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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.

January ~ A Month of Eagles

February 2, 2014

Steider Studios:  Bald Eagle Take Off into Flight, 1.6.14

January was an incredible month for chasing eagles.  I’ve been down by the river all month in spite of below freezing temperatures.

Steider Studios:  Bald Eagle.1.13.14

The best day was January 27th when my friend Nancy and I counted FORTY SIX eagles between Major Creek, Balfour Park, The Dalles Dam, Meyer Park and Mosier.  Simply stated, it was a magical day.

Steider Studios:  Bald Eagle in Tree.1.6.14

Thousands of photos later, I’ve whittled down my image catalog to those I can’t bear to part with.  Not all are that great, but remind me of what I saw, staring up in wonder at the magnificent Bald eagles.

Steider Studios:  Juvenile Eagle.1.13.14

January was a magical journey full of inspiration.  We photographed many other birds, but mostly we chased eagles.  Without further ado:

Steider Studios:  Eagle Catches Fish.1.13.14

On the Klickitat River I caught an adult bald eagle taking his fish to a more private dining area.

Steider Studios:  Eagle Takes Off

Further up the Klickitat River eagles were harder to photograph due to camouflage of twigs and branches.

Steider Studios:  Klickitat River.1.13.14

While we wait for photo opportunities the surrounding landscapes are breath-taking.  This is an upper section of the Klickitat River on a frigid January morning.  I can still hear it roar.

Steider Studios:  Bald Eagle in Flight.1.6.14

My heart soars with these magnificent birds.  Am I lucky?  Blessed?  In the right place at the right time?  Yes.

Steider Studios:  Foggy Balfour Park

This is Balfour Park where eagles perch in trees along the Klickitat River.  I’m still waiting for my new Tamron 150-600mm lens that will allow me to get much closer to these incredible birds.

Steider Studios:  Eagle@Balfour.1.27.14

This adult bald eagle perched right on the paved path at Balfour where numerous visitors including Yours Truly were able to photograph him endlessly.

Steider Studios:  Eagles at The Dalles Dam on 1.27.14

At the Dalles Dam on the Columbia River dozens of bald eagles congregate daily.  I will get much better shots of them with my new lens.  If it arrives before the eagles leave!

Steider Studios:  Juvenile Eagle Taking Off

A juvenile bald eagle surprised me when he took off directly overhead at Major Creek.  I think I surprised him too!

Steider Studios:  Eagle in Flight along Hwy14, January 2014.

Although not sharp, I like this photo because of the white feathers on his back and his tail feathers have brown tips.  Near Lyle Point along Highway 14.

Steider Studios:  Mosier Creek at Columbia RiverMosier Creek where it flows into the Columbia River is another great spot for watching eagles.

Many of my images have been printed on all occasion greeting cards and are available in my Zibbet shop and my ArtFire shop; and are also available as metal prints and canvas wraps to adorn your home or office walls.  If you see something you like and it’s not in my shops, please send me a message to make it happen!

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Steider:  Eagles at Balfour Park

Happy New Year!  I look forward to sharing new adventures with you, starting with today’s!  My glassy girlfriends and I planned a hike up the Klickitat River in search of Bald Eagles.  This time of year they’re abundant along the Columbia River and it’s tributaries.

Steider:  At Dark Thirty You Can See Bald Eagles

At dark thirty an eagle’s white head absolutely glows.  We had the entire Klickitat River to ourselves – just me and my dog.  My friends bailed on me last night, but I can’t blame them – one was sick & the other was expecting a studio visitor today.  It was 22 degrees when I left at 7 a.m., 32 degrees when I arrived at the parking lot, but a balmy 40 down by the river!

Steider:  Klickitat River at the Confluence of the Columbia River

I hiked down to a sandy beach along the Klickitat River near the Confluence of the Columbia River to get as close as I could to the birds.  I am always inspired and invigorated when this close to nature and wildlife.  Even if it IS freezing outside!

Steider:  Geese on the Klickitat River

There were plenty of geese on the Klickitat River while I (im)patiently waited for bald eagles to become active.  They were understandably nervous about my dog being so close to them.

Steider:  Youthful Bald Eagle in Flight

A youthful bald eagle was the first to let me practice my ‘in flight’ photography.

Steider:  Youthful Bald Eagle Landing in a Tree Along the Klickitat River

He landed with grace and I managed to get 150 blurry photos of his skill.

Steider:  Another Young Eagle Lands in Tree

A second youth showed up right on his heels as I continued to snap away, getting as many practice shots of eagles in flight as I could.

Steider:  Ducks Landing on the Klickitat River

I think these ducks decided to take cover from the flurry of young eagles flying about.

Steider:  More Young Eagles in Flight

A third young eagle flew over shortly after the first two.

Steider:  Adult Bald Eagle Landing Above the Klickitat

This adult bald eagle flew in from the upper part of the Klickitat River and joined the five that I’d been watching.

Steider:  Geese Swimming to Shore

In the meantime, my new friends decided my dog wasn’t coming to the river’s edge after all.

Steider:  Bald Eagle on Tree Branch

I counted six adults and three young bald eagles this morning plus sighted one along the highway on my way home.

Steider:  Heron Flying Away

Oh!  Two herons burst out of one small creek and headed north along the river – they were thrilling to watch and I’m happy I caught one with my camera!

Steider:  Young Eagle in Flight

The young eagles put on a great show for me.  They seemed more active at 9 than they were at 8.  Think I’ll plan my next trip accordingly.

Steider:  Young Eagle Flying Overhead

It was hard to get a clear picture as they flew overhead against the gray sky.  Most of my overhead shots are just silhouettes.

Steider:  Ducks Coming in for a Landing

I don’t know why I like this shot of the ducks landing, but it’s so full of color against the gray water that I decided to include it for you.

Steider:  Bald Eagle Sitting in Tree

This was about the closest I could get to the eagles in the trees along the river.  I need a longer lens!  I hadn’t wanted to carry it, but next time I’ll pack along my tripod.  After about an hour and a half I was frozen in spite of three layers of clothing.  We’re expecting freezing rain this afternoon, so I’ll stay snug in my studio for the next few days gearing up for shows and photographing the hundreds of earrings I made the last few months.

The Glass Craft & Bead Expo is just around the corner.  I hope you can take a class with me this year!  I’ll post more info soon!

You can see many of my photographs published as all occasion greeting cards in my Zibbet shop. Just click this link.

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