Saturday, April 30, 2022

Mt Baldy

If you want to find out the exact official location of Mt Baldy, you will need to look in the area of the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge on a USGS Topographical Map. Most people that hike to this 414 ft elevation overlook probably think of it as Basket Butte. The more discerning hiker with probably know it as the location of the Rich Guadagno Memorial Platform. We went there last week with the goal of getting a good "cardio workout hike".  But the minute we stepped out of the car and heard the multitude of singing birds, we could not help ourselves and we reverted to our bird counting speed, which is more of a snail's pace. We were not disappointed, it was a beautiful morning of sunshine and song, and we tallied a great bird list.  But we also got much more, my attention continued to shift to the new flowers of Spring, and I paused a few times to snap a photo or two.  An acquaintance, descending the trail, pointed out some Black-tailed Deer on slope in back of us. 


Checker Mallow

Indian Plumb

Black-tailed Deer

Jeanette and I continue to feel so fortunate in living in the Dallas Retirement Village, mere minutes away from Baskett Slough NWR, our "nearby faraway".


Friday, April 22, 2022

Osprey Nest Survey

Twice a month, Jeanette and I lead the Village Birders from Dallas Retirement Village on a bus birding trip.  This Thursday April 21st, the weather forecast was for rain, so instead of a lot of walking, I planned the trip to involve just traveling in the bus to stay warm and dry, and survey four different Osprey nests in West Salem.  Well, weather changes, and we had a nice day which allowed us to get out of the bus at four Osprey nesting sites: Murlark Ave, Bartell Dr, Patterson St, and Salem Audubon Nature Reserve.

Load-up is at The Lodge entrance at 9:00 AM

The bus ride always seems like the most fun.

The stop to view the Patterson St. nest

female Osprey in the Murlark Av. nest area

female Osprey on the Bartell Dr. nest

Monday, April 11, 2022

The Village Birders

I confess to a personality fault; I turn a hobby into an almost full-time job. I've done that with numerous hobbies most of my life; fishing, hiking, bicycling, and now birding. When Jeanette and I moved to the Dallas Retirment Village in January of 2020, I brought with me my hobby / job of birding. I continued to count and photograph birds.  That led to publishing photos of birds with a short description in our resident newsletter, now called Looking Ahead. Next, I started leading bird walks in our retirement facility for interested residents, and called the group, The Village Birders. That branched out to visiting close by local parks, and then, Dallas Retirement Village provided a bus and driver which allowed us to travel to neighboring towns and parks and enjoy different birding opportunities.   

The above photo (click on image) is from last week of The Village Birders getting ready to board the bus for the Salem Riverfront Park, in our first Birding Bus Tour of the season. During the next three months we will visit six different parks to seek out and identify birds. It's part birdwatching, and part social, as Jeanette always provides treats. 

Below is a photo of a Bald Eagle on her nest, photographed from Salem Riverfront Park by trip participant Del Warren. 


Sunday, April 3, 2022

Hebo Lake

Hebo Lake, high on the shoulder of Mt Hebo in the Coast Range, is a hidden gem. The lake is stocked with trout by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the campground is managed by the Siuslaw National Forest. I have been visiting this lake for more than 50 years; to enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, birding, and wildflowers.  On this trip, Hebo was our first stop on a two-day excursion, with an overnight stay in Tillamook.

 After photographing Hooded Mergansers from one of the fishing platforms, we walked the trail that encircles the lake, continuing to look and listen for birds.  You can see our complete list here.  I soon felt the need to stop and take photos of the wildflowers. We felt like we had the place to ourselves. The campground was empty save for the hosts, and a ranger that was passing through. A fisherman and his son appeared just as we were leaving.  Cell service was weak to nonexistent, but adequate inside of the van when we turned on the cell booster. 

 In route to Tillamook we made a couple of stops, first at the Tillamook River Rest Area along Highway 101 to have lunch and make a bird list, and next at Hoquarten Sough Trail to make a bird list. Our parking spot for the night was at Fred Myer, which worked great to purchase dinner and additional groceries. 

Our return route the next day to Dallas involved a stop at Sand Lake to bird at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area (list), and a stop at Bob Straub State Park in Pacific City.  There is cell service at Straub, but not at Sitka Sedge.  I worked on photo editing, and Jeanette made a bird (list), and we had lunch.