November 5, 2014
As I raced down the hill and through the fog Sunday morning, on my way to join a group of birders I was suddenly stopped in my tracks. Simultaneously the fog lifted, the sun began to rise and the colors in the sky were rearranged into this magnificent order. I thought of a friend who’s fighting cancer. I had to stop and take this shot for her. I felt overpowering love from this sky, the kind of love where your heart opens without bounds. It was a fabulous beginning.
Then as I crossed the bridge and saw that gorgeous light behind those clouds….I had confirmation of the fabulous day ahead! Lucky for me there was no one behind me on the bridge!!
As we walked toward the river from where we parked at The Hook, we saw this cute little Golden-crowned Sparrow, wearing his winter feathers.
We slowly worked our way to Waucoma Basin, but I lagged behind when I heard the call of one of my favorites, a Belted Kingfisher! We know he’s a male because he has no orange belt.
Down at the Basin we saw Mallards of course, but among them were a couple of Northern Shovelers, including this female.
Several Wood Ducks were also in the Basin – they were our big draw. The males are easy to see, but there are two females in this image also!
Walking further along the Hook’s gravel road, we felt the warm sun gracing us with better light on this Horned Grebe in winter plumage. There was a large raft of Grebes and Ducks farther out on the Columbia.
Just when I thought I had my Wigeons and Ruddys down, I suddenly can’t identify most of the waterfowl I saw. This is a male Ring-necked Duck and I love his golden eye!
Half our group decided to go over to the marina and a couple of us watched this little White-crowned Sparrow for a moment before we joined them.
I cropped this raft of ducks super tight because I didn’t see the ‘Redhead’ that everyone wanted me to see until I looked at my photos. I wish I had written down all the names of waterfowl the other birders were calling out!
Trio of ducks taking off from the raft. I thought I knew what these were yesterday.
I had never noticed this size difference in Gulls…or maybe I hadn’t noticed little Boneparte’s Gulls before. They were on the sandbar at the Hood River Marina.
A resident Great Blue Heron greeted us as we walked along the path next to the Hood River from the beach towards the foot bridge.
On our way to the foot bridge we stopped to watch a large group of Killdeer.
I learned to watch for other birds like this Least Sandpiper when Killdeer are present.
We crossed the Hood River and checked Nichols Basin for Night Herons but didn’t see any. This female Common Merganser slept (or pretended to) during our walk out and back in – see her peeking out at me?
To finish off the day a couple of us stood on the foot bridge watching salmon spawn! Then back at the beach I got close enough to watch a Merlin bathing in the Columbia at the edge of the sandbar, but alas my shots are too blurry to share.
I love going out with this group!! The first Sunday morning of each month. Care to join us?!!
November 4, 2014
It was dark and raining near dawn Friday morning, but there it was – a rare bird skittering near the water’s edge, a Northern Waterthrush. Seldom seen in our area of the Pacific Northwest, two local birding experts had invited me along to document and wanted to be sure they were correct in their assessment. My photos are not the best, but in spite of the not-so-sharp image you can see his markings.
We stood in the sand across the pond, rain pouring down as we watched him run back and forth between water’s edge and the cover of false indigo shrubs. He’s actually in the warbler family and I learned a lot from these experts. While there I peppered them with all my bird-related questions, some of which they could answer & others they couldn’t.
We also watched a trio of Dunlins traversing the beach at The Dalles Waterfront Park, close to where we saw the Northern Waterthrush.
…and a little Merlin decided to grace us with his presence.
We finished our travels at the boat ramp where a raft of American Coots and assorted ducks swam closer to us.
Back at the Ranch, so to speak we came upon a Mourning Dove near the parking lot where we started.
Sunday I joined a group of birders on the Hood River waterfront – the more I immerse myself in a bird’s world, the more I learn and I think my photos are improving. Oh, I’ll still show you a blur now and again if it reminds me of a special experience that I want to share with you. I’ll post pics from Sunday in a day or two…..
October 30, 2014
The Hood River Holiday Pop-Up opens Saturday, November 1st. Open hours are 10am until 6 pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in November and December; and every day December 12 – 25. A fabulous place to do your holiday shopping, located at 301 Oak Street in Hood River. I’m honored to have my work juried in with many artist friends including Kathy Watne enamels and several artists from Gorge Artists Open Studios.
You’ll find my ‘Buggettes’ (also featured on the poster, yay!), art glass star ornaments, miniature plates, treasure/trinket boxes, wall pocket vases and some sweet 8 x 10 photographs printed on metal along with some of my favorite images printed on all occasion greeting cards.
Don’t forget the ‘Snow’ Show opens First Friday at Columbia Arts in Hood River with some fabulous artwork depicting snow. I may post a teaser of my work on my Steider Studios Facebook page, if time allows.
I’ll take my art glass and photography on the road again and meet you at the Soroptimist’s 10th Annual Artisan Shopping Extravaganza! Held at the Hood River Inn one day only, Saturday November 22nd from 10 am until 4 pm. Mark your calendars, this is a good show!
December 5 I’ll be in The Dalles with a small table of work at the MCMC Holiday Market in the Medical Office building. December 6th you’ll find me in Trout Lake for the Holiday Market at the Trout Lake School, sponsored by the National Honor Society. More info on both shows as we get closer to the events.
Until then, I think I’ll catch up around the studio as quickly as I can, then take a long and leisurely Sunday Drive up to Glenwood and visit my favorite National Wildlife Refuge, Conboy for inspiration and relaxation!
October 17, 2014
Flying by the seat of my pants to catch up, I stayed outside too long with my camera. Now I’m buried in my studio working as fast as I can producing new art glass home decor, jewelry and garden art for upcoming fall shows. The first is our first – the inaugural White Salmon Fall Art Tour takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 24, 25, 26 from 11am until 5pm. Downtown White Salmon. One week from today! We have an event page on Facebook with our map and more information.
A White Salmon Art Council sponsored event.
Join 14 White Salmon artists as they open their studios and a Pop-Up Gallery all within walking distance of downtown White Salmon for a Fall Art Tour. The self-guided tour takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct 24, 25 & 26 from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm all three days.
A preview and month-long viewing of the artists work is at the White Salmon Pop-Up Window.
Participating artists are:
In the Hatchery Studio Arts Building at 363 E. Jewett:
Sally Gilchrist, a painter/printmaker inspired by simple natural forms. www.sallygilchrist.com
Sarah Morton Erasmus of M.E.Jewelry Co. & Atelier, will be demonstrating the fabrication of her handwrought sterling and gold jewelry at studio #6. www.mejewelryco.com
Cyndi Strid, mixed media artist, is excited to share large-scale drawings and her admiration for our native Northwest bees in studio #4.
In the Elba Building, 290 E Jewett Blvd at the corner of Estes and Jewett:
Peggy Ohlson grew up surrounded by the beautiful landscapes she loves to paint. www.peggyohlson.com
Linda Steider offers nature photography prints and greeting cards in addition to her kiln-formed art glass jewelry and home decor. http://steiderstudios.wordpress.com/
Jo Dean Sarins will be using turquoise in a new collection of jewelry featured at the White Salmon Fall Art Tour. arrayofelegance.com
Barbara Murphy creates colorful, impressionistic gorge landscapes in acrylic on canvas. barbaramurphy.net
Chris Fischer, traditionally trained jeweler, wholesaler, retailer and artist, has created works in sterling silver and gold filled for the upcoming Fall Tour from Celtic- inspired themes, accented with gemstones. www.chrisfischerdesigns.com
Miki Caldwell is a functional potter who enjoys making tableware and outdoor decorative ceramics in her studio in Husum, WA.
Ellen Nippollt creates shelter, furniture, clothing, and increasingly, jewelry, designed to a new materialism that’s torn from place, re-paired, re-strung.
Showing in their own studios:
Klickitat Pottery at 264 E. Jewett, Ed and Diane Swick making handmade artistic and functional stoneware pottery for over 30 years. www.klickitatpottery.com
Ann Fleming at 200 SW Edgecliff Drive, will be showing limited edition bronze and one-of-a-kind clay narrative sculptures, jewelry and handmade brightly painted pottery. http://www.annfleming.com
Katey Ellen Price at 217 NE Wisconsin Street will show oil paintings that are the result of her love for the outdoors and her continual exploration of both the intriguing effects in nature and a variety of techniques to produce pleasing works on canvas. kateyellenprice.blogspot.com
In other news……
Opening the First Friday in November, I’m producing work in my other kiln for…..
