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My best winter news:  I won best in Wildlife in Friends of the Gorge annual photo contest for the above photo!

It was the first time I entered and I also took away an honorable mention for my adorable Pika!!

AND an honorable mention for my smoky sunset!  My prize for ‘First’ in Wildlife was a gift certificate to Pro Photo and a fabulous new Columbia backpack!

Feet back on the ground, on the first day of Winter I hiked out my back door to see who I might find.  Nuthatches!  White-breasted and…

…Red-breasted Nuthatch.

After that first sunny day of winter, we had a bit of snow.  I stayed close to home & watched Chickadees in my garden.

New Year’s Eve I went with a couple of young birders to High Prairie where they showed me a Great Horned Owl.

The younger birder has a great eye and spotted a Rough-legged Hawk in the distance and we were thrilled at how close it flew to us while hunting.

Alas my fellow birders couldn’t stay long, but I wasn’t ready to leave.  Lucky me I watched a Northern Harrier with lunch!

My winter raptor survey is in full swing and I loved finding this pair of Bald Eagles near sunset.

A few days later I drove along the Columbia just because the sun came out!  Saw eagles chasing eagles….


 A beautiful Great Blue Heron flew past.

And I passed a gorgeous Kestrel sunning at the top of a snag.

Back at the Bingen Marina I checked on our Tundra Swans.  Yep, still there.  They arrive and depart about the same time as migrating Bald Eagles.

I believe this is a Horned Grebe soaking up the sun, but I always mix it up with an Eared Grebe.

I took a couple of friends from Portland out hunting for Bald Eagles here in the Gorge and lucky us, we found some.

We watched a few juvenile eagles with an adult bathing in the Columbia, hiked into Balfour Park, then headed further east.

We found this beauty near The Dalles Dam where I was heading the very next week for Eagle Festival.

Eagle Festival at The Dalles Dam occurs every January when the Bald Eagle population is at its fullest.

I arrived super early hoping for a sunrise shot, but alas it was a gray morning.  However, because of my early arrival I had a pretty nice spot for watching eagles fish.

I ran into many of my birding friends there, especially after the sun came out!

California sea lions also came to the party at The Dalles Dam!

It was truly a glorious day.

I like taking long scenic drives to see what I can find.  This abandoned house had a young bald eagle perched at the top of a craggy old tree next to it.

The Klickitat River runs through many little towns in our area.

You can get down right next to it or view it from a great height.

This time of year it might be snowing or the clouds below so thick that the river is hidden.

You can almost always find a Bald Eagle near the Klickitat River.

That about sums it up, I think we’re caught up now.  Well except …

We put in a trail cam and now know what eats our bird seed every night!

Oh, and my really big winter news is I’m going to NORWAY where my paternal ancestors came from!!  I didn’t know I wanted to go until invited by a loved one.  I’m working overtime selling my remaining art glass to fund this surprise trip.  More about that in an upcoming post!

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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.

She’s BACK!

January 24, 2018

I think I exhausted myself photo-documenting all those raptor nests in my last posts!  I enjoyed many adventures afterwards and took a lot of pictures but didn’t get around to posting….or sitting at my computer for much time the rest of 2017!!

Here’s a quick recap to catch up!

I led a bird walk at Conboy Lake NWR for Julee at Mt Adams Lodge in July.

Had family come to the Northwest for a visit and we hiked many of my favorite places….

…We picked cherries….

…and played with art projects.

I enjoyed hummingbirds in my garden…..

… and of course my garden flowers…

…as well as butterflies….

Enjoyed my 98% of the eclipse with old friends at their vineyard here on Burdoin Mountain!

I conducted my annual Pika surveys for Cascades Pika Watch.

…and even found juveniles this year!  I’ve said it before, the cutest little mammals on the planet!

Hired to shoot for Sail the Gorge Magazine, I spent a lot of time on the Columbia River!

Hiked around Mt Adams, enjoying lakes and waterfalls.

Love high places, but sadly this day another wildfire began, you can see smoke drifting over Mt. St. Helens.

Headed south to visit family and took them sailing with dolphins!

Found some interesting new birds like this Warbling Vireo near Horsethief State Park.

And interesting butterflies like a MONARCH also near Horsethief!

Sadly, the last of our summer days were clouded by the horrific Eagle Creek fire.  Started by a teen with fireworks in a steep dry canyon.  The Oregon hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge are still closed and many will not reopen for several years.  I worry about the wildlife, especially our little Pika who lost their source of food.  Not even our expert scientists are allowed in yet to check on them.

That’s just summer!  I’ll be back tomorrow to share ‘how I spent Autumn’ with you!!

Ch Ch Ch Changes…

December 15, 2016

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Since my last art show I’ve been out in the field enjoying wild critters and places with no looming deadlines or responsibilities.

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Bald Eagles are back….

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…Tundra Swans are back….

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I gave a talk on Wildlife Photography to the Sherman County Camera Club, and played at the John Day Dam prior to their meeting.

…and I’m back at work in a new & different way!

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Invited to join and show my photography at co-op gallery, Made in the Gorge… I said YES!  108 Oak Street, downtown Hood River ~ you’ll find me there on Saturdays.  Come in & say hi!!

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I know I keep promising to tell you of recent adventures….it’s just so hard to sit at my computer & tell you about the last one when I want to be out experiencing the next one!

