November 25, 2015
I signed on for a route in Audubon’s Winter Raptor Survey. My route is basically along Hwy 14 between Bingen and Dallesport along the Columbia River. The first run yielded my first ever sighting of a Prairie Falcon!!
I expected to find Red-tailed Hawks, and did find six of them.
Non resident Eagles are returning to the Gorge ~ I found these four in one snag and six more along the river.
I also counted three American Kestrels, but not close enough for a good shot. This shot is from Sauvie Island in January.
The following day broke with a beautiful clear blue sky so I followed my route hoping to recreate my photos with better light and composition. Alas I saw no eagles, but the Klickitat River was gorgeous.
I love these little birds and couldn’t believe how close they allowed me to get.
The day before my route I’d gone looking for eagles with my friend Carolyn. Although we didn’t see eagles that day, we found tons of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, one of my favorites!!
We watched a heron fishing on ‘golden pond’ from afar.
A Cormorant flew by pretty close!
And we saw a lot of Ruby-crowned Kinglets! See his Ruby Crown?!!
He’s a bit blurred, too fast for me to keep up with his movement, but I wanted to show you his front too!
In spite of only finding Bald eagles on my official ‘Raptor Count Day’, we saw many beautiful birds including a Kingfisher, Wood Ducks, Robins, and Meadowlarks. It’s always a good day driving through the Gorge.
November 10, 2015
Another wonderful day with the Columbia Gorge birding group ~ this month we went to the mouth of the Deschutes River. We decided to walk along the west bank starting at the Heritage Boat landing, but failed to get that message to some of our people, so had to wave at each other across the river. It turned out good though, because collectively we were able to see both the west and east sides of the river. Yes, I like a positive spin!!
One of the first sightings was an American Kestrel on a utility pole wire stretching its wings.
We saw plenty of waterfowl swimming and fishing, including this Bufflehead pair. Light rain and clouds made lighting along the river not as optimum as I’d like.
Much discussion whether this was a Barrow’s or Common Goldeneye. I believe it was settled as a Barrow’s.
We saw Common Mergansers in several spots – lucky us the sun came out for a bit.
I always love finding a Great Blue Heron. Instead of a close up, I want to share his gorgeous environment.
A Spotted Sandpiper was discovered, apparently staying a little longer than usual in our area.
The Downey Woodpecker in this mullein flew off JUST as I focused! He really was there. Really. I saw him.
We saw several Northern Flickers frolicking in the shrubs…or perhaps working for food.
Here’s an American Kestrel in flight. He was really too far away for a good shot but I have to try!
A Bewick’s Wren came in and out of view in thick brush as we traveled a path heading upriver.
Several little birds were seen in the same thicket area including Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets; Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows and this Yellow Bird that I think is a Goldfinch but it could be a Warbler.
We saw several American Robins in trees, and large groups of them flying overhead.
A Song Sparrow munching his way through sage and thistle seed heads.
We all thought this large tree trunk lying near the path was fascinating. Color, texture, size ~ it was impressive.
Several in our group watched 3 Otters playing in the river for a few minutes. I had a shrub blocking most of my view, so vignetted this image a bit to showcase the one otter that I saw a little better. See him? Gray critter against a gray rock in the gray river (towards the bottom right side).
I think I caught another Song Sparrow, but I can always use help naming my sparrows!
Back at Heritage Boat Landing, I spotted a Western Grebe fishing. What is that on his neck?!! He was in a fight, or potential prey or maybe a fish bigger than him gave him a run for his money!
I also saw a Green-winged Teal swimming with Mallards. Why do they never swim toward me?
As we stood in the parking lot, saying goodbye we watched a Black-billed Magpie in the tree across from us.
The Deschutes River always has something of interest, it’s a favorite place of mine. If I have wrong identification on any of these birds, I’d appreciate your correction. Next month, we’ll head to Drano Lake!
November 3, 2015
The Aurora Borealis put on a fabulous show last night about midnight. I was lucky enough to catch it but can’t decide which shot I like best. I like them all for different reasons, but this is Photo #1 in the line-up, once the Aurora began her dance.
She was already making herself known when I arrived and I caught a shooting star as I set up my composition and camera settings.
And then she danced! Just after midnight, behind my town of White Salmon the party started. Photo #2.
It was chilly and dark and difficult to manage at first, but with each check of my camera’s LCD my excitement grew. Photo #3.
