July 17, 2016
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.
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!
A Great Blue Heron fishing caught my attention…I watched him until he flew off to ‘greener streams’.
Plenty of little birds filled the air with song. Cedar Waxwing above; little sparrow below.
I haven’t looked him up yet to see what he is. If you know, do tell!!
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!
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!
I usually see woodpeckers around the Kiosk, but did not. Instead I found a Western Bluebird, …
…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.
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?
A Western Meadowlark stood sentry at the Glenwood Hwy and Canal intersection.
See her? I almost missed her! And then her mate flew in….
…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.
No trip to the refuge is complete without a little drive down Kreps Lane.
Red-winged Blackbirds greeted me on fence posts.
Eastern Kingbirds posed for me.
While Swallows evaded me.
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!
I watched the birds at water’s edge … what’s better than a female Red-winged Blackbird?
A female Red-winged Blackbird with SNACKS of course!
My focus went to Dragonflies as they were everywhere!
I saw several varieties including these acrobats hanging out on reeds. My shots of red dragonflies turned out too blurry to share!
Other insects buzzed about including this one as well as a variety of butterflies.
A Killdeer foraged for food at the waters edge.
Then I noticed a pair of Sandpipers across from me.
And a Spotted Sandpiper ran across the grassy-covered mud right in front of me!
When the Canada Geese took off I decided it was time for me to do the same. Can’t wait to go back!!
June 27, 2016
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:
Sea Turtle on the North Shore of Oahu
White-headed Woodpecker nestling with Mama
Moonrise on Kauai
Strawberry Moon, Summer Solstice Full Moon 2016
…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.
June 16, 2016
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.
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.
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!
Half our group headed for Glenwood and were delighted to find this White-headed Woodpecker feeding her young.
You know I took a gazillion photos ~ there are at least two in the nest, a boy & a girl.
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!!
We watched this Red-breasted Sapsucker delivering lunch to a nest cavity that we watched last year.
Birds ate from feeders in front of the headquarters office while this Black-chinned Hummingbird buzzed about.
Our group parted ways leaving me to drive a couple of my favorite Glenwood routes. The song of Red-winged Blackbirds was everywhere.
There was no traffic on a Sunday afternoon, so I drove the refuge perimeter leisurely.
I found a large Wood Duck family.
Mama kept the ducklings swimming away from me.
I pretended not to care.
I found many more Eastern Kingbirds.
I also found Western Kingbirds. I think this is a young one.
I saw a lot of fledglings including this Western Bluebird.
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!
April 22, 2016
A friend had me walk her property to capture wildlife, pretty flowers or anything interesting I could find. When we first arrived, even though it was a glorious morning it was still and quiet. We walked in dew covered grass until our shoes and pant hems were soaked.
Our first sighting was a Western Gray Squirrel. I saw a flash of it’s tail under the morning sun as it ran across a log. My trigger finger clicked away until he ran out of sight.
Overhead a juvenile Bald Eagle soared majestically as we searched for little birds.
A pair of Turkey Vultures seemed to float high overhead ~ too high for my camera to take decent pictures, and they eventually landed in a snag far in the distance.
Finally we heard familiar bird songs and found a Mountain Chickadee singing from a branch.
We watched a Red-breasted Nuthatch gather nesting material.
A Yellow-rumped Warbler made it’s presence known. A couple of ravens flew noisily overhead and we discovered their nest later.
Then a White-breasted Nuthatch appeared! I love seeing this bird as I rarely see it at home.
We also saw a plethora of wildflowers. I’m told this little pansy is unusual so will share it here. I don’t recall the name, but will edit in when I recall or learn! I’ve been out and about taking lots of wildflower shots lately, and will have to write a post just on those!
This was the first butterfly of the day we saw. I’m guessing it’s a Hairstreak or a Duskywing, but I hope to know after Robert Michael Pyle’s lecture (founder of the Xerces Society) at the White Salmon library on April 29th. By the way, you can see some of my nature photography there for the rest of April. I tried to choose images that correspond to the weekly lectures, so you’ll definitely find a butterfly or two!
