Monday, January 29, 2024

Birding in Style

 This morning, we went birding with our friend/fellow resident LaVerda and her friend Chris from McMinnville. We met up at Pintail Marsh in Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge.  The fog was so thick we spent the first 30 minutes sitting in our warm van together waiting for the fog to clear.  It never did entirely, so after making a bird list, primarily of what we could hear, we ventured on to Independence to bird at Mt. Fir Park. Here the weather was clear, and we were able to see, photograph, and make a decent bird list. We decided on lunch next, but the first three restaurants we tried were all closed on Mondays! Luckily for us, we settled on the Independence Hotel. We had a wonderful lunch and excellent service in the patio overlooking the Willamette River. Again, we made a bird list of the birds we could see or hear while coming and going from the restaurant. The four of us enjoyed birding together so much that we hope to do another trip soon, maybe in the McMinnville area next.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

 Two weeks ago, I posted a photo of a pair of Western Bluebirds here in Dallas Retirement Village and said that I hoped they would hang around and again use the nesting box at The Pavilion. This past Friday, our first venture out on foot to look for birds in almost a week because of the snow and ice, we were rewarded with this sighting of the Western Bluebird pair at the nesting box! We watched them go in and out of the nesting box several times, assuming they were checking it out for a nesting site, but it's also possible they were looking for shelter in this string of bad weather. We were thrilled to see them again, particularly at the nesting box, and rest assured we will continue to be checking on them.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

With the cold ice and snow conditions this past week there were lots of discussions among Dallas Retirement Village residents concerning hummingbird juice feeders.  It is essential to hummingbird survival to be able to have access to juice feeders in these arctic conditions, but most of the people attempting to provide juice found they were dealing with the feeders freezing solid. Many were changing out their feeders several times a day in an attempt to provide liquid juice.  As far as I know, resident Carolyn Wall may have the best solution, a heated feeder, as shown in the photo.  Plugged into electricity, a lightbulb gives off enough heat to keep the juice from freezing. 


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Winter Survival

Continuing snow and sub-freezing weather is keeping us contained indoors, but Jeanette is keeping busy trying to keep our hummingbird juice feeder, located outside on our balcony, working. In this photo, taken yesterday, with the temperature at 18 degrees, you can see that leaking juice has made icicles! It's been quite entertaining to watch the Anna's Hummingbirds fight for control of the feeder.  For my part, I venture outside several times a day to check on the campervan where I have the thermostat for the propane furnace set at 40 degrees to keep the freshwater system from freezing. One thing I hadn't counted on was the snow, which turned to solid ice, has covered the solar panel. The batteries which provide electricity to run the furnace are normally kept charged by the solar panel. I have had to resort to running the engine several times a day to make sure the batteries keep charged.  A few more days to go before we get out of the freezing weather. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

This pair of Western Bluebirds were photographed at Dallas Retirement Village last Friday, January 5th.  The female is at the top, looking rather questioning, and the male is in a supporting role at the lower right corner.  We were especially happy to see them as we have not observed any Western Bluebirds here at DRV since October.  Our hope is that they will continue to hang around and use the nesting box at the Pavilion area as bluebirds have successfully done for the past two years. 

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Thursday's Bird Watch

Currently, one of the most interesting and dependable birds to watch at Dallas Retirement Village is the Red-breasted Sapsucker.  There appears to be a pair that reside in a weeping cypress tree on the west-side of Tilgner Ave, almost across from the Maintenance Building.  Several DRV residents have noticed the birds and mentioned to me how much they enjoy watching them go about their job of taking sap from this tree. Although I have recently featured these Sapsuckers in previous Looking Ahead articles, I'd like to emphasize that if you want to see them to get it done in the next few months because come Spring, they will move off to better habitat for nesting.