While my eye saw a dark clear sky filled with stars, Aurora continued showing herself on the back of my camera. Photo #4.
My eyes could only see what looked like a whitish cloud or fog on the horizon line where you see a greenish glow; and I could see columns of ‘mist’ rising from that. Photo #5.
If it were a stronger Aurora, I might have actually seen the color my camera displayed. Photo #6.
The wind was blowing clouds overhead so I knew my time was limited. Photo #7.
As Aurora danced in the Columbia River Gorge, so did I ~ to keep warm! And I drank coffee to stay awake. Photo #8.
My day started at 6 a.m., so this midnight hour was hard to keep. Photo #9.
The cold, the coffee and my excitement kept me shooting, dancing and laughing with delight! Photo #10.
I need your help! …… Photo #11.
I need you to help me decide which of these images to print! Photo #12.
You can vote for your favorite simply by commenting which numbered photo you like best. Photo #13.
As you can see, they’re all numbered: #1 – 16 ~ plus the Shooting Star shot. Photo #14.
What a magical night it was!! Only lasted for about an hour. Photo #15.
Just after 1 a.m. the clouds rolled in and covered the Aurora. Otherwise, I’d still be there. Photo #16.
Please let me know your favorite ~ in a comment here, via private message on Facebook, or via email ~ linda at steider studios dot com (all one word).
October 21, 2015
This image of a dragonfly I caught at Bingen Marina just arrived along with the following images, in time for the Art White Salmon Fall Tour. A self-guided walking tour of artist studios and a Pop-up gallery downtown White Salmon this weekend, October 23, 24, 25.
Our tour hours are 11am until 5pm each day and I’ll be in the Pop-up Gallery on the corner of Jewett and Estes. I caught this otter on ice last winter at Lost Lake and have a couple views of him.
I’ll have many of my Columbia River Gorge sunset images on cards and in print….
…and a few Columbia Gorge sunrise images. You know it’s easier to catch the sun going down than the sun coming up, right?
I’ll have all occasion greeting cards and small 5 x 7 prints that include my wildlife shots ….
… and many of my favorite bird images on cards and printed on metal.
And of course I’ll have some glass.
Come see me and the other White Salmon artists!! October 23, 24, 25 from 11am until 5pm all three days. I’m #4 on the map, corner of Estes and Jewett in the Pop-up Gallery!! See you there!!
October 19, 2015
Thrilled to be included in a bird banding session with friends Cathy and Stuart, we arrived at St. Cloud Recreation Area at dawn.
We trudged out to the Columbia River, then followed the Arthur Slough back in a little way as the sun came up on an early October morning.
It was difficult for me to keep up with them because the scenery was so gorgeous, I must have stopped for a photo-op every ten steps.
Fall had arrived on this part of the planet and I was soaking it all in.
When we arrived at the banding station, Cathy and Stuart set up nets to capture birds, then as we waited for birds they unpacked their tools.
The sized-to-fit metal bands fit various sized birds and have numbers stamped on them. The information is recorded as each bird gets banded.
While waiting for birds we go check out the shoreline of the Columbia River to see what’s been around by checking tracks in the mud.
I was so excited to see bear tracks in the mud and secretly hoped one might come out to say hello to us. Yes, trust me I’d keep a safe distance!
Back to banding…. Birds fly into a net then drop unharmed into netted pockets. An Orange-crowned Warbler was one of our first to capture.
A Song Sparrow is carefully and gently freed from the net and brought back to the banding station.
Held ever so gently at the neck a Brown Creeper is quite compliant while being banded, measured, weighed and examined for health and age.
Wings are spread to see patterning on a Brown Creeper. I love these little birds.
Wings get measured on an Orange-crowned Warbler.
Stuart examines the Kinglet’s wings to determine age and wear.
Checking tail feathers.
To help judge age, the head feathers are moistened with water then gently parted to reveal the scalp.
Cathy and Stuart use Sibley’s Guide for confirmation of aging and further identifying.
Sweet little Song Sparrow, finished with his exam and awaiting release.
I didn’t quite click in time as he flew away down by the slough.
Chickadees tend to take a bite now and again during the banding and exam.
He settles down and allows the process.
Black-capped Chickadee receives a wing exam.
The band is gently clinched closed after being placed on the Orange-crowned Warbler’s leg.