We saw something move in a tree…..seeing a lizard instead of a bird was a big surprise! Looks like I need to buy a book on reptile I.D. Tree Lizard? Fence Lizard?
As the morning progressed we saw hawks, more vultures and THIS!! A Golden Eagle juvenile, on my list of birds to find and photograph!! My morning delight, for sure!! Not the best image due to how far away it was, but nevertheless a Golden!!
Closer up, we found this Dragonfly when we sat down for a little break. Could it be a Robust Pink Skimmer? It was fresh and shimmering as though it had just emerged.
Walking back to our car we found this sweet little bird. Hutton’s Vireo? We heard one singing earlier. Originally we thought it a Kinglet, but his beak looks a bit longer than my book shows. Looking further through my book, it might be a Phoebe, a Vireo, a Flycatcher, or a Kinglet! I have so much still to learn!!
Another Butterfly guess, Elfin? We chased an Orangetip but I couldn’t get a clear shot of that one.
Exiting, we spied this Western Bluebird watching us from the tree it clung to. We saw and heard more, but these are some of my highlights from the 1500 photos I took!
April 11, 2016
The Klickitat Wildlife area isn’t that well-known or used and I traversed it for the first time this past week. It’s a vast wide open space about 5 miles northwest from the junction of Glenwood Hwy and Hwy 142.
The manager, Sue gave me a quick tour and as we drove in, our first sighting was a small group of deer jumping over a boundary fence.
I specifically went there to find an Acorn Woodpecker after hearing about a pair seen in the area. This snag is a good sign they’re here!
We saw Warblers flitting from branch to branch, so fun to watch.
Several Robins warily watched us as we walked around a stand of oak trees.
A couple of Western Bluebirds allowed us to view them before flying off.
The view of Mt Adams is spectacular, but we did not see the elusive Acorn Woodpecker, so Sue & I parted ways after my morning tour.
Of course I wasn’t satisfied ~ I knew the woodpeckers were there, so I went back. An American Kestrel greeted me in the snag I stalked.
With delight, I watched more Warblers catch bugs in flight, stopping to rest and even pose for me.
It was a gorgeous warm spring day and as I watched a hawk fly overhead, getting my fill of little birds may have to be enough for now, I thought.
Just as I was ever so close to giving up, look what landed in the snag! I’m told Acorn Woodpeckers are a rare find in the state of Washington. I felt such joy as I watched this little bird move from branch to branch with his ‘catch’.
Unbelievably, moments later his mate landed at the top of the snag! I concentrated on the new arrival and didn’t even notice the original woodpecker leaving until I saw this image later at home.
The second Acorn Woodpecker stayed for about 20 minutes in the same place, then flew off just as suddenly as it had arrived. I am one happy woman!
Three or four Turkey Vultures flew overhead to see me off as I headed back to my car.
A wonderful spot in Klickitat County, I’ll be heading back soon! Thanks again to Sue for spending some time with me!!
April 6, 2016
‘Wild About Nature’ is a lecture series at the White Salmon Library that runs through the month of April. Produced by Joy Markgraf, you can experience a lecture by noted natural science experts each Friday evening at 6:30pm. I am beyond thrilled to have my photography included in this year’s event.
This coming Friday, April 8 Rachel Suits, an Education Program Assistant for Master Gardeners, Small Farms, and SNAP-Ed at the Hood River and Wasco County Extension Service will speak about the ecological impact of insects.
On Friday, April 15 an eleven-year-old (!) activist, Dae Dahlquist will eloquently speak about climate actions and issues.
On Friday, April 22 Ellen Morris Bishop, a geologist, photographer and writer whose
passion is telling the stories of Oregon’s landscapes and geologic history will speak about waters and rivers, a history of sculpting the Columbia River Gorge.
The last Friday, April 29 we’ll hear ‘For Love of Aspen’ a lecture by Steve Strauss, a Distinguished Professor of Forest Biotechnology in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. Also speaking is Burke Greer, a PhD student working with Strauss at OSU who is studying Rocky Mountain aspen in relation to climate change.
