Woman Working in the Woods

September 19, 2015

Steider Studios.Wood Project.9.19.15-2

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.

Steider Studios.Wood Project.9.19.15-3

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.

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When 1:00 rolls around, I turn off the saw and fill my wagon.

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…and split some larger rounds.  Yep, I learned how to split wood this summer!

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I may not get all these branches finished this year, but will do my best.

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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!

Steider Studios.Wood Project.9.19.15The 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.


Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-6

Fall migration is a good time to go out and scout for birds in the Columbia River Gorge.  Our local group of ‘Bird Nerds’ had a wonderful time walking one section of The Dalles waterfront on Sunday.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-4

After a wonderful breakfast at La Petite Provence in The Dalles our first encounter was a Great Blue Heron that saw us before we saw him.  He flew out of the cove and onto a diving platform in the Columbia River.

Brewer's Blackbird at The Dalles waterfront. Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-3

While standing in that cove we also saw a Brewer’s Blackbird and his mate…

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…and at least one Killdeer as well as several ducks … possibly Mallards … possibly females …. definitely brown.

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It was thrilling to watch a trio of terns fishing from the next cove.

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They also made use of the diving platform that the heron had abandoned.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-8

We saw many smaller birds flying overhead ~ I managed to capture this one, a Scrub Jay.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-9

As we walked into the next section I caught a Raven taking a break in the sun.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-10

We spotted a Western Grebe swimming in the distance.

Steider Studios.Osprey in Flight.9.13.15

A couple of Ospreys hunted from overhead.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-14We saw many sweet little American Goldfinches in trees and in flight.  Lucky for me one landed on a close branch.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-12I caught a Cormorant in flight as we continued our easterly walk along the shoreline.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-13

A rack of American Coots drifted in the Columbia River….

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-15

….and more ducks flying overhead that we couldn’t identify…

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-16

…and some in flight that brought discussion ~ is it a crow or a raven and the characteristics to look for.

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The surrounding bushes were filled with delightful song, but alas we couldn’t see the choir.

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We saw plenty of gulls, most were white but some were brown.  Without an expert along we just enjoyed the sightings and hoped we’d figure out who was who later.

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My highlight of the day was a Great Egret who gracefully flew directly in front of us.

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This bird is simply stunning.  It felt so magical to watch that I almost forgot to lift my camera!

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Heading back to the parking lot a flock of Cedar Waxwings landed in a tree ahead of us.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15

A friend said to watch for a Red-necked Grebe, but I didn’t see one.  I believe this is a Pied-billed Grebe.  Check out the tiny fish jumping out of the water all around him!!!

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.TD Waterfront.9.13.15-23

Returning to our starting point the ducks were gone but a lone Domestic Goose brunched his way across the pond.  Those of us who met on Sunday consider ourselves novices, but we did ok locating and identifying most of what we saw.  Most being the operative word, we also saw plenty of LBBs (little brown birds), Peeps, Gulls and Waterfowl.

Steider Studios.Big-horn Sheep Fight.9.13.15

Afterwards I took a Sunday Drive and found Bighorn Sheep east of the John Day River.

Steider Studios.Fire from Cellilo.9.13.15

Returning home the region filled with smoke from yet another wildfire.  This shot is from the Westbound Cellilo exit on 84.  It was the first point I could see brown mixed with the white smoke, giving me an idea of where the fire was, east of Horsethief Lake.

Steider Studios.Fire East of Horsethief.9.13.15

This shot of the Horsethief Fire in the Columbia River Gorge was taken from directly across the Columbia River and digitally enhanced to see through the smoke.  Sounds like it is close to controlled as of this post according to the Goldendale Sentinel.

If any of my birding friends have corrections for me, they are always welcome!!




Steider Studios.Night Sky.9.8.15

Monday night looked like a good chance of an Aurora storm, but it didn’t happen in my part of the world.  It was good practice for me anyway, using my new lens!

