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Steider Studios.BirdWalk.8.14.16-11

We chose the Spit at Hood River’s Marina for today’s monthly Columbia River Gorge Bird Walk.  After a fabulous breakfast with riverfront seating at Riverside, we headed over to the beach.

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We couldn’t help stopping for a Great Blue Heron basking in the sun as he stood in the river.  I barely caught him before he flew away.

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Our intent was ‘Peeps’ or Shorebirds and we found a Least Sandpiper scurrying over the rocks.  We also saw a Spotted Sandpiper and a pair of Killdeer.

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We watched a juvenile Least Sandpiper.

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As the others moved onward, I stayed back to grab one last shot of the juvenile because he was just too cute.

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It was a ‘Gorge~ous’ summer day with Purple Loosestrife complementing yellow Coreopsis blooming amidst rocks and sand.

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Alas we saw no more ‘Peeps’ but heard many little birds tucked away in the shrubs.  Two are shown here, can you find and identify them?

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A group of Cormorants flew west along the Columbia River…

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I think the smaller the bird, the faster they are…see him?  NO.  He flew away before I could even focus!!

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A Scrub Jay posed for a minute and let me photograph him…..

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…and Osprey were plentiful.  Large, slow enough for me to catch and a beautiful blue sky background!

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It was maddening to have these beautiful Yellow Warblers land for less than a second then take off before I could document them.

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Until this little guy towards the end of our stay.  They blend with habitat so well that unless I see them move, they’re difficult to find.

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We looked up just as a Western Kingbird flew over the Columbia River.  We speculated migration could be taking place a bit early this year.

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We watched a pair of Western Wood Pewees flit from perch to perch, across the beach and throughout the thickets all morning.  I am grateful one finally landed on a branch were I could get a good view!

Most people go to the Hood River marina for water sports but it’s also a great place for birding.  While there we also saw a Green-winged Teal fly overhead. Moving too fast for me to photograph or inside dense thickets were a Willow Flycatcher, Bewick’s Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Savannah Sparrow (shown in the picture above where I asked you to guess!) and a Brewer’s Blackbird.  Black-crested Night Herons typically overwinter here and I look forward to their return each year ~ it should be soon.

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Have I mentioned I love the American Pika?  Today I hiked around the Horsetail Falls area in the Columbia River Gorge, hoping to see these cute little critters.

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I overslept a bit so didn’t expect to see any since I arrived later than planned.  But LOOK, he popped his little head up as if to say “Here I am!”.

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I ended up seeing two and hearing at least 2 others in the distance.

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A couple of families stopped to ask what I was capturing with my camera and I think I convinced one kid playing Pokemon Go to seek out Pika instead of Poke!!

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As long as I was above Horsetail Falls I decided to hike in to Ponytail Falls.

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-7It was by now lunch time and a bit crowded, so I creatively eliminated people from my viewfinder.

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-8From inside the cave….

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-11Heading back down the trail…

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-9Another beautiful day in the Columbia River Gorge…

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I watched for more Pika all the way back down, but I think they were in Siesta Mode.

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I DID see a Robin!

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Back at the bottom of the trail and surprised at how few people were gathered around Horsetail Falls, I grabbed a shot of it while there.  I look forward to comparing it to the shot I took in January when the falls were raging and ice formed along the rocks.

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At the very bottom of the falls, the water level was low enough I could climb down the rocks and take a shot at creek level.

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Here’s my little Pika friend again for your enjoyment.  Did I already say I love these little critters?!

Aurora Borealis

August 3, 2016

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Did you see it?  Aurora Borealis tonight!!

Worth It

July 28, 2016

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I decided to take myself to the top of Angel’s Rest on this hot summer day.  I’ve been on the trail, searching for Pika with Cascades Pika Watch, but for various reasons never got to the top.  Above is the view looking west toward Portland.

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I headed up the trail at 7:30am and arrived at the top just after 9.  I stopped here and there to catch my breath.  Watching for Pika along the way gave me ample reason for frequent stops.

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It’s only 2.3 miles up but with an elevation of 1600 feet, it felt steeper (to me) than it probably is.  Heading back down I stopped for a snack in a likely place to see Pika.

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They didn’t disappoint!  Unfortunately, I only had time for a couple of shots of this American Pika before a noisy trail-runner scared him off ~ I was hoping on a weekday I’d have a quieter hike, but alas it is summer and the trails were busy by mid morning.

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Heading down I decided to stop at the stream that feeds Coopey Falls and found some stacked rocks that someone kindly left me.

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A tiny bit further I followed a lesser trail to view the stream cascading over some rocks at the top of Coopey Falls.

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Just beyond that is the last part of the stream near the top of the falls.  Any further downstream, I’d be tumbling in the waterfall (which is only accessible via private property).  Steider Studios.AngelsRest Hike.7.28.16-7

Back down at the trailhead at 11:30, I grabbed a shot of the sign, a memento of another fine day in the Columbia River Gorge.  Such a beautiful place to live and play!  It was definitely worth it!

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One of the reasons I love Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the peaceful quiet setting.  I went up on Wednesday to meet the new manager and ended up staying all….day….long….  It was simply put ~ a spectacular day.

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After leaving the office, I looked around Lake Road to see what I could find.  I thought this was a juvenile Pied-billed Grebe, but have since learned it’s a juvenile Coot!

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A Great Blue Heron fishing caught my attention…I watched him until he flew off to ‘greener streams’.

