November 26, 2015
November 25, 2015
I signed on for a route in Audubon’s Winter Raptor Survey. My route is basically along Hwy 14 between Bingen and Dallesport along the Columbia River. The first run yielded my first ever sighting of a Prairie Falcon!!
I expected to find Red-tailed Hawks, and did find six of them.
Non resident Eagles are returning to the Gorge ~ I found these four in one snag and six more along the river.
I also counted three American Kestrels, but not close enough for a good shot. This shot is from Sauvie Island in January.
The following day broke with a beautiful clear blue sky so I followed my route hoping to recreate my photos with better light and composition. Alas I saw no eagles, but the Klickitat River was gorgeous.
And on a little side trip I found a Northern Shrike across the road from the entrance to Balfour Park! Told this is a rare sighting, I ‘penned’ my first entry into ebird.org. He is a hatch-year (1st winter ~ thanks to my friend Cathy for that info!)
I love these little birds and couldn’t believe how close they allowed me to get. This is a male Lesser Goldfinch.
The day before my route I’d gone looking for eagles with my friend Carolyn. Although we didn’t see eagles that day, we found tons of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, one of my favorites!!
We watched a heron fishing on ‘golden pond’ from afar.
A Cormorant flew by pretty close!
And we saw a lot of Ruby-crowned Kinglets! See his Ruby Crown?!!
He’s a bit blurred, too fast for me to keep up with his movement, but I wanted to show you his front too!
In spite of only finding Bald eagles on my official ‘Raptor Count Day’, we saw many beautiful birds including a Kingfisher, Wood Ducks, Robins, and Meadowlarks. It’s always a good day driving through the Gorge.
November 10, 2015
Another wonderful day with the Columbia Gorge birding group ~ this month we went to the mouth of the Deschutes River. We decided to walk along the west bank starting at the Heritage Boat landing, but failed to get that message to some of our people, so had to wave at each other across the river. It turned out good though, because collectively we were able to see both the west and east sides of the river. Yes, I like a positive spin!!
One of the first sightings was an American Kestrel on a utility pole wire stretching its wings.
We saw plenty of waterfowl swimming and fishing, including this Bufflehead pair. Light rain and clouds made lighting along the river not as optimum as I’d like.
Much discussion whether this was a Barrow’s or Common Goldeneye. I believe it was settled as a Barrow’s.
We saw Common Mergansers in several spots – lucky us the sun came out for a bit.
I always love finding a Great Blue Heron. Instead of a close up, I want to share his gorgeous environment.
A Spotted Sandpiper was discovered, apparently staying a little longer than usual in our area.
The Downey Woodpecker in this mullein flew off JUST as I focused! He really was there. Really. I saw him.
We saw several Northern Flickers frolicking in the shrubs…or perhaps working for food.
Here’s an American Kestrel in flight. He was really too far away for a good shot but I have to try!
A Bewick’s Wren came in and out of view in thick brush as we traveled a path heading upriver.
Several little birds were seen in the same thicket area including Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets; Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows and this Yellow Bird that I think is a Goldfinch but it could be a Warbler.
We saw several American Robins in trees, and large groups of them flying overhead.
A Song Sparrow munching his way through sage and thistle seed heads.
We all thought this large tree trunk lying near the path was fascinating. Color, texture, size ~ it was impressive.
Several in our group watched 3 Otters playing in the river for a few minutes. I had a shrub blocking most of my view, so vignetted this image a bit to showcase the one otter that I saw a little better. See him? Gray critter against a gray rock in the gray river (towards the bottom right side).
I think I caught another Song Sparrow, but I can always use help naming my sparrows!
Back at Heritage Boat Landing, I spotted a Western Grebe fishing. What is that on his neck?!! He was in a fight, or potential prey or maybe a fish bigger than him gave him a run for his money!
I also saw a Green-winged Teal swimming with Mallards. Why do they never swim toward me?
As we stood in the parking lot, saying goodbye we watched a Black-billed Magpie in the tree across from us.
The Deschutes River always has something of interest, it’s a favorite place of mine. If I have wrong identification on any of these birds, I’d appreciate your correction. Next month, we’ll head to Drano Lake!
November 3, 2015
The Aurora Borealis put on a fabulous show last night about midnight. I was lucky enough to catch it but can’t decide which shot I like best. I like them all for different reasons, but this is Photo #1 in the line-up, once the Aurora began her dance.
She was already making herself known when I arrived and I caught a shooting star as I set up my composition and camera settings.
And then she danced! Just after midnight, behind my town of White Salmon the party started. Photo #2.
It was chilly and dark and difficult to manage at first, but with each check of my camera’s LCD my excitement grew. Photo #3.
While my eye saw a dark clear sky filled with stars, Aurora continued showing herself on the back of my camera. Photo #4.
My eyes could only see what looked like a whitish cloud or fog on the horizon line where you see a greenish glow; and I could see columns of ‘mist’ rising from that. Photo #5.
If it were a stronger Aurora, I might have actually seen the color my camera displayed. Photo #6.
The wind was blowing clouds overhead so I knew my time was limited. Photo #7.
As Aurora danced in the Columbia River Gorge, so did I ~ to keep warm! And I drank coffee to stay awake. Photo #8.
My day started at 6 a.m., so this midnight hour was hard to keep. Photo #9.
The cold, the coffee and my excitement kept me shooting, dancing and laughing with delight! Photo #10.
I need your help! …… Photo #11.
I need you to help me decide which of these images to print! Photo #12.
You can vote for your favorite simply by commenting which numbered photo you like best. Photo #13.
As you can see, they’re all numbered: #1 – 16 ~ plus the Shooting Star shot. Photo #14.
What a magical night it was!! Only lasted for about an hour. Photo #15.
Just after 1 a.m. the clouds rolled in and covered the Aurora. Otherwise, I’d still be there. Photo #16.
Please let me know your favorite ~ in a comment here, via private message on Facebook, or via email ~ linda at steider studios dot com (all one word).