December 19, 2015
I love hanging out with a group of birders calling themselves ‘Bird Nerds’. We travel locally in the Columbia River Gorge seeking birds of all sorts. Many of us are still learning and are appreciative of the ‘experts’ that have undertaken our education.
We meet the 2nd Sunday of each month and in December went to the Little White Salmon River. A small group this month, we had the entire river and Drano Lake to ourselves. As we pulled in, two Bald Eagles flew out of a tree next to the road. The two photos above are juvenile Bald Eagles.
We watched eagles soaring above and ducks swimming below the road as we walked adjacent to the river. A trio of Goldeneye, the lead is a Barrow’s and his cohorts are Common Goldeneye.
We watched this American Dipper fishing along the rocky bank of the Little White Salmon River.
For awhile, it was hard to decide – look up at soaring birds in the sky, or look out into the river at all the waterfowl! Is it possible to see both at once?
Not really, but if I just look straight across, I can see this Kingfisher looking for his next meal!
Looked back at the river just in time to see a Barrow’s Goldeneye taking off from the ‘herd’.
Had it been a windless day I would’ve caught a great reflection in this shot! You can still kind of see it….can’t you?
As we continued our walk we spotted several Gulls, including this Glaucous-winged Gull on a sandbar in the river.
Across the river more Bald Eagles perched at the top of a tree.
This section is normally just grass, but due to recent rains had become a little pond. It was perfect for a Pintail Duck to hide out with a couple of Mallard friends.
A Common Raven flew overhead in just the right formation to show you his tail, shaped like an arrowhead ~ different from a Crow’s tail which is straight across.
The day started cloudy, but we were graced by the sun as we headed back to where we’d left our cars.
A Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead as well as a couple more Bald Eagles.
Just before we left we spotted a sweet little Mountain Chickadee singing his heart out. Another wonderful day of birding in The Gorge.
December 7, 2015
Pouring rain outside, I thought I’d take a little time travel break ~ back to a beautiful September day at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
It was a day filled with turtles!
I remember watching a Pie-billed Grebe and several ducks in the creek.
I only saw one Wood Duck pair.
It was a quiet day with very few sightings and even fewer people.
I watched a Pileated Woodpecker for a bit. Is he a juvenile? His feathers are a bit spiky around his neck making me wonder if he had been in the creek.
Back to turtles….this poor fella spent about 15 minutes climbing up to share a log.
Unfortunately his friend wanted nothing to do with him and shoved him off!
I ate my lunch in the shade while watching a Kingfisher fly back and forth across the creek. I desperately wanted him to land on the snag in front of me. If he had, that’s what you’d be looking at now.
I slowly finished the route, watching more herons, egrets and Northern Harriers.
It was a gorgeous day of sun, rain, clouds and end of summer fun at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
*In case you didn’t know, you can purchase many of my images as prints on paper, metal, canvas or as all occasion greeting cards. I have many listed in my on-line store but you can also send me a message to order.
December 1, 2015
Too few trips to Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge this season, I decided to take a drive up to the refuge in the shadow of Mt. Adams on a glum overcast day.
Not much moving around and close-to-freezing temperatures so I stayed in my car and drove over to Mill Pond where I found a couple of OTTERS (!!!) swimming and hunting.
I willed them to swim closer to me as I stayed quiet and low and my trigger finger clicked away. I was so excited to see them this close.
Lo and behold they did! They swam closer and closer and seemed as curious about me as I was about them. Then I started wondering just how close would they get? The front swimmer was filling up my frame. How close to shore were they? What would they do if they climbed ashore? What would I do if they climbed ashore? They are after all wild animals!
They must have sensed my … fear(?)…yes, it must have been fear … of the unknown. They dove and swam away, but kept circling back, still checking me out. I grabbed a few parting shots and then they were gone, across the pond. What a thrill for me! OTTERS!! Did I say I was excited? I was excited!!
Since my new friends left, I headed back to the refuge, but it was still quiet. I think this was the last of our November fall color. Even a quiet day is peaceful and comforting at Conboy Lake NWR.
As December enters and snow flies, I’ll keep adding more of my summer and fall adventures as well as the Winter return of our Bald Eagles and Tundra Swans!