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Plenty of little birds filled the air with song.  Cedar Waxwing above; little sparrow below.

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I haven’t looked him up yet to see what he is.  If you know, do tell!!

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To my delight, I found a Yellow-headed Blackbird!  And I heard Soras!!  I crept around the reeds as quiet as could be and distinctly heard at least two & maybe three but they did not show themselves.  I’ll be back soon to stalk them!

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My next stop was the Kiosk area on the Glenwood Hwy.  Early in the morning I heard plenty of Sandhill Cranes calling, but by mid morning I only found one pair.  I became one with the field of grass hoping they wouldn’t see me.  OH!  See the vertical white splotches in the background?  Too far away for me to get a decent shot, but there were at least 15 Great Blue Herons lined up across the field!

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I usually see woodpeckers around the Kiosk, but did not.  Instead I found a Western Bluebird, …

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…and a House Wren.  Last year there was an Oriole nest here, but alas I didn’t see any this time.  There were also sparrows and Juncos flitting too fast for my heavy lens to follow.

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The Canal area is another favorite area for me and I went there to check on the Wood Duck Family but didn’t find them.  I found this little family though ~ Pintails?

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A Western Meadowlark stood sentry at the Glenwood Hwy and Canal intersection.

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See her?  I almost missed her!  And then her mate flew in….

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…With TREATS!  Western Tanager, yet another favorite.  Isn’t he gorgeous?!  Grasshoppers swarmed the canal area and filled the air with each step I took.  Several flew into my open car windows, so I decided to move on.

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No trip to the refuge is complete without a little drive down Kreps Lane.

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Red-winged Blackbirds greeted me on fence posts.

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Eastern Kingbirds posed for me.

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While Swallows evaded me.

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My last stop was off of Lakeside Drive and Outlet Creek.  Greeted by a couple of Turkey Vultures, I found a shady spot and enjoyed my picnic lunch while watching them.  Watching them watch me, that is!

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I watched the birds at water’s edge … what’s better than a female Red-winged Blackbird?

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A female Red-winged Blackbird with SNACKS of course!

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My focus went to Dragonflies as they were everywhere!

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I saw several varieties including these acrobats hanging out on reeds.  My shots of  red dragonflies turned out too blurry to share!

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Other insects buzzed about including this one as well as a variety of butterflies.

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A Killdeer foraged for food at the waters edge.

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Then I noticed a pair of Sandpipers across from me.

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And a Spotted Sandpiper ran across the grassy-covered mud right in front of me!

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When the Canada Geese took off I decided it was time for me to do the same.  Can’t wait to go back!!

Final Postcard Front

I have so many adventures to tell you about but time keeps slipping away!  I must stay home this week to prepare for Art in the Gorge.  18 artists showing our work downtown Hood River at 301 Oak (Third and Oak) in a Pop-Up art show on July 1, 2, and 3!  Open hours 11 am until 7 pm Friday & Saturday; 11 am until 5 pm Sunday.  First Friday in Hood River will be Fabulous!!  Arrive early for easy parking.

A few of the newest prints I’ll have in my booth will give you a glimpse of where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to the past few weeks:

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Sea Turtle on the North Shore of Oahu

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White-headed Woodpecker nestling with Mama

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Moonrise on Kauai

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Strawberry Moon, Summer Solstice Full Moon 2016

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…and this year’s crop of Eaglets!

I’ll have all-occasion greeting cards and prints on paper, metal and canvas.  My art glass earrings, bracelets and a few other small items will also be available.

If you’re interested in my larger work I plan to re-stock my on-line boutique soon.  Most images that I share here can be printed in any size.  You can always contact me for an appointment if you’re in the area.

Come see me and my fellow artists  July 1, 2, and 3 downtown Hood River at 301 Oak.  

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June’s bird outing with the ‘Bird Nerds’ began north of Trout Lake.  We found one of my favorites, a Lazuli Bunting along with a surprising number of other species.

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Cedar Waxwings were plentiful and not necessarily a surprise.  We also saw or heard Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Western Wood Pewee, Violet-green Swallow, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, a Western Tanager and many more.

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A CATBIRD was definitely a surprise for me.  I didn’t know they were in our area!  Last year one of our members, John heard one in Hood River’s Powerhouse Corridor but this is my first sighting!

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Half our group headed for Glenwood and were delighted to find this White-headed Woodpecker feeding her young.

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You know I took a gazillion photos ~ there are at least two in the nest, a boy & a girl.

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As long as we were in Glenwood we took a little hike at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge where we found Eastern Kingbirds including one sitting on a nest!!

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We watched this Red-breasted Sapsucker delivering lunch to a nest cavity that we watched last year.

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Birds ate from feeders in front of the headquarters office while this Black-chinned Hummingbird buzzed about.

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Our group parted ways leaving me to drive a couple of my favorite Glenwood routes.  The song of Red-winged Blackbirds was everywhere.

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There was no traffic on a Sunday afternoon, so I drove the refuge perimeter leisurely.

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I found a large Wood Duck family.

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Mama kept the ducklings swimming away from me.

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I pretended not to care.

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I found many more Eastern Kingbirds.

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I also found Western Kingbirds.  I think this is a young one.

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I saw a lot of fledglings including this Western Bluebird.

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Here’s it’s parent, encouraging it.

It was a fabulous day leaving me with way too many photos to go through.  These are just a few of my favorites!

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