Saturday, July 30, 2022

Alder Creek Farm

Hot weather with a week of temperatures in the upper 90's induced us to spend some time on the Oregon Coast with our Winnebago Pocket camping van. Friends Kerry and Debbie Kliever had a campsite for their RV at Nehalem Bay State Park for July 25 - 27 and invited us to join them for the day on Wed the 26. Because of commitments here at Dallas Retirement Village, we didn't get away from here until after lunch on Tues the 26th.  We drove as far as Tillamook that afternoon, stopping to bird at the Salmon River Estuary, and an evening bird walk on the Tillamook Hospital Hole Trail (see list here), with an overnight parking spot at an undisclosed location.  The next morning, we traveled on to Nehalem Bay State Park where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast prepared by Kerry and Debbie, and a great bird walk along a section of Nehalem Bay (see list here). After a lunch provided by Jeanette, we traveled on to our next destination, the town of Nehalem Bay, where we parked at an iOverlander site behind City Hall. We spent the afternoon exploring the town and stopping at a food truck for fish tacos. The highlight of the evening, with the help of a local, was finding the upper trailhead of Alder Creek Farm. See our total bird list for the town here. We got so excited about exploring Alder Creek Farm, that we abandoned our plan of driving on up to Tolovana State Park the next day. We chose instead to stay right there in the Nehalem Bay area and explore the trails of Alder Creek Farm. The next morning, we awoke to thick wet fog, a normal morning for the Oregon Coast, so we adjusted our plan and chose a bird walk along the Nehalem River Dike (see bird list here). By the time we finished there, the fog was lifting and after a stop at the bakery for a scone and coffee we took Highway 101 over the hill to the Alder Creek Farm. This is not easy to find, and I suggest you do your homework before attempting a visit.  After crossing the foot bridge over Alder Creek, you are introduced to a deep coastal forest, thick with Sitka Spruce and Red Alder trees, Sword Fern, and blackberries gone amuck. It was a good workout, and a real challenge to ascertain the trail route. After much difference in opinion, and several false turns, and some retracing we finally found our way back to the van (see our bird list here). The great convenience of our van allowed us to change out of sweaty clothes before the drive back to Nehalem Bay and the City Park where we parked in the shade, and I was able to spend some time working on bird photos.  Our parking place down by City Hall worked well, but the cell service is much better up at the city park.  After a nice rest we decided we had the energy to simply drive home rather than hang around for another night.  The highlight of our trip was probably Cedar Creek Farms. Formerly a 54-acre dairy, this land of pasture, creek and bay frontage, was purchased in 2002 by the Lower Nehalem Community Trust. Additional purchase now brings the total to 140 acres. We have more to explore here, so I'm hopeful we will return again.         



Friday, July 15, 2022

Counting Birds & Cutting Ivy

 This is a Western Wood-Pewee I photographed this morning on the banks of Rickreall Creek here is Dallas.  I have been spending a lot of time on the Rickreall Creek Trail recently, in fact my last two blog posts have been about wildlife and birdwalks on the Rickreall Creek Trail.  Because my wife Jeanette plays pickleball three days a week on the courts next to the Dallas Aquatic Center and the Rickreall Creek Trail, I have fallen into catching a ride with her, and while she plays pickleball, I walk the trail and look for birds. However, because in my past I have spent many volunteer hours cutting back the very invasive English Ivy, I can't stand to bypass a tree in need of some Ivy removal. A few days ago, as I started out on the trail, with binoculars, camera, and clippers in hand, I was aware of a comfortable feeling of heading off to work. My "work", such as it is, can now best be described as "counting birds & cutting ivy". Lucky me it takes place along the wonderful environs of the Rickreall Creek Trail System.     

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Chemeketans Birdwalk on Rickreall Creek

The Chemeketans, an outdoor club based in Salem, met up at the Dallas Aquatic Center this morning to take a birdwalk on the Rickreall Creek Trail System.  This was a repeat of last year's trip, and enthusiasm ran high.

Everyone used their binoculars to spot birds, some took photos, and several used the Merlin phone app to identify birds by sound. We identified by sight or sound 20 separate species. Here is our eBird Observation List

Afterwords Jeanette put together a coffee break in The Lodge Central Courtyard of the Dallas Retirement Village. 


Friday, July 1, 2022

Wildlife along Rickreall Creek

A picturesque stream called Rickreall Creek runs right through our little town of Dallas, Oregon.  The Rickreall Creek Trail System follows along that creek, and is made up of eight sections, some of which connect, and some that do not yet connect. One of the most productive sections for wildlife viewing is the Heibert Section, which runs from the Dallas Aquatic Center east to an exit on Barberry Ave.  This is the section I walked on June 29th and took the following photos. I feel so fortunate to live just blocks away from this magical world of stream, trees, and wildlife.

This little bunny is technical known as a Brush Rabbit  

A Black-tailed Deer browsing on Wild Cucumber leaves

A Green Heron in a Red Alder tree high above Rickreall Creek