… a gallery show titled ‘Snow’ at Columbia Center for the Arts. It opens the First Friday in November with a reception from 6 until 8pm and runs through the end of the month. I’ve created a series of ‘Snow’ Bowls in my ‘Celestial Series’ tradition and will offer my iridescent art glass snowflakes.
Between those two events I’m delivering work to the NEW Holiday Pop-Up Shop in Hood River at 301 Oak, formerly Gallery 301! “Locally handmade gifts for everyone on your shopping list.” It is open Fridays and weekends November – December and open every day the week before Christmas from 10am until 6pm.
There’s more in November, but for now I am dashing madly toward my studio! Hope you’re all having a wonderful fall. You can see many photographs I’ve taken between my last post and this one on my Facebook Page, Steider Studios.
September 27, 2014
September 20th I participated in the Klickitat County Bird Count at Conboy National Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite places. We arrived just as the sun rose on a cool morning with mist hanging in the air below the hills. An explosion of birds took off as I pulled my car into a sheltered spot – sorry, I didn’t mean to wake or alarm you! We counted over 300 birds, traversing just over 50 miles in 9 hours time. A long but very fun day with 1954 images on my memory cards!
Flying high in the sky, we could clearly see that two of those black silhouettes were Turkey Vultures.
We counted three Wood Ducks – not these three, but aren’t they cute?!!
We watched several groups of Mallards take off – in one blurry photo that I blew up I counted 84!
I do not know ducks so asked for help with these Green-winged Teal. Hope that’s what they are so I don’t mess up the official bird count with wrong identifications!
We counted one Ring-necked Duck, but think we saw 3 more. I had help identifying her also, thanks so much to the Backyard Bird Counters!
We watched 10 or 11 Northern Harriers hunt from the sky and in the marshes.
I spotted an American Kestrel on a utility wire with another on a stump nearby – love these little guys!
We saw 8 wild turkeys, but not until we were leaving, late in the afternoon.
One American Coot identified, but there were probably more in the canals.
We heard 1 or 2 Sandhill Cranes but did not see them. I’m hoping to see hundreds at Ridgefield’s Birdfest next weekend!
Forgive this blurry shot, but I’d not seen a California Gull before! At least not here in the Pacific Northwest.
As we waited quietly in the canal area hoping more waterfowl would appear we heard a loud rustling in the tall grass. Much to our shock and awe, a herd of Elk appeared instead! We startled them as much as they startled us.
Our attention turned back to birds – six Northern Flickers tried to hide from us, but we spotted them.
We couldn’t find, but heard 1 Pileated Woodpecker through the woods. This shot is a snag outside my back door.
There were so many Ravens that again I had to blow up a blurry picture to count all 30 but I think there were more. American crows in the fields were just as plentiful, more than 40.
Three Mountain Chickadees were scampering from cone to cone.
We counted four Western Bluebirds, but there were more that we couldn’t properly identify.
Only two American Robins presented themselves to us.
We counted nine sweet little Yellow-rumped Warblers.
The sparrows gave me a headache trying to identify them! I think this one is a Rufous-winged…
I had help with this Savannah…
and more help with this Lincoln’s Sparrow.
At the end of the day a swarm of dragonflies captured our attention and away we went on a new adventure…You can see more dragonflies in my Facebook album.
Between our notes, photos, Peterson’s & Audubon’s field guides and help from birding groups on Facebook I finished our report and turned it in. Hoping to have helped in some small way even though we weren’t at all sure what we were doing!
Over 300 birds within about 50 miles in 9 hours time…whew!!
September 8, 2014
As I stepped out the door I heard an owl call from the fir tree directly in front of me. A second hoot responded from the neighboring fir tree. Then a third owl joined in their conversation from the next tree over! If I had not been in a race to meet the sun rising on the Columbia River, I would’ve grabbed a flashlight to seek them out. My date with the sun would not wait so I left the owls conversing and sped down the hill to meet my sunrise at Mayer State Park.
My BirthDay is in September and I generally spend the entire month celebrating. One of my birthday gifts was a NEW CAMERA! So, after three hundred sunrise photos I headed to Lyle Point, a favorite birding spot to see how my new camera would capture birds. I watched this pretty Starling sitting on a snag observing his world for a while.