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My first sighting of a Red-necked Grebe in the Gorge!

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Our first snowfall of the season on the White Salmon River at Husum.

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A rare sighting of Bohemian Waxwings in Trout Lake! …

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…and my photo used in Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library!! I so wish it had been a blue sky day instead of winter gray!  Thrilled just the same!!

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I tend to share more often on my Facebook page and would love you to give me a ‘like’ over there!!

For now, I’m on my way to shovel off our decks…again!  Eight fresh inches on top of two earlier feet of snow this week!  Fa La La La La and Happy Holidays to you & yours!!

Camping at Goose Lake

October 9, 2016

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This summer I invited myself along on a friend’s camping trip to Goose Lake in the Mt Adams Wilderness, with her two grandsons.

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This was my first camping experience (that I remember ~ my mom tells me we camped when I was a toddler) and I couldn’t wait to see sunset and sunrise over the lake without having to get up or get home at an ungodly hour.

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The boys brought fishing poles to catch our food, a BB gun to fend off wild animals in the wilderness, and a machete…I presume to clear a nice space for our comfort.  All but the fishing poles were abandoned as soon as they saw the lake!

steider-studios-fishing-goose-lake-8-26-16-11While waiting for sunset we watched a ‘mist’ of dust rise and fall as travelers drove the gravel road next to the lake.

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When sunset arrived in front of our campsite, it was pretty nice!

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Sunrise the following morning was quite beautiful as light overtook shadow.

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I was hoping to see a ton of wildlife, and made sure I was the first one on the lake after a brutally cold and nervous night’s sleep.  Between my husband’s 30-year-old worn out sleeping bag and a twig or branch crackling seemingly every few minutes I think I got 3 hours sleep max.

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Surrounded with golden light and a sweet little Sandpiper to entertain me in early morning solitude.

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As the sun rose higher I could hear campers stirring and looked for more photo opportunities before anglers or boats disturbed the lake.

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I found a family of Mergansers beginning their day.

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They chased each other back and forth…..

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…and did a bit of their own fishing while humans launched boats into the lake.

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A little Junco serenaded me from a branch behind  my spot on the beach…

steider-studios-fishing-goose-lake-8-26-16-23…as did an American Dipper on the next rock over from where I sat.

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Did I already say the morning light was Golden?  Breathtakingly so!

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As I headed toward sounds of the boys talking, a pair of Bald Eagles flew overhead.

steider-studios-goose-lake-logs-8-26-16I had to climb over a series of logs to get to where my friends were fishing for breakfast.

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As I began my climb, I stumbled upon a pair of Crossbills!  Good reason to stop!!

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Finally, I made it across the logs only to find we had no fish for our breakfast.  Luckily we brought a camp stove and eggs!!

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Goose Lake is so beautiful and a perfect place for little boys to fish and dream about all the wilderness has to offer ~ hopefully they’ll take their children one day.

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It’s also a pretty nice place for a photographer to catch some lovely reflections!  I even heard a PIKA speak!!!  I must tell you, I didn’t like the part about no showers and the lake too cold to take a dip ~ but I loved being there at dusk, dawn, and every moment between.

A Month Without Internet

January 10, 2016

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Yes.  A month without internet.  Could you do without online communication, shopping, banking, game playing, and more for a month?  I decided I couldn’t, so am sitting in a warm cheery wi-fi cafe in Hood River checking up on all the above.

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It started with a snow storm.  Then an ice storm.  Then more snow & more ice.  Eventually after only a few days the snowy, ice-encrusted trees completely blocked my line of sight to the internet tower on Underwood Mountain.  When will the ice melt?  March?

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I’m not waiting.  I ordered a new service, but alas the installer has left for vacation and won’t be back for another two weeks.  So, until then, I’ve cleaned out closets.  I’ve gone through reams of old paperwork from my business; and design ideas stacked in my studio.

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I’ve shoveled my deck countless times and romped in the snow with my dog.

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I’ve watched my icicles grow and fade and grow again.

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I’ve checked on my trees to see how much longer the ice might remain.  Looks like forever to me!

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I’ve played with bubbles in the snow and ice….

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…on more than one occasion!

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One day the sun even came out, but the temperature didn’t rise above 30º.

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I can sometimes see the sunset glow outside our constant inversion.

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One snowy day a Northern Goshawk landed on the snag below my deck!

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He didn’t stay long, but I was glad to witness his presence in my neighborhood!

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I’ve come into town every couple of days to keep up with my email but also to watch for eagles since it is the season.  This pair was right off Hwy 14 between Lyle and Bingen.

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A couple of occasions I was able to watch eagles chase each other and fight over food.

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I saw other raptors like this little Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon!

Steider Studios.Raptors.12.27.15-10 I even saw a Northern Harrier at Bingen Marina for the first time.  I usually see them in more open spaces.

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Each adventure down my mountain first involves a hike up to the road where our cars are kept.

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And a hike back down at the end of the day.

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In between, it’s a 30 minute drive down to the river, and when I arrive, it’s Raptor Heaven.

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I think this guy pretty much sums it up.  I want my internet!!

In case I don’t have another opportunity to sit in a cafe for this long, I’ll catch up with you again at the end of the month when I’m ‘connected’ again.  I hope!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!  

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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!!

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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!

 

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