March 2, 2017
I paid close attention to his every word in yesterday’s workshop, so my camera was ready and I was ready!
About a dozen photographers had plenty of room to spread out in our school bus that took us to the first eagle sighting.
Still early, a bit dark, we had learned how to let more light into our sensors and clicked away as the pair of eagles came and went from their nest.
It was difficult to choose which images to share out of the many I took.
The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge was amazing in spite of overcast skies and threat of rain.
We watched swans and geese take off and land, especially after an eagle ‘fly by’.
There were literally thousands of Tundra Swans and Greater White-fronted Geese.
Tundra Swans are another of my favorites.
We saw a few Sandhill Cranes and lucky us, we caught them dancing!
I didn’t count the Bald Eagles but they were plentiful … and as usual in a group, fighting over food.
There were also thousands of Snow Geese.
They were especially sensitive to eagle fly overs and took off at every sighting of a Bald Eagle.
They usually landed not too distant from where they left.
Looks like a pair of Tundra Swans having some alone time away from the group.
I have a series from this incident…a Great Horned Owl flew across a field then landed in the grass where we could barely see him. A Northern Harrier buzzed overhead & dove near the owl several times. Can you see the owl? He’s directly below the Northern Harrier in this shot, hidden by grass.
Bald Eagles and other raptors perch on utility poles. Generally there is only one bird per pole, so this shot with an adult and juvenile Bald Eagle was fun to see.
To my delight we also found a Rough-legged Hawk! I am getting to know this raptor quite well.
Another Red-tail ~ a juvenile that hasn’t fully developed his red tail yet.
I had to yell “stop the bus!” when I saw this coyote in a field. I rarely can grab my camera in time at home when I see them and he was so beautiful.
He stood there posing for a bit then ran off with a glance over his shoulder.
Our last stop for the day was back in Klamath Falls where Black-capped Night Herons roost in trees along the Link River near the Favell Museum.
We noticed Barrow’s Goldeneye in the river as we watched the herons…
…and a few interesting Mallard hybrids!
Later in the afternoon I enjoyed a class learning intermediate and advanced raptor ID that I am most grateful for! My next post will chronicle a fabulous field trip in search of raptors.
Our keynote speaker that night was Chas Glatzer. My friend and I sat in the back, expecting to leave early because we were so tired from a full day that began at 5am. We were literally the last to leave. We didn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk with and thank Chas for an exceptional presentation. I love that all three keynote speakers are ethical about capturing their wildlife shots. Chas’s parting words still ring in my ear as it applies to wildlife photography, “Do the right thing”.
I don’t think I’ve addressed ethics in my posts, but if you haven’t thought about it I would never bait my subject or interfere with its life in any way. I don’t whistle, rustle the brush or do anything that would turn its attention away from eating, feeding it’s young, sleeping, hunting or even just to direct it’s attention to me. I’m truly grateful and appreciate any opportunity I have to see birds and wildlife; and love sharing what I capture with you.
August 10, 2016
Have I mentioned I love the American Pika? Today I hiked around the Horsetail Falls area in the Columbia River Gorge, hoping to see these cute little critters.
I overslept a bit so didn’t expect to see any since I arrived later than planned. But LOOK, he popped his little head up as if to say “Here I am!”.
I ended up seeing two and hearing at least 2 others in the distance.
A couple of families stopped to ask what I was capturing with my camera and I think I convinced one kid playing Pokemon Go to seek out Pika instead of Poke!!
As long as I was above Horsetail Falls I decided to hike in to Ponytail Falls.
I watched for more Pika all the way back down, but I think they were in Siesta Mode.
I DID see a Robin!
Back at the bottom of the trail and surprised at how few people were gathered around Horsetail Falls, I grabbed a shot of it while there. I look forward to comparing it to the shot I took in January when the falls were raging and ice formed along the rocks.
At the very bottom of the falls, the water level was low enough I could climb down the rocks and take a shot at creek level.
Here’s my little Pika friend again for your enjoyment. Did I already say I love these little critters?!
