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Today was the last event for ‘Fine Feathered Friends’, a gallery show I co-curated with Robin Panzer.  Sunday is the last day you can see our fabulous show.  For our final weekend event, a group of us participated in a Bird Walk led by Field Biologist, Cathy Flick.  We were thrilled to have Cathy available and willing to share her time and knowledge with us.

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When we learned we’d be climbing ‘The Stairs’ we all looked at each other … hmmmm …. dare I say nervously.  As it turned out I was not the only one who had never climbed this steep set of stairs.  I had no idea how many stairs there actually are!

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Our destination was a private garden in an older Hood River neighborhood to view birds and their habitat.  But first we had to climb these stairs!

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A series of five staircases….we’d stop and talk about birds for a minute here and there on our way up.

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Finally, the last set.  Did I mention how steep they are?

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Our first reward at the top of the stairs and into our destination neighborhood was a flock of Cedar Waxwings!

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This little bird was in the same tree but I’m not sure if it’s a youth or a different species.

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At our destination garden we had a marvelous time watching all the different varieties of back yard birds at our host’s feeders.  She had tons of Pine Siskins at the feeders, on the ground and waiting their turn in nearby trees and shrubs.

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A couple of Scrub Jays made their presence known.

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A Red-breasted Nuthatch joined us at our host’s wonderful smorgasbord for birds.

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A crow watched us for a minute then decided on a little snack of cat food near a back door.

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One of my favorites, a Downey Woodpecker graced us with her presence.

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A Mourning Dove didn’t want to be left out of the action, but didn’t come down to the feast.

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We thanked our host for allowing us into her gorgeous garden then meandered toward the stairs … watching neighborhood birds as we slowly made our way back.

Steider Studios.Down the Stairs

Going down wasn’t too difficult, but the steps were slippery in spots so we did not hurry.  And now we can all say that we’ve climbed ‘The Stairs’.

Steider Studios.Down Stairs into Hood River

Back in town, we returned to Columbia Arts and enjoyed the ‘Fine Feathered Friends’ show.  Tomorrow, Sunday is the last day to see it.  Artists pick up unsold work on Monday and patrons will pick up their purchases.  Thanks so much to all who bought my bird prints and greeting cards, it’s an affirmation that I’m going in the right direction!

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Some of you saw this coming even before I did.  The more I get out in nature, the more I want to be free to do as I please.  Which is getting out in nature even more.

I want to play all day.  I want to capture everything I see with my camera.  I want to be responsible only to myself.  I want to have fun every day without stressing about an upcoming art show or deadline.

I’ve done art shows since I was 16 years old.  I sold macrame tie-dyed belts at the Rose Bowl Swap Meet back in the 60’s.  I also sold them to my high school teachers, neighbors and relatives.  I couldn’t stop making them.  To this day I can’t stop making things.

Steider Studios:  Rainbow of Earrings, Collection of my Shorter Styles.

I’ll still produce art, that is part of who I am.  I just won’t be on a schedule, or mass producing for any shows.  I won’t be marketing Steider Studios Glass Medium although I would love to find someone to take it over.

Steider Studios:  Mica Varieties

I won’t be replenishing any of the mica or tools for sale that I offer other artists.  When they’re gone, they’re gone.

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I’m tired of deadlines, numbers, taxes, headaches, the everyday worries and aggravations.  Tired of responsibility, and jumping through hoops.   I no longer want to count inventory and re-order supplies.  Or worry about the ‘bottom line’.

Steider Studios: New Bracelets Just Finished

I’ll keep my Zibbet and ArtFire on-line shops because I still have a lot of work stored in boxes that I need to sell.  Plus I have tons of prints and cards that can easily be ordered from either shop.

Steider Studios:  Hummingbird in Honeysuckle

I think I began formulating this decision during my family emergency in December.  I put everything on hold for a wee bit but never fully re-committed to my business afterwards.

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What will I do?  I’ll play all day.  I’ll take pictures.  I’ll go on hikes.  I’ll go out to breakfast with my friends.  I’ll search for bird nests.  I’ll rejuvenate my garden.  I’ll have F.U.N.!!!  And I’ll keep posting as much as I can in between fun adventures.

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Thanks to all of you who’ve followed my adventures from the beginning and to all of you who recently added me to your e-reading list.  I will understand if you don’t want to go with me, especially since I’m not sure where I’ll go next!

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Sunday I headed up to Conboy Lake NWR in Glenwood to help search, count and mark Oregon Spotted Frog egg masses.  Here’s why:  “Refuge-wide surveys have been conducted on Conboy Lake NWR since 1998. In that time, the population has experienced significant declines. Oregon spotted frogs have declined range-wide as well and are gone from the majority of historic sites. As a result, the species is now federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We continue to monitor the population on the Refuge through egg mass surveys to help us make better management decisions and evaluate efforts we have previously made.”

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Plus I like being on the refuge and I like the people I’ve met up there.  Here are a couple of Spotted Frogs, one with a reddish cast.  Aren’t they cute?!!

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It was a beautiful blue-sky day that started with a misty morning over Conboy Lake.

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Wearing waders, we headed out into the lake looking for egg masses.  What’s that you ask?  Let me show you!

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They were mostly underwater, jelly-like clear’ish balls with a black dot in the middle of each and clustered together.

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Oh look, another!  I did not find any, but the other volunteers found many.

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The beautiful Mt. Adams always in our line of sight watched over us.

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Just like a search and rescue line, we walked a grid, back and forth across the marshy lake.

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I learned so much from Lisa, the refuge manager and her crew.

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Here are some of the crew consulting.  Other refuge managers, biologists, volunteers…and me with my camera.

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At each sighting we planted a flag with the number, date and amount then marked it on GPS.

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The mist rose, we continued our march and I marveled at all I was learning through my many questions.

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The egg masses with a black dot are stage One.

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When the black dots change to ovals, they are stage two.

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Not versed in all the stages, you know the end – they become FROGS!!

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Every once in a while we’d stop to help a mass get back in the water.

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If the mass was stuck on grass above the waterline it had to be gently released so the eggs stay in the water and survive.

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A couple of times we’d find a mass that had to be moved to a wetter environment.

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Then off we’d trudge, looking for the next egg mass.

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A few frogs hid under the debris below the water’s surface.  See him?

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Neither did I, but I saw this one!

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This is a mass of Tree Frog eggs, not what we were looking for, but it was MY find!!  Having never seen them before, I think they looked farther along than the Spotted Frog egg masses.

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Adding to my excitement we even SAW a tree frog!!

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Back to work.

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Oh no, we found a Bullfrog!

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We found a high dry spot and grabbed some lunch under the sun.  It’s really hard to sit down when wearing waders.  I thought you’d want to know.

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After lunch we found more eggs….

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…and left more flags behind….

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…recorded more information….

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…and saw a few more frogs!!

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Here’s a better view of this cute fella with a reddish cast.

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By afternoon a thick swarm of bugs descended.

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I suppose I could Photoshop the bugs out of this otherwise beautiful scene.

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Or this one.

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Oh look, another egg mass!

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Lisa and her crew still seemed peppy as I ran out of steam and headed back towards shore.

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Our ride seemed farther away than the distance I wanted my hefty backpack to stay on my body.  I took all my lenses, ‘just in case’.

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I figured I could find some birds to photograph near the truck while Lisa’s crew continued working.

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Alas I trudged too slowly and they caught up with me.

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One last Spotted Frog, a baby that we found at our last stop of the day enroute back to refuge headquarters.

Thanks so much Lisa, for letting me come along to document and learn.  I had a great time, as usual a very fun day on the refuge!

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