Sunday, July 26, 2020

Western Wood-Pewee Family

Every Saturday morning I lead a bird walk for the residents of the Dallas Retirement Village.  Yesterday that walk was on the Rickreall Creek Trail System.  The highlight of our walk was this mother Western Wood-Pewee feeding her 3 babies.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Old Job - New Title

My attitude stalled-out like an airplane with engine trouble this morning.  The weather was too over-cast for good birding, and besides the planter fasciitis pain in my feet has kicked up, making walking a poor sounding option. Then the noise of construction outside my den window interrupted my pity party. DEACON was moving construction equipment around!

The Dallas Retirement Village Lodge were we live is building a huge new addition of 29 new resident units, an indoor pool and hot tub, locker rooms, spa and fitness center. I have a cat-bird seat from our second floor residence balcony to oversee the whole operation.

For the past four months I have been submitting bird photos and a short write-up to our Dallas Retirement Village newsletter called the DRV Daily Chronicle. Most recently I have featured residents in a couple of write-ups, which has resulted in our Resident Services Director playfully suggesting that they should give me a new title of  "Chronicle Photographer". As I think back on it, this is not a new interest for me, I remember back in the second grade at Queen Anne Grade School in Lebanon, I took my camera to school to take photos of my class mates playing softball because I so admired their skill and athletic ability. With the new construction going of outside my den window, I think I will be a busy boy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hebo Lake

Hebo Lake high up on Mt. Hebo in Tillamook County was our destination Monday morning in our Cascade Campers van for some escape time from the 90 degree days in the Willamette Valley.  Here is the Cascade Ramblings link to Hebo Lake. We made a stop on the way at Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area for Buster to get a break, and of course we always love birding there. We arrived at Hebo Lake around 10:30 and hiked the wonderful trail that circles the lake, and made a bird list, followed by a picnic lunch in the Day Use Area.

Here are photos of the birds I managed to photograph.

 Bald Eagle
 juvenile American Robin
 Swainson's Trush
Steller's Jay

 I was disappointed to discover that I had no cell service, so after lunch we decided on a drive to the top of Mt Hebo in hopes of catching cell coverage.  Nope, still no signal, so back down to the lake to choose a camping spot for the night.  We picked campsite #11 which was on the edge of a small meadow, and most importantly, close to the restroom. After dinner we took a stroll around the lake again, taking in all the beauty of the forest and this small lake.

This was the first camp ground experience for us with our new Cascade Campers van, and  kind of a shake down trip for us as we continue to make adjustments to the small space with out many of the amenities we have been used to, like a toilet and shower. The key seems to be to approach this from our years of experience with back-packing. Viewed from that angle, this camping seems quite luxurious.  

Monday, July 13, 2020

Polk County Record

(click on photo to enlarge)
On last Saturday morning's bird walk with the Village Birders of the Dallas Retirement Village we had a "once in a life-time" viewing experience.  We were birding in the Dallas City Park, when Carolyn Wall, noticed a big hawk sized bird in a tree. As we zeroed in on the bird, I recognized it as possibly a Cooper's Hawk. And as we got a better view we realized that there were actually two birds, and then we saw the third one, and eventually a fourth bird, which was busy with short flights in the area.  Then it dawned on me that these were juvenile Cooper's Hawks.  Try as we might, we could not come up with an adult, which would be easy to identify because of the rust colored baring.  It became quite entertaining to watch the forth bird while it continued unsuccessfully trying to capture a squirrel. When I got home and was looking through information in for Polk County,  I was surprised to find that our number of 4 Cooper's Hawks is the record High Count for Polk County. 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Birding In The Age Of Covid-19

Every Saturday Morning I lead a group of interested Dallas Retirement Village residents on a birdwalk.  Since May our birdwalks have been on campus, searching out birds we can find just in the Dallas Retirement Village. We branched out on this past Saturday morning of July 4th and visited the Rickreall Creek Trail System at Kingsborough Park.  As you can see, we wear face masks, practice social distancing, and most important we are in the great outdoors. We saw 56 individual birds representing 21 different species. You can see our complete observation list here.
On Friday morning I had scouted out the route on the Rickreall Trail System prior to our Saturday birdwalk, and was treated to this photo of a mother Black-tailed Deer and her two fawns. It served as a reminder of how many more benefits I receive beyond birds while out birding. And, I would have to add, even of greater importance to my mental health during this turbulent times of national stress and Corvid-19 fears.