‘Of Books, Birds and Butterflies: All About Nature Writing’ by Robert Michael Pyle, a lepidopterist, writer, teacher and founder of the Xerces Society is the grand finale.
The first Friday (sorry, already past) I thoroughly enjoyed an introduction by Jeremy Takala, a Columbia River Native American, Rock Creek band of the Yakama Nation, currently employed with the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program.
Bill Weiler, a wildlife biologist and habitat restoration consultant who founded the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute had me on the edge of my chair as he discussed Cougars. Although I’ve seen one in my neighborhood, it was long ago and I did not have a camera with me.
Dark Skies & Light Pollution was discussed by Jim White, an amateur astronomer and
Vice-President of the Friends of Goldendale Observatory, and a friend of mine. He was fascinating and afterwards set up a huge telescope so we could see Jupiter and it’s moons. (Jim, correct me if my memory is wrong!)
If you’re a Gorge resident, I hope to see you at the White Salmon Library each Friday night. Yes, I will be there for all the lectures, it’s a wonderful event!!
Thanks to Joy, there is also a lovely display of natural history as you enter the library.
For more information you can call the library at 509.493.1132.
March 30, 2016
After an exciting late winter and early spring, I will try to catch up with all my ‘wild’ wildlife adventures. Can you believe how fast 2016 is flying by?!
But first, let me tell you about yesterday. Another exciting day on the wild side.
I was photographing my spring garden…ahhhhh spring has finally arrived in my part of the world. At a slightly higher elevation, 2400 feet or so Spring takes her sweet time getting here.
I heard our resident Wild Turkeys gobbling at each other in the background, but there was something else…
…a familiar sound that I hadn’t heard in a while. Coyote!! I ran toward the sound, camera in hand and saw it meandering down in the forest!
I managed to catch one good shot of him in spite of the fact that I had the wrong lens set to take photos of flowers, not wildlife! Oh, I have plenty of other shots, but they are too blurry to share.
Afterwards, on my way to town for supplies I had to stop for photos of piglets on a nearby farm.
Like all babies, they are way too cute! Who can resist?
Bingen Marina was my next stop and I’m thrilled to tell you our Osprey are back! Speaking of Osprey, I’m also thrilled that a couple of my photos are included the April issue of the Ruralite, supporting a great article written by Lori Froehlich!
Back at the Marina, a lone female Bufflehead was staying cool under the warm sun.
A Raven landed on a branch near me.
I’ve been waiting for this Grebe to break out in courting plumage.
Next I stopped at a favorite place near Lyle, where this Red-tailed Hawk welcomed me. At least I think he welcomed me!
Found a deer resting in a semi-shady spot as I turned the corner.
Yay, my favorite woodpecker is still in the neighborhood ~ Lewis’s Woodpecker. Isn’t he gorgeous?
I almost missed this! I started to leave but noticed a bumpy looking log. I jumped out of my car ever so quietly so I wouldn’t scare them away. A pile of Pond Turtles!
This little guy stopped and posed for me, but he was semi hidden behind tallish grass.
Another Lewis’s Woodpecker ~ did I say I love these birds? I love these birds!
Almost to The Dalles where I needed to pick up a few items for my bath remodel (that will have to wait for another post), I stopped to watch a Great Blue Heron hunt for a while at a pond I recently found.
Just as I realized I’d taken 4.5 hours to drive to The Dalles, I had to stop one last time for a MARMOT!! Yes, I found a Marmot!! I actually found it last week, but didn’t know it. I photographed it, then immediately dismissed it as a rock until I saw it on my computer screen at home. I remembered where it was and stopped to see if I could find it again.
Not only did I find it, but I found TWO! They were fun to watch as they frolicked over, under and through the caves between rocks. Finally I had to leave them and finish my errands. I hope to catch you up with all the critters I’ve found this past season ~ the weather has been divine, making it difficult to stay indoors!