Steider Studios.Milky Way.9.8.15

Trees at my back made it a challenge to capture the Milky Way, but again, good practice and I loved getting out during my ‘Birthday Weekend’.

Steider Studios.Herman Creek.9.6.15

On Sunday I went for a hike with some old & new friends up Herman Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.

Steider Studios.Herman Creek.9.6.15-6

A seldom traveled area, we crawled through dense brush and branches to get to this part of the creek.

Steider Studios.Herman Creek.9.6.15-3Then scrambled over or around big rocks to traverse further up the creek.

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It was an overcast, drizzly, wet, dark and slippery kind of day.  A couple of friends took a dip in the creek when they slipped on rocks.

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Glad I went in spite of weather, it’s always fun to hike with friends!!

_DSC3789Did I say we had to scramble over rocks?  I should have said boulders!  My friend Nancy took this shot, it shows a good sense of scale.  Yes.  They were boulders!!

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Turtle Trio.9.3.15

I went to Portland yesterday to buy myself a new lens for my BIRTHDAY.  Yes, I buy myself birthday gifts…often and not necessarily on the actual day.  Usually I gift myself a little something every day in September.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Great Blue Heron.9.3.15

While in the city, I took a side trip up to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Frog with Turtle.9.3.15

It was a quiet day with very few sightings and even fewer people.  It was, however a day filled with turtles!  And in this image a frog ~ can you see it?

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Grebe.9.3.15

I found a couple of ducks and a grebe enjoying a swim.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield NWR.9.3.15

OH!  My new lens.  I bought a wide angle to get better pictures of the Aurora Borealis. You can read about my first adventure with Northern lights here.  It’ll be handy for landscapes too, but mostly I was thinking about colorful night skies.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Pileated on Snag.9.3.15

I almost missed this Pileated Woodpecker as I slowly drove through the refuge.  I heard him drilling in a section of densely shaded trees.  Lucky me, he made his way to the top of a snag near my car!

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Pileated top of Snag.9.3.15

Is he a juvenile?  His feathers are sort of spiky around his neck making me wonder if he had been in the creek.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Wood Duck.9.3.15

I only saw one pair of Wood Ducks.

Steider Studios.Turtle.Pair.Ridgefield.9.3.15

Back to turtles….this poor guy spent about 15 minutes climbing up to share a log.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Turtle Fight.9.3.15

Unfortunately his friend wanted nothing to do with him & shoved him off!!

Steider Studios.lunch spot.9.3.15

I had a lovely lunch in the shade at this bend in the creek.  As I ate my sunflower seed honey butter sandwich, I desperately wanted the Kingfisher flying back and forth to land on the snag in front of me.  If he had, this is where his photo would go.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Northern Harrier.9.3.15

I slowly finished the route, watching more herons, egrets, and Northern Harriers.

Steider Studios.Ridgefield Quiet Day.9.3.15

Another gorgeous day of sun, rain, clouds and end of summer fun at Ridgefield NWR.

Steider Studios.Osprey.BirdWalk.8.9.15-2

…for birds!  A sunny summer Sunday in the Gorge ~ perfect for the monthly excursion of Bird Nerds as we’ve dubbed ourselves.  Forgive the quality of some photos, I forgot to double-check my camera settings again….

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An abundance of Gulls at the Spit today, including Bonaparte’s sunned, swam and preened as we scoped.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk. Northern Shovelers.8.9.15-4

John was the first to notice a group of female Northern Shovelers swimming just off shore.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Heron.8.9.15-6

A Great Blue Heron always attracts my attention.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Caspian Tern.8.9.15-5

A couple of Caspian Terns joined the group of Gulls.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Caspian Tern.8.9.15-7

Then they flew off to join another group.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Sandpipers.8.9.15-8

Speaking of flight, a group of little shorebirds teased us all morning, flying back and forth across the Spit but never landing where we could view them.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Western Kingbird.8.9.15-9

Dense vegetation grows on the west side of the Spit, perfect for this Western Kingbird…

Steider Studios.BirdWalk Bewick's Wren.8.9.15-10

…and Bewick’s Wren.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.White-crowned Sparrow.8.9.15-11

Several sparrows searched for breakfast among the brush and shrubs growing all over the rock and sandy beach.  I still have a hard time deciphering Sparrows, but was informed this is a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.8.9.15-12And of course, the Great Unknown….I was too slow to catch him, but maybe a warbler?

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Downey Woodpecker.8.9.15-13Of all birds I didn’t expect to see a Downey Woodpecker here!

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.White-crowned Sparrow.8.9.15

Another White-crowned Sparrow, perhaps a sibling of the one above.

Steider Studios.BirdWalk.Osprey Hunting.8.9.15-14

As we left, an Osprey flew directly overhead, making me wish I could stay a little longer….There were many more birds, I’ll edit this post when I receive the official list.

If you’d like to join us for an outing (usually in the Columbia River Gorge), we meet once a month with an extra outing here & there.  Send me an email for information, linda at steiderstudios dot com.

Steider Studios.Garden Bird.Blue Grouse.8.9.15

Welcoming me home ~ a Blue Grouse resting near my blueberry bushes.  Love where I live!

I Saw a Black Bear!

July 29, 2015

Steider Studios.Flicker

I’ve had several fun adventures lately, but today I have to share how fun my own ‘back yard’ is.  I knew I was going to have a great hike when a Northern Flicker landed right in front of me as I headed out!

Steider Studios.Pileated Woodpecker

Meandering along the path I noted it was fairly quiet ~ yesterday the forest was filled with the sound of woodpeckers…..

Steider Studios.American Tree Sparrow

….and little Tree Sparrows chatting to each other,

Steider Studios.Tree Sparrow feeding.7.29.15

parents still bringing food to babes.

Steider Studios.Clarks Nutcracker

I was also thrilled when a Clark’s Nutcracker flew into a pine tree on the bluff ~ I watched him as long as he let me.

Steider Studios.Lazuli Bunting.7.29.15

Today when I arrived at my destination I watched a flock of Lazuli Buntings!

Steider Studios.Lazuli Bunting female.7.29.15

It was amazing to see them here.  Staying in the shadows, I crept closer hoping to get a better shot.

Steider Studios.I Saw A Bear

My dog, usually passive by my side while I photograph suddenly alerted.  She didn’t bark but was insistent, so I tried to see what she was so intent on.  Suddenly a black bear slowly ran behind the trees about 25 feet away.  I froze, my heart pounding with a bit of fear, but I was thrilled and awe-struck.  The sun made his fur glisten and I thought about lifting my camera, but I didn’t want to miss a second of watching him.  If I had, the above is what it would probably look like!

Steider Studios.Bee on Dandelion.7.28.15

I have NEVER been more alert on my way home from a hike.  Yesterday I leisurely hiked home stopping for this bee, but not today…..

Steider Studios.Goldfinch Babes in Bath

Back home an abundance of sweet little fledglings take advantage of my bird bath.  American Goldfinch siblings above.

Steider Studios.Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak just out of the bath.

Sweet, serene, and fun to watch.  Did I say I saw A BEAR today?  I DID!!  I am giddy with excitement that I saw him!!

Steider Studios.Stars.No Aurora.

I knew there wasn’t much of a chance, but I had to try anyway.  Practicing for the next Aurora is what I’m calling last night’s little adventure!  Since my first exposure to Aurora photography, I’ve been waiting for another opportunity!

Steider Studios.Stars.No Aurora.7.14.15

I only saw city lights behind Mt Adams (or was it the last of sunset at midnight?) and gorgeous stars in the night sky.  I’m glad I went because I did get a better understanding of how to photograph in the dark at night.  Still not great at it, but practice makes perfect!!

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Bonus, I get to sleep in when I’m out photographing at night!!


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