There were tons of black birds at Lyle Point – I am including the speckled Starling because from a distance they look black. I watched a group of them flying through a pine tree, having a little pine cone breakfast. Trying to learn my new Nikon D-7100 while keeping up with the action was daunting at times. I was thrilled to have this bird pose for a minute.
To our delight, we found a flock of Ringed Turtle Doves flying from tree to tree shortly after our arrival at Lyle Point. It was such a beautiful morning, windless, warm and the river was crystal clear and calm. By now, it is daylight and I can see all the buttons on my camera. Trying to learn and remember each button and it’s function!
A Red-winged Blackbird landed on the top of a tiny tree and posed for just a minute. I think he was saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to ME!!
To my surprise, one of my favorite birds appeared for just a moment, a Lewis’ Woodpecker! I managed to get 3 shots of him before he skipped town. I followed in his path, but to no avail – he was gone or very well hidden.
I love how iridescent the wings of a Brewer’s Blackbird are. This is another black bird that I was unfamiliar with. We saw a lot of these, but they kept their distance and didn’t pose long. Yes, I needed them to pose because my 150-600 Tamron lens is heavy; and I am trying to learn my new camera!
I think this is a Brewer’s Blackbird coming in for a landing, but I think I’m starting to get all the black birds confused.
“This is a female Brewer’s Blackbird” she said as she put down her birding field guide to re-check her camera manual and re-read how to change the white balance and f-stop. Again.
Although there were a few more black birds at Lyle Point yesterday, this is the last of the black birds I’ll show you. For now. A pair of crows. I believe. Thankfully they were not in flight. Just posing on a snag for me. Where was that re-play button on my new camera?
While we were in Lyle, we snapped some shots of the Cycle Oregon folks taking a break. And I re-read page 6 “The Mode Dial”.
By late morning we found a cove on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. It was a stunning spot – calm, peaceful, restful. We took our time exploring.
We found a few woodpeckers but they were in dense forest. Instead I focused on this sweet Song Sparrow taking a bath in the Columbia River.
A blue Dragonfly resting on a rock – I had my lens locked and by the time I unlocked it the dragonfly was gone so I only snapped this one shot of him. A late summer picnic lunch, then we were off to our final destination for the day.
As we arrived at the Bingen Marina, a Cormorant flew by and I managed to grab this shot. He was flying low and slow just for me. And my new camera. He landed on a piling and we meandered over to watch him and his friends bask in the sun. I know it’s a matter of ‘practice, practice, practice’ and my new camera will become as comfortable as my (barely) old camera, but I want to learn everything now. Right now. Today!
There were a ton of Mallards at Bingen Marina, but this Coot was a nice contrast and an interesting duck for me to practice with my new camera. I’ll be out and about almost every day this month, so if you see me, stop & say hi. I love my BirthDay month! And my new camera!! I have new photos from Ridgefield and Conboy Wildlife Refuges to show you too! As soon as I process and ‘tag’ them in my still ‘new’ish’ LightRoom Program. Yet another learning curve I’ve been playing with!
Thanks to all who voted for my image in last week’s Daily Depiction of Nature photo contest, I WON!! Thanks for following my adventures! And letting me know that you are noticing and enjoying nature and wildlife because of something I posted!! I love nature and wildlife! xoxoxo
September 1, 2014
September is my favorite month, it’s still summer, still warm and my garden is full of color. Birds and wildlife abound and I take a daily hike. I entered the photo above in Daily Depiction of Nature’s photo contest. I would love it if you’ll take a moment and vote for my Hummingbird in Honeysuckle image. You can use this link, for an easy and fast vote.
Wildfires have finally died down and our skies are clear.
I find my way to Conboy National Wildlife Refuge often, hoping to see more wildlife like this sweet buck ….
…and this Townsend’s Warbler on my daily hikes at home.
So, Happy September, I have to get going, Treasure is pulling her leash out! Enjoy the last days of summer and if you’ll take a moment to vote for my hummingbird image at the top of this post, I’d really appreciate it. Voting closes Sunday, Sep 7th, here’s the link again, for an easy and fast vote!