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.