July 28, 2016
I decided to take myself to the top of Angel’s Rest on this hot summer day. I’ve been on the trail, searching for Pika with Cascades Pika Watch, but for various reasons never got to the top. Above is the view looking west toward Portland.
I headed up the trail at 7:30am and arrived at the top just after 9. I stopped here and there to catch my breath. Watching for Pika along the way gave me ample reason for frequent stops.
It’s only 2.3 miles up but with an elevation of 1600 feet, it felt steeper (to me) than it probably is. Heading back down I stopped for a snack in a likely place to see Pika.
They didn’t disappoint! Unfortunately, I only had time for a couple of shots of this American Pika before a noisy trail-runner scared him off ~ I was hoping on a weekday I’d have a quieter hike, but alas it is summer and the trails were busy by mid morning.
Heading down I decided to stop at the stream that feeds Coopey Falls and found some stacked rocks that someone kindly left me.
A tiny bit further I followed a lesser trail to view the stream cascading over some rocks at the top of Coopey Falls.
Just beyond that is the last part of the stream near the top of the falls. Any further downstream, I’d be tumbling in the waterfall (which is only accessible via private property).
Back down at the trailhead at 11:30, I grabbed a shot of the sign, a memento of another fine day in the Columbia River Gorge. Such a beautiful place to live and play! It was definitely worth it!
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.
March 30, 2016
After an exciting late winter and early spring, I will try to catch up with all my ‘wild’ wildlife adventures. Can you believe how fast 2016 is flying by?!
But first, let me tell you about yesterday. Another exciting day on the wild side.
I was photographing my spring garden…ahhhhh spring has finally arrived in my part of the world. At a slightly higher elevation, 2400 feet or so Spring takes her sweet time getting here.
I heard our resident Wild Turkeys gobbling at each other in the background, but there was something else…
…a familiar sound that I hadn’t heard in a while. Coyote!! I ran toward the sound, camera in hand and saw it meandering down in the forest!
I managed to catch one good shot of him in spite of the fact that I had the wrong lens set to take photos of flowers, not wildlife! Oh, I have plenty of other shots, but they are too blurry to share.
Afterwards, on my way to town for supplies I had to stop for photos of piglets on a nearby farm.
Like all babies, they are way too cute! Who can resist?
Bingen Marina was my next stop and I’m thrilled to tell you our Osprey are back! Speaking of Osprey, I’m also thrilled that a couple of my photos are included the April issue of the Ruralite, supporting a great article written by Lori Froehlich!
Back at the Marina, a lone female Bufflehead was staying cool under the warm sun.
A Raven landed on a branch near me.
I’ve been waiting for this Grebe to break out in courting plumage.
Next I stopped at a favorite place near Lyle, where this Red-tailed Hawk welcomed me. At least I think he welcomed me!
Found a deer resting in a semi-shady spot as I turned the corner.
Yay, my favorite woodpecker is still in the neighborhood ~ Lewis’s Woodpecker. Isn’t he gorgeous?
I almost missed this! I started to leave but noticed a bumpy looking log. I jumped out of my car ever so quietly so I wouldn’t scare them away. A pile of Pond Turtles!
This little guy stopped and posed for me, but he was semi hidden behind tallish grass.
Another Lewis’s Woodpecker ~ did I say I love these birds? I love these birds!
Almost to The Dalles where I needed to pick up a few items for my bath remodel (that will have to wait for another post), I stopped to watch a Great Blue Heron hunt for a while at a pond I recently found.
Just as I realized I’d taken 4.5 hours to drive to The Dalles, I had to stop one last time for a MARMOT!! Yes, I found a Marmot!! I actually found it last week, but didn’t know it. I photographed it, then immediately dismissed it as a rock until I saw it on my computer screen at home. I remembered where it was and stopped to see if I could find it again.
Not only did I find it, but I found TWO! They were fun to watch as they frolicked over, under and through the caves between rocks. Finally I had to leave them and finish my errands. I hope to catch you up with all the critters I’ve found this past season ~ the weather has been divine, making it difficult to stay indoors!