch, and as luck would have it get free ice cream at the opening of the new ice cream shop, Sweet Treats.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

New Things and Surprises

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Every day during this first week of living in the Dallas Retirement Village has involved learning new things, and encountering surprises. Just the layout of the building of our apartment, the location of the elevators, and stairways to navigate the three stories, the locations for trash and recycle, the locations of half dozen or more lobbies, and most important, the names of our neighbors and fellow residents, has all taken intense concentration. But it is now getting organized in my brain and feels like it is starting to flow nicely.  We marvel every day at how much we are enjoying living here, and even a bit surprised at every ones openness and and genuine joy to meet us. We are now unpacked and have figured out where most things fit in our apartment. 

And now to the surprise I intended to write about, this Red-breasted Sapsucker.  During a break in yesterdays showers I went for a quick birdwalk here in the Village.  I spotted a bird about the size and shape of an European Starling disappear into a tree. I'm going out on a limb here with my best guess that the tree is a Weeping Cyprus, and I hope if someone knows for sure they will correct me. I walked up closer to the tree to see if I could get a better look, and to my complete surprise I found this Red-breasted Sapsucker in this hide-hole. Normally I see this member of the Woodpecker Family on the side of a tree either drilling new sap holes or revisiting to harvest sap or insects. So, even though I consider myself as someone who knows a lot about birds,  I'm delighted to find I have more to learn about birds right here at the Dallas Retirement Village.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Back on Schedule

The past week has been a blur of activity in getting moved to the Dallas Retirement Village.  The movers were at our home in Salemtowne at 9:00 on Monday morning and by that evening we were dinning in the Lodge at the Timber Grill with a wonderful couple that asked us to join them. We got enough unpacked that afternoon and evening to be able to sleep comfortably for our first night in our unit.  Tuesday and Wednesday, and even this morning, began at 3:00 AM in the dark wee hours of the morning unpacking box after box. Plus I have been assembling a new desk for my new small den. (Old desk is for sale if anyone needs a huge corner oak desk) I should probably confess that for the third morning in a row I have indulged myself with reading the morning paper in the lobby of The Lodge sitting in front of the fireplace drinking coffee.  This may become a permanent habit. By 10:00 this morning I had my den squared away, Jeanette had gone to take care of details in Salem, and Buster was still sleeping-in. The sky was beginning to clear, so I got my gear together and went exploring for birds in the Dallas Retirement Village. This has been my dream, to be able to just walk out the door and go birding every morning. So, not having been able to take the time to go birding for the past week, I now feel I am back on schedule. Below are some photos I took this morning.

 California Scrub Jay

 Northern Flicker

 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

 Same Ruby-crowned Kinglet, just displaying some attitude.

Friday, January 3, 2020

A New Day - A New Year - A New Life

As you might easily understand we have been preoccupied with the details of purchasing, selling, and moving to the Dallas Retirement Village for over a month now, to the point that not much else gets done, let alone be inspired enough to post a blog. As you may note the last post was Nov 25th.  In fact I failed to post a blog for the month of December, which is the first time I have missed a whole month in the ten year history of the bog. But, today was a new day in a new year, and the start of a new life.

Jeanette warming her hands on the flame at the Lodge court-yard fountain. 

We were at the Dallas Retirement Village today to sign some final papers, and had some extra time so took a walk around the village and made up a bird list, which you can see here.  I am beyond excited to be developing an eBird Hotspot at the Dallas Retirement Village. 

 male Anna's Hummingbird

At the South East corner of the Lodge we found this male Anna's Hummingbird.  Male Anna's are quite territorial, so we now know this is "his corner", and will look forward to seeing him on a regular basis.

European Starling

Although European Starlings are a non-native species, and often considered a nuisance and of little value, I continue to have an appreciation for their bright and unusual plumage.

The movers are scheduled for Monday.  The next post most likely will be coming from The Lodge at Dallas Retirement Village residence #2204.