Monday, June 28, 2021

Coastal Safaris

For the past two weekends Jeanette and I have fled the intense heat here in the valley, to seek out the cooler climes of the Oregon Coast for birding and camping in our trusty Ram Promaster City camper van. This morning, Monday June 28th, I have finally found some time to sit down and post a report in the comfort of our residence at Dallas Retirement Village.

Toledo and Florence - June 19-20

We left Dallas Retirement Village early Saturday morning, traveling south on Kings Valley Highway, and West on Highway 20 to our first destination, Toledo and the Depot Slough Path. Here is our Observation List. 

Jeanette counting Canada Geese on Depot Slough

Our hopeful camping destination for the night was at Alder Dune Campground, just north of Florence.  We arrived mid-day and were pleased to have our choice of three different campsites.  We chose a nice secluded site, #27. 

After settling into our campsite we took a bird walk on the trail that circles Alder Lake, and additional bird walks through the campground loops and along side Dune Lake. Our site, #27, was located in the southern loop next to Dune Lake, which is open on a first come first served basis year around. The northern loop, located next to Alder Lake is by reservation and only opened during the peak season. 

For our second day we elected to travel south to bird at Lagoon Loop in the Siltcoos Recreation Area. Here is our eBird Observation List. We spent our second night at Alder Dune Campground and then made an uneventful return to Dallas on Monday Morning. 

Toledo and Waldport - June 26-27

With temperatures forecasted for Dallas in the triple digits we again headed to the coast and Toledo to bird at Depot Slough Path. While walking on the Depot Slough Path, we got a call from Ron Noble to check on where we were, they were heading to the coast, so we invited them to stop in Toledo.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade with Ron and Bev and their son Kent at the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society Park. After lunch the Nobles traveled on, and Jeanette and I spent time exploring Toledo by car. We had dinner at Timbers, and then went to East Slope Park to hang out and bird.  Here is our e-Bird Observation List. We parked for the night at the Toledo Marina. The next morning found us traveling on to Newport and south on Highway 101 in search of more camping locations.  Campgrounds, rest-areas, and view points were all full and overflowing.  At Washburn State Park we found a stop to have lunch after Jeanette removed a traffic cone.  Over lunch we reviewed our options and elected to turn around and head back, and hopefully find a place in Waldport were we could stay. In Waldport Jeanette got some groceries, and we noticed a lot of complaining from an Osprey nest across the street.  I checked e-Bird for Hotspots so that I could log this observation.  I discovered a nearby Hotspot called Lint Slough Trail.  We decided to check it out, and we were amazed at the wonderful trailhead.  We spontaneously took off on a bird walk.  Here is our e-Bird Observation List.


The beauty of the trail along Lint Slough was more than we could have dreamed of.  The trail was lined with spreading Sword fern, with a background of Salmonberry, Thimbleberry and Twinberry, Red Huckleberry, and Evergreen Huckleberry. Towering overhead where tall Douglas Firs and Sitka Spruce trees, the middle elevation was filled in with Rhododendron and Cascara, completing the lush forest. 

The Lint Slough Trail trailhead turned out to be a great location for dinner and a quiet evening.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Birding at Buell Park

Twice a month through the summer Jeanette and I are leading a Bus Birding Trip of the Village Birders from the Dallas Retirement Village.  Dallas Retirement Village provides the bus and driver, and I plan out the destination. Our first trip, on June 3rd was to Mt. Fir Park in Independence. This week's tour was to Buell Park off of Highway 22 on the banks of Mill Creek. You can see our bird observations here
Nine people, plus Jeanette and I and our bus driver, Falene Richardson, made a total of twelve.

Jeanette provided cantaloupe and cookies.
Our last bird of the morning was a hard to find Chipping Sparrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Birding on the Rickreall Creek Trail

A reader of this Cascade Ramblings blog, pointed out to me during lunch yesterday, that I haven't been posting as many blogs lately. OK Judy, so here you go. Truth is, we are simply not traveling as much these days, and I have always thought of the blog as a report on adventures.  But now we pretty much have all we need right here, or close by, to this small town of Dallas. This afternoon's bird walk is a good example.  Rickreall Creek runs right through the middle of Dallas, and several sections of creek-side trail make up the Rickreall Creek Trail System. For our walk this afternoon we choose to walk the section from the Dallas Aquatic Center to the east.

 The majority of flying creatures we saw were butterflies, specifically this species, a Western Tiger Swallowtail. With a wing span of a couple of inches they can trick you for a fraction of a second to think it's a yellow and black bird. Below are some of the actual birds I was able to photograph.  For a complete Observation List click here.

Spotted Towhee

Brewer's Blackbird

Band-tailed Pigeon

Acorn Woodpecker

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Depot Slough Path

Port of Toledo Marina

The plan was an overnight camping trip to Brown Memorial Park on the Siletz River, however a stop in route in Toledo to explore birding possibilities at Depot Slough, became the highlight of our day.  

Depot Slough Path

The Depot Slough Path connects the Port of Toledo Marina on the south-end with the Viewing Platform on the north-end. A friendly local out walking her dog, clued us into the Osprey nest and Viewing Platform. You can see our bird observation list here.

Osprey nest as seen from the Viewing Platform

The next stop was at the Hee Hee Illahe Park in Siletz for a picnic lunch, before traveling on to Brown Memorial Park.  Arriving at Brown we found the campground empty.  We had our choice of 15 campsites!  But after an hour of relaxing in a campsite, we came face to face with the reality that without cell service we were dead in the water.  With out cell service means no Internet, which means no posting of bird lists, no uploading of photos, no contacts with friends, no weather reports, on and on.  So, because we get to make our own choices to some extent, we decided to go on to  Alder Island at Siletz National Wildlife Refuge for a birding stop, and then on back home. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Comfortable Coastal Conditions

Yesterday morning we fled the current heat wave in the Willamette Valley, with expected temperatures  in the mid 90's, to the cooler conditions of the coastal forest. Our destination was the birding oasis of the Alder Island Trail in the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge. In route, just before Otis Junction, we took a detour route on Forest Service Road 17 up over Cougar Mountain, stopping at the Drift Creek Trailhead before descending on down to the Siletz Bay. It was a marvelous route of lush green forest with very few cars. A winding road mandated a slow enough speed to allow driving with the windows down and to enjoying  the serenading songs of many  Pacific Wrens and Swainson's Thrushes. We arrived at the Refuge, parked the van, opened up the back doors, set up our table and chairs and enjoyed our lunch at a perfect 70 degrees. Our last trip here was in March, so the amount of green foliage was now almost shocking, and most of our bird identification had to be based on sound not sight. Check out our Observation List with photos.