Sunday, September 27, 2020

More Than Just Birds

 Every once in a while I stop to ponder that possibly everyone is not as interested in birds as I am.  I actually am interested in and take photos of other forms of nature.  Featured in this blog are some that I have taken in the last couple of months.

This nice buck with antlers  was one of seven Black-tailed Deer we saw this morning while birding at Fairview Wetlands in Salem.

While birding at Huddleston Pond in Willamina this past week I saw this turtle.  I was glad to notice it was not an invasive Red-eared Slider, and thought at first it was a native Western Pond Turtle, but looking at it closer after loading the photo into my laptop, I realized it is a native Western Painted Turtle.  

An Eastern Gray Squirrel was a busy guy the day we watched him at Nesmith County Park in Rickreall. A non-native that is so wide spread here in the Willamette Valley, that  is probably looked at by most people as a native.

This sunflower photo was taken back in August in the community garden here in the Dallas Retirement Village. Although this sunflower is beautiful, I was actually after the bee in the center.  This is the smallest critter I am featuring today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ahead of the Rain

Yesterday we took advantage of the last day of sunshine ahead of a forecast of 3 days of rain to get in some birding.  We chose Huddleston Pond in the nearby town of Willamina. A gravel path circles this former log pond and makes it an easy place to bird. The city has supplied picnic tables, benches and restrooms which are now temporarily closed because of Covid-19. Birds were a little scarce, but blue skies, moderate temperature and the beginning of fall colors made for a perfect morning.   
An adult Green Heron escaped across a mirrored surface, and  a juvenile Green Heron poked its head up to see what was going on.
You can see our complete observation list and photos by clicking here.


Monday, September 21, 2020

New Day - Old Haunts

 Forest fires ranging down the west slope of the Oregon Cascades have clogged the Willamette Valley and virtually the entire state for the last two weeks with smoke, starting on Monday the 7th.  For most of the time I tried to stay inside to avoid the health threatening smoke.  On this Friday, the 18th, the rains mercifully arrived and the air began to clear.  Saturday we ventured out on a short walk here in Dallas City Park just a couple of blocks away.  Sunday we felt brave enough to drive to Salem and bird at an old favorite, Fairview Wetlands.  We began birding at this location 22 years ago when we would walk from our home on Reed Court.  Now days the Fairview Drive area is completely filled in with industry, and many workers walk the trails on their breaks.  For that reason we make it a practice to only bird there on the weekends. We were excited to see what changes the recent smoke and rain would bring to the bird population. The rain was insufficient to bring any water to the dried out wetlands, but we saw lots of evidence that the clean air had put the birds on the feed.  

If you look close at the top photo of the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, (you can click of the photo to enlarge) you can see it is clutching its prey in its right claw, presumable a rodent. In the lower photos you will see a Steller's Jay and a California Scrub-Jay harvesting acorns. We had a great morning birding at Fairview Wetlands once again, busy with birds and filled with memories. You can see our observation list and more photos here.  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Birding Closer to Home

First the Pandemic has forced us to restrict our travels and birding closer to home, that is to say most parks and rest areas are closed, so no overnight travels, only day-trips.  Now the forest fires have forced us to stay inside our apartment.  I stayed completely inside our building for three days.  Then yesterday when the smoke cleared a little, I ventured out for some birding just next to our garage.  Jeanette made it out to pick up some new glasses, and in the process talked with our next-door neighbor Jim, and found out that he has a lot of hummingbird activity off his balcony.  We were totally unaware, and we are only separated by a wall.  When we look out our windows we can not even see his balcony porch.  This morning when we took a short bird walk, we looked up from the central courtyard and low and behold there we hummingbirds at Jim's feeders. I took some photos and then when we went upstairs to our apartment. I went out on our balcony and leaned over the railing and discovered I could see Jim's feeders and the hummingbirds! I took some more photos, and now marvel that I guess I don't even need to travel at all to bird, I can just go out on our balcony.  There is no need to drive anyplace to bird, I don't even need to walk out the front door, birds are as close as our balcony.

 male Anna's Hummingbird

 female Anna's Hummingbird