Home

Autumn sunrise on Burdoin Mountain. Easier to get up for fall & winter sunrise!

Pears ripen during autumn in the Columbia River Gorge and attract all sorts of critters, including a Downy Woodpecker.

Woodpeckers seem to come out in the open like this pair of  Northern Flickers in the Soda Springs area.

Maybe we can see them easier with less foliage.  An Acorn Woodpecker sits on a snag in the Klickitat Wildlife area.

I also spotted a Coyote while in the Klickitat Wildlife area!

I love being on the Klickitat River this time of year.

We headed to the Bend area where my husband’s buddy from high school showed us where they fished together on the Crooked River.

While in that the Bend area I found a River Otter lunching on the Deschutes River.

And a sweet little Ruby-crowned Kinglet munching on flies in a spider web at Cline Falls State Park.

A trio of cygnets (one thinks he is hiding underwater) at Sun River Nature Center.  Sadly their father, Chuck was illegally shot and killed not long after my visit.  There is a substantial reward, if you have any info contact the Oregon State Police.

Ridgefield NWR is one of my favorite stops, and you can usually find a Great Blue Heron at the first pond (and around every corner). 

Mt. Adams reflecting in a pond at Conboy Lake NWR, my ‘backyard refuge’.

Lucky me, while at Conboy Lake NWR I caught a rainbow over the little town of Glenwood!

An old friend traveled through from Alaska, seeking the sun. We went to some of my favorite waterfalls.  Lower Lewis River Falls…

….and Curly Creek Falls among them.

That night we had an Aurora prediction, so yep, I stayed up for this ‘Tiny Aurora Borealis’ behind Mt. Adams.

Speaking of tiny, I found a little Golden-crowned Kinglet in my backyard.

Another friend (& fellow photographer) & I went hiking along the Lewis River to Upper Lewis River Falls.

I can’t believe in November I still had Hummingbirds dipping into my feeders!

Thanks to a friend’s invitation, we headed back to Bend to watch the mule deer Rut.  I have way too many photos to share, so this favorite one will have to suffice.

My raptor surveys started back up for East Cascades Audubon Winter Raptor Survey.  I truly love participating.

Our Tundra Swans return to Bingen Pond….

As do the American Wigeon….

…and the Pied-billed Grebes.

Bald Eagles begin migrating to the Columbia River Gorge each year around Thanksgiving.

Steller’s Jays take over my feeders.  Chickadees, Juncos and Nuthatches have to elbow their way in.

A chipmunk visits my garden for the first time this fall!  At least the first that showed himself to me in over 30 years!

The next day he found a feeder!  Isn’t he CUTE???

I was lucky to catch a Bald Eagle flying fast over the Little White Salmon River.

A friend intrigued me with a rare bird, so I had to go check it out!  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Commonwealth Lake near Portland.

While there, a Sharp-shinned Hawk landed in a nearby tree with lunch!

My last hike of the season, Falls Creek Falls.  It’s now closed until April 1st.

Our Bald Eagle population continues to increase in the Columbia River Gorge.  Trio of juveniles fighting over food.

During a visit to Ridgefield NWR, I found a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk looking down at me….

…and a Red-shouldered Hawk calling….yes, he MUST have called me over to him!!

Back at Conboy Lake NWR I caught a Northern Shrike hovering.  At first I thought he was a Kestrel because I hadn’t seen a shrike hover like this before.

While there I also found a White-breasted Nuthatch, another favorite.

I’ll leave you with this Columbia River Gorge sunset from the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery entrance.

If not tomorrow, then soon … I’ll fill you in on my wonderful Winter.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16

I went to BirdFest at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the end of September and beginning of October.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-4

Thrilled to be there, I was in a small group that watched Sandhill Cranes fly into their roost on Friday night.  Lucky me, I went back the following morning to watch them fly out.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-5

We stood as silently as possible in a blind, after finding ‘the best spot’ for viewing.  As the lights dimmed the cranes began to fly in.  I zoomed in to isolate a few here and there.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-2

While waiting for the next group to fly in, I watched a Snowy Egret working the shoreline.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-10-1-16-3

‘Wheels’ down.  Coming in for a landing.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-12

The sky changed color as the sun went down and family after family of cranes arrived for the night.  The sound was breath-taking.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-8

A couple of times ALL the birds in this area swarmed up and out, then resettled.  Awesome. Incredible. Fantastic. Amazing.  None of these words fully express the feeling or sounds.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-9

Sandhill Cranes like this marshy area, surrounded by water that keeps them safe from predators.  A few of us saw a coyote walk by the blind when we arrived the next morning.  Sorry, too dark, my camera would not cooperate in spite of my pleading for that shot!

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-11

Each family unit ~ 2 adults and 1 to 3 colts ~ flies in and out together.  Here comes another!

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-10

As the night got darker, my ISO turned higher, but my shutter speed couldn’t keep up with all the activity.  I like this shot anyway ~ shall we call it ‘artsy’?

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-6

Between incoming groups of cranes it was fun watching other birds like this Yellowlegs foraging for an evening meal.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-come-in-to-roost-9-30-16-7

A Great Egret also flew over, joining his tribe behind the cranes.

steider-studios-sandhill-crane-exodus-10-1-16

Saturday morning we woke early and headed back to watch the Sandhills leave their roost.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-leaving-in-am-10-1-16

Again in a small group, we huddled quietly in a blind and waited for the show to begin.  The birds began taking off before the sun came up.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-10-1-16

Watching the cranes fly against this magical sky while listening to their song….I felt as though we could be in a PBS nature show.

steider-studios-sandhill-crane-trio-in-flight-10-1-16

Except we WERE there, right in the midst of a cinematic show filled with beautiful birds taking off in glorious light!

steider-studios-sandhill-crane-landscape-10-1-16

High ISO = grainy shot, but this is one portion of our morning view just after the first few groups of cranes flew out.  I hope to make a panorama of the entire lagoon filled with 500 or more Sandhill Cranes.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-10-1-16-2

As the light changed I had a clearer view of the cranes and their flight patterns.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-10-1-16-6

Did I already say they were amazing to watch?  They were A-mazing!! You can sense the power in their wings.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-10-1-16-4

Young Sandhill Cranes remain with parents for 9-10 months, accompanying them in migration.

steider-studios-sandhill-cranes-10-1-16-5

One of my favorite birds, they mate for life.

steider-studios-sandhill-crane-in-landscape-10-1-16

As it got lighter, the background landscape became prettier too.

steider-studios-sandhill-crane-last-to-leave-10-1-16

Last little family left.  Two adults, two colts.  What a fabulous experience.

steider-studios-sand-hill-cranes-courting

Cranes live an average of 20 years in the wild, and generally have 1 to 2 colts per year.  Photo above is at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge where I was lucky to observe their courting dance.  You can distinguish adults from juveniles by the red on an adult’s head.

Sandhill Cranes nest in freshwater wetlands and are the oldest known bird species in the world.  They have an average weight of 10 pounds, a wingspan of 5 to 7 feet and are approximately 4 feet tall.  Omnivorous, their diet varies with location and season. They eat insects, roots of aquatic plants, rodents, snails, frogs, lizards, snakes, nestling birds, berries, seeds, and cultivated grains like corn.

Sources if you’re interested in reading more about my favorite bird:  Audubon, Nature Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Wikipedia, and National Wildlife Federation.  Oh there’s more, but I don’t want to overwhelm you!

 

 

%d bloggers like this: