Steider Studios.Sunrise.11.2.14

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.

Steider Studios.Columbia River Gorge From Bridge.11.2.14

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!!

Steider Studios.Golden Crowned Sparrow

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.

Steider Studios.Kingfisher.11.2.14 HR Marina

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.

Steider Studios.Shoveler Duck.HR Marina.11.2.14

Down at the Basin we saw Mallards of course, but among them were a couple of Northern Shovelers, including this female.

Steider Studios.Wood Ducks.HR Marina.11.2.14

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!

Steider Studios.Grebe.HR Marina.11.2.14

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.

Steider Studios.Ring Necked Duck

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!

Steider Studios.White Crowned Sparrow.11.2.14

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.

Steider Studios.Raft of Ducks.HR.11.2.14

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!

Steider Studios.Trio of Ducks in Flight.11.2.14

Trio of ducks taking off from the raft.  I thought I knew what these were yesterday.

Steider Studios.Bonaparte's Gulls.HR.11.2.14

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.

Steider Studios.Heron.HR Marina.11.2.14

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.

Steider Studios.Killdeer.HR Marina.11.2.14

On our way to the foot bridge we stopped to watch a large group of Killdeer.

Steider Studios.Sandpiper.HR Marina.11.2.14

I learned to watch for other birds like this Least Sandpiper when Killdeer are present.

Steider Studios.Merganser in Hood River.11.2.14

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?

Steider Studios.Salmon Spawning.11.2.14

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?!!

Rare Bird Sighting

November 4, 2014

Steider Studios.Northern Waterthrush

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.

Steider Studios. Northern Waterthrush

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.

Steider Studios.Shorebird.10.31.14.The Dalles

We also watched a trio of Dunlins traversing the beach at The Dalles Waterfront Park, close to where we saw the Northern Waterthrush.

Steider Studios.Merlin.10.31.14.The Dalles

…and a little Merlin decided to grace us with his presence.

Steider Studios.Raft of Coots, Ducks.10.31.14.The Dalles

We finished our travels at the boat ramp where a raft of American Coots and assorted ducks swam closer to us.

Steider Studios.Mourning Dove.10.31.14.Bingen

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…..

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