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Steider Studios.Mt Adams.7.13.16

One of the reasons I love Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the peaceful quiet setting.  I went up on Wednesday to meet the new manager and ended up staying all….day….long….  It was simply put ~ a spectacular day.

Steider Studios.Baby Pie-billed Grebe.7.13.16

After leaving the office, I looked around Lake Road to see what I could find.  I thought this was a juvenile Pied-billed Grebe, but have since learned it’s a juvenile Coot!

Steider Studios.Great Blue Heron.7.13.16

A Great Blue Heron fishing caught my attention…I watched him until he flew off to ‘greener streams’.

Steider Studios.Cedar Waxwing.7.13.16

Plenty of little birds filled the air with song.  Cedar Waxwing above; little sparrow below.

Steider Studios.Sparrow.7.13.16

I haven’t looked him up yet to see what he is.  If you know, do tell!!

Steider Studios.Yellow-headed Blackbird.7.13.16

To my delight, I found a Yellow-headed Blackbird!  And I heard Soras!!  I crept around the reeds as quiet as could be and distinctly heard at least two & maybe three but they did not show themselves.  I’ll be back soon to stalk them!

Steider Studios.Sandhill Crane.7.13.16

My next stop was the Kiosk area on the Glenwood Hwy.  Early in the morning I heard plenty of Sandhill Cranes calling, but by mid morning I only found one pair.  I became one with the field of grass hoping they wouldn’t see me.  OH!  See the vertical white splotches in the background?  Too far away for me to get a decent shot, but there were at least 15 Great Blue Herons lined up across the field!

Steider Studios.Western Bluebird.7.13.16

I usually see woodpeckers around the Kiosk, but did not.  Instead I found a Western Bluebird, …

Steider Studios.Wren.7.13.16

…and a House Wren.  Last year there was an Oriole nest here, but alas I didn’t see any this time.  There were also sparrows and Juncos flitting too fast for my heavy lens to follow.

Steider Studios.Duck Family.7.13.16

The Canal area is another favorite area for me and I went there to check on the Wood Duck Family but didn’t find them.  I found this little family though ~ Pintails?

Steider Studios.Meadowlark.7.13.16

A Western Meadowlark stood sentry at the Glenwood Hwy and Canal intersection.

Steider Studios.Western Tanager female.7.13.16

See her?  I almost missed her!  And then her mate flew in….

Steider Studios.Western Tanager.7.13.16

…With TREATS!  Western Tanager, yet another favorite.  Isn’t he gorgeous?!  Grasshoppers swarmed the canal area and filled the air with each step I took.  Several flew into my open car windows, so I decided to move on.

Steider Studios.Mt Adams from Kreps Ln.7.13.16

No trip to the refuge is complete without a little drive down Kreps Lane.

Steider Studios.Red winged Blackbird.7.13.16

Red-winged Blackbirds greeted me on fence posts.

Steider Studios.Eastern Kingbird.7.13.16

Eastern Kingbirds posed for me.

Steider Studios.Cliff Swallows.7.13.16

While Swallows evaded me.

Steider Studios.Turkey Vulture.7.13.16

My last stop was off of Lakeside Drive and Outlet Creek.  Greeted by a couple of Turkey Vultures, I found a shady spot and enjoyed my picnic lunch while watching them.  Watching them watch me, that is!

Steider Studios.RWBlackbird female.7.13.16

I watched the birds at water’s edge … what’s better than a female Red-winged Blackbird?

Steider Studios.RWBlackbird fe with bug.7.13.16

A female Red-winged Blackbird with SNACKS of course!

Steider Studios.Dragonfly on flower.7.13.16

My focus went to Dragonflies as they were everywhere!

Steider Studios.Dragonfly Duo on Reed.7.13.16

I saw several varieties including these acrobats hanging out on reeds.  My shots of  red dragonflies turned out too blurry to share!

Steider Studios.Fly on Pink Flower.7.13.16

Other insects buzzed about including this one as well as a variety of butterflies.

Steider Studios.Killdeer.7.13.16

A Killdeer foraged for food at the waters edge.

Steider Studios.Sandpiper Pair.7.13.16

Then I noticed a pair of Sandpipers across from me.

Steider Studios.Spotted Sandpiper.7.13.16

And a Spotted Sandpiper ran across the grassy-covered mud right in front of me!

Steider Studios.Canada Geese.7.13.16

When the Canada Geese took off I decided it was time for me to do the same.  Can’t wait to go back!!