A ‘bracelet’ is placed on a Spotted Towhee.
Blowing on the Chickadee’s belly, reveals body fat under his feathers.
Same with the Spotted Towhee. His eye will turn more red as he matures.
Another release….another miss with my trigger finger!
I’m fascinated with the Golden-crowned Kinglet ~ isn’t he gorgeous?!
We checked the nets every 20 to 30 minutes and between checked area flora.
I will try to come back and edit with correct names.
No promises though, it’s been a busy season and I have many more adventures to tell you about.
Back at the parking lot we noticed a tree full of Cedar Waxwings!
We also saw a flock of Bushtits! My first sighting of these sweet little birds!!
My last & luckiest shot of the day was a female Varied Thrush dressed for fall.
October 16, 2015
Once again I’ve fallen behind in my blog. Summer and now Fall racing by at mach speed, I want to take a moment to breathe and fill you in on some of my recent ‘adventures’.
Many friends have come to the Columbia River Gorge this year to see this Gorge-ous place that I love and call home, so I’ve played tour guide often ~ a role I truly enjoy.
I took my friend Kathleen (amazing metalsmith, jewelry artist) & her husband (fellow photographer) Dan to Takhlakh Lake, looking for fall color with a quick stop at Trout Lake.
I finished out my birthday month by photographing long-time friends Cathy & Alex’s vineyard during harvest… mmm Demianni Winery ~ fabulous wine.
I went back to their vineyard to shoot the Super Harvest Moon and Lunar eclipse.
The next day I found birds and OTTERS at Taylor Lake with friends Nancy and Mike. A great finale to my birthday month!
October opened with a hike to Tamanawas Falls with friends Holly, Rick & Dianne where we enjoyed glorious fall color.
Lucky me, invited to watch bird banding near St. Cloud Recreation area.
The Gorge Bird Nerds took walks at Bingen Pond and Marina, Bonneville Fish Hatchery and Eagle Creek in October.
A Waterfall Festival is what I called a day driving a big loop up to Trout Lake, across 90 to Carson and down to Hwy 14. Dawn to dusk we were able to see 5 or 6 waterfalls ~ some were at the end of a hike & others were close to the road.
Two days later I hiked a small portion of the Pacific Crest Trail at Cascade Locks to Dry Creek Falls with friends.
I took a friend in search of Pikas near Beacon Rock ~ another day with multiple stops and beautiful Columbia River Gorge landscapes! I love these reclusive little critters that look like a cross between a bunny, and a squirrel with teddy bear ears.
…and in between I’ve been catching sunsets, birds in my garden and rescued kittens for Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue. In upcoming posts I’ll tell you details of each adventure…..
OH! Not to mention my upcoming art show ~ Art White Salmon’s Fall Tour!! Next weekend!! October 23, 24, 25. I’m limiting my shows this year, so this is one of only two opportunities for me to show off new work.
Come see my new work and that of other talented local artist friends!
September 19, 2015
I left you hanging at the end of my last chapter in my Forest Project. I finished the ‘Slash Pile Burn‘ part of it earlier this year, and have slowly brought firewood up to the house all summer. I tried to haul 10 wagonloads per day up to the house, but pretty much stopped everything when working in the woods became a fire hazard.
Today I revved up my chain saw & commenced slicing all the longer branches. According to my DNR rep I can use it until 1pm. In the heat of the day with risk of fire too great, I have plenty of other tasks. The photo above is my make-shift holder for little branches where I sawed 4 to 5 at a time. Cute little pile, isn’t it? The previous photo shows a cool tool that holds a branch while sawing, but it only holds one at a time. It’s a bit cumbersome to put the saw down while I reload.
When 1:00 rolls around, I turn off the saw and fill my wagon.
…and split some larger rounds. Yep, I learned how to split wood this summer!
I may not get all these branches finished this year, but will do my best.
There are a couple of logs still lying around that I’ll tackle after I’m more adept at sawing. I’ll have to saw them in place since I can’t even roll, much less lift these up to any tool or make-shift holders!
The best news of the day is my neighbor, inspired by my project cleared HIS property. This makes it possible for me to get a truck down to the bottom of my property! Yay, instead of hauling my little wagon uphill, I’m now hauling it a short distance downhill to the truck. Truck gets loaded & I simply drive out ~ YAY!! Of course, then I have to unload the truck and stack it, but that’s a story for another day.