White-crowned Sparrow juvenileThe Cascade Ramblings website is sort of a one stop shopping center for the nature lover. It started out as a data base for high mountain lakes, where one could find all kinds of information about lakes; like location, route, fishing and camping possibilities, and much more. Through time other sections were developed for wildflowers, mushrooms, and critters. A trip journal developed, and then a blog attached. So now, nature lovers of almost any stripe can come looking for information, whether they be fishermen, hikers, back-packers, lovers of flowers and mushrooms, or, and this is the one important to me now, bird watching. It has become a vault of information that I continue to add to even as my circle of travel becomes more constricted to local trails and parks close at hand. These days I ramble on mostly about birds, and I am amazed at how much more there is to learn, and how exited I am in the discoveries. This photo is a good example. Many years ago I remember discovering the sweet insistent song of the White-crowned Sparrow with it's sharply contrasting black and white crown. It was some years later when I learned to recognize the more subtle brown and white coloring of an immature. And just days ago I was surprised to learn that even though the mature, and immature White-crowns have breasts with-out stripes, a recent fledged juvenile does have stripes. So, as I continue to use Cascade Ramblings as a depository for all kinds of information on nature, I hope others too will find it a helpful source when shopping for information on birds and much more. Check out the White-crowned Sparrow page in the Critters section here.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Jeanette and I already camped three nights in Casper our Cascade Campers van while bringing it home to Dallas Oregon from Grass Valley California. However, the travel anxiety ridden Buster had not camped in it yet, as he waited out his time at the Oak Grove Kennel in Monmouth. Thus the motive for a one-night to the coast that we took on Monday.
We packed up Casper with some essentials, like coffee and paper towels. Plus extra clothes, and food items. Small storage space automatically shortens packing time, so in sort order we were ready.
Although I didn't get a photo, our first stop was at Buell County Park for a break for Buster. This is always a great stop for birding, see list here, and the shady trees and clear running Mill Creek combine for a travel oasis and a reduction in stress. Restrooms where open, import to note in this time of Covid-19. Our next stop for Buster was at Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area for lunch, which is the photo shown above. We did a stationary bird count here from our picnic table. Restrooms were also open here.
Our third stop was at Van Duzer Rest Area, and yes the restrooms where open. We picked a shady spot to park and get out our new handy folding chairs which Jeanette and scored on at a sale at Fred Myers last week for nine dollars a piece. You can see our bird list here. Our next stop in Lincoln City was the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy, which I failed to photograph, but Buster and I enjoyed a little exploratory stroll and bird count while Jeanette stretched out on the couch in the van for a rest. No restrooms here so we continued south on Highway 101 and made a stop at a public parking lot with restrooms, a new important necessity for our small bath-room-less van. Moe's was our next destination for some take-out fish and chips which we ate in the van. We traveled on south as I wanted to check on Boiler Bay State Rest Area. It's important in these changing times of Covid-19 to verify open status. It was closed, and the entrance was barricaded, so hopes of parking vanished and it became our turn around point.
From Lincoln City we drove north over Cascade Head to Neskowin for some beach time for Buster. Click here for our bird observation list.
Saturday, June 20, 2020
I previously posted in May about our purchase of a custom built Cascade Campers van. As time went on Cascade Campers were able to move us up from a scheduled build date in mid July to the first week of June. By June 9th they delivered the completed van to Pioneer Motors in Grass Valley. Our plan had been to have the van transported to us in Dallas to avoid having to travel down and back to pick it up ourselves. But after a week went by with no availability of a transport and prices starting to escalate, we made the decision Monday night, after locating a kennel for Buster, to drive down ourselves and pick-up the van. The result was that we made a 10 hour drive straight to Grass Valley the next day.
Jeanette is shown in these two photos on Tuesday afternoon transferring water, food and clothing to the van, and getting the kitchen set up in the parking lot of Pioneer Motors, who allowed us to spend the night. The lot was gated at night and protected with security cameras. (a private conversation could reveal our night time experience). As the sun went down the electrical system in the van started to fail. Calls to Cascade Campers resulted in the owner, Zach Yeager, coming in the morning at 8:00 to figure out the problem.
Wednesday morning it was necessary for us to drive out of state, (another private conversation could reveal the reason), to Reno Nevada. After driving over Donner Pass and completing business we were pretty frazzled, so we found Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, parked in the shade, opened up the rear doors, listened to the sounds of birds and a babbling brook, relaxed, and then took a walk and made a bird list which you can see here.
Monday, June 15, 2020
I bird everyday. In fact I would be the first to admit I'm probably addicted to birding. But besides the enjoyment of watching, identifying, and photographing birds, there are some additional benefits that are of importance. Easily reconized is the health benefit of getting outdoors daily and getting some exercise. In the process of birding I normally walk several miles, and it is in the great outdoors with lots of fresh air, and at very safe social distances. Often my quest for birds is diverted by additional wildlife sightings, which brings me great joy. Below are three examples of mammals I noticed while looking back on the first half of this month.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
I can count four
Yesterday when Jeanette was walking back from our next-door Grocery Outlet, a Dark-eyed Junco with a mouthfull of bugs caught her attention. She paused to see if it would lead her to the nesting site. The Junco took a round about route, first to a tree, then to a shrub, then another shrub, then to the ground, circling around before disappearing. All this I believe was an effort on the bird's part to conceal the nest location. She came up stairs to report the sighting to me and we went down for a closer look. After searching the most promising shrub, I finally found it, after over looking it several times, tucked in a corner on the ground. Dark-eyed Juncos for the most part nest at higher elevations in the Cascades and Coast Range, but we have had a least one pair and possibly more stick around here at the Dallas Retirement Village. We have heard and seen the males singing on the roof gables and lamp post, but this is the first confirmation that we have nesting occuring here at the Dallas Retirement Village.
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Madeleine our grand-daughter lives in Springfield, so with Covid-19 we have not gotten to see her in person. We keep in touch via phone calls, but that's not the same as in person. Our last get together was in February 19th at the City Park in Monroe. With Phase 1 in place we decided to meet up again at the same park. Michael brough baseball stuff and Madeleine's trike and we all had a fun time.
"Grama-nett" demonstrates taking a swing
Madeleine takes a swing
Madeleine readies her trike
off on a trike trip
The Long Timber Brewey was our planned lunch stop. We put on our masks to enter the brewey only to find it had just started closing on Mondays and Tuesdays. Plan "B" became to drive to Junction City and get a Subway to take to a park. We found tables at Laurel Park, which worked out great for a picnic in the sunshine.