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16.16

June’s bird outing with the ‘Bird Nerds’ began north of Trout Lake.  We found one of my favorites, a Lazuli Bunting along with a surprising number of other species.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16

Cedar Waxwings were plentiful and not necessarily a surprise.  We also saw or heard Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Western Wood Pewee, Violet-green Swallow, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, a Western Tanager and many more.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16.16-2

A CATBIRD was definitely a surprise for me.  I didn’t know they were in our area!  Last year one of our members, John heard one in Hood River’s Powerhouse Corridor but this is my first sighting!

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Half our group headed for Glenwood and were delighted to find this White-headed Woodpecker feeding her young.

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You know I took a gazillion photos ~ there are at least two in the nest, a boy & a girl.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-16

As long as we were in Glenwood we took a little hike at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge where we found Eastern Kingbirds including one sitting on a nest!!

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We watched this Red-breasted Sapsucker delivering lunch to a nest cavity that we watched last year.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-5

Birds ate from feeders in front of the headquarters office while this Black-chinned Hummingbird buzzed about.

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Our group parted ways leaving me to drive a couple of my favorite Glenwood routes.  The song of Red-winged Blackbirds was everywhere.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-2

There was no traffic on a Sunday afternoon, so I drove the refuge perimeter leisurely.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-9

I found a large Wood Duck family.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-8

Mama kept the ducklings swimming away from me.

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I pretended not to care.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-14

I found many more Eastern Kingbirds.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-15

I also found Western Kingbirds.  I think this is a young one.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-12

I saw a lot of fledglings including this Western Bluebird.

Steider Studios.Bird Walk.6.12.16-13

Here’s it’s parent, encouraging it.

It was a fabulous day leaving me with way too many photos to go through.  These are just a few of my favorites!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake NWR Canal.11.16.15

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.

Steider Studios.Otters at Mill Pond.11.16.15-4

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.

Steider Studios.Otters at Mill Pond.11.16.15-2

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.

Steider Studios.Otters at Mill Pond.11.16.15

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!  

Steider Studios.Otters at Mill Pond.11.16.15-3

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!!

Steider Studios.Laurel Roadl.11.16.15

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!

 

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15

Sunday I headed up to Conboy Lake NWR in Glenwood to help search, count and mark Oregon Spotted Frog egg masses.  Here’s why:  “Refuge-wide surveys have been conducted on Conboy Lake NWR since 1998. In that time, the population has experienced significant declines. Oregon spotted frogs have declined range-wide as well and are gone from the majority of historic sites. As a result, the species is now federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We continue to monitor the population on the Refuge through egg mass surveys to help us make better management decisions and evaluate efforts we have previously made.”

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-7

Plus I like being on the refuge and I like the people I’ve met up there.  Here are a couple of Spotted Frogs, one with a reddish cast.  Aren’t they cute?!!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-2

It was a beautiful blue-sky day that started with a misty morning over Conboy Lake.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15

Wearing waders, we headed out into the lake looking for egg masses.  What’s that you ask?  Let me show you!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-8

They were mostly underwater, jelly-like clear’ish balls with a black dot in the middle of each and clustered together.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-15

Oh look, another!  I did not find any, but the other volunteers found many.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-3

The beautiful Mt. Adams always in our line of sight watched over us.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-12

Just like a search and rescue line, we walked a grid, back and forth across the marshy lake.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-6

I learned so much from Lisa, the refuge manager and her crew.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-4

Here are some of the crew consulting.  Other refuge managers, biologists, volunteers…and me with my camera.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-14

At each sighting we planted a flag with the number, date and amount then marked it on GPS.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-5

The mist rose, we continued our march and I marveled at all I was learning through my many questions.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-15

The egg masses with a black dot are stage One.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-17

When the black dots change to ovals, they are stage two.

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-2

Not versed in all the stages, you know the end – they become FROGS!!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-7

Every once in a while we’d stop to help a mass get back in the water.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-16

If the mass was stuck on grass above the waterline it had to be gently released so the eggs stay in the water and survive.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-18

A couple of times we’d find a mass that had to be moved to a wetter environment.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-20

Then off we’d trudge, looking for the next egg mass.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-9

A few frogs hid under the debris below the water’s surface.  See him?

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-21

Neither did I, but I saw this one!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-11

This is a mass of Tree Frog eggs, not what we were looking for, but it was MY find!!  Having never seen them before, I think they looked farther along than the Spotted Frog egg masses.

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-6

Adding to my excitement we even SAW a tree frog!!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-23

Back to work.

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Oh no, we found a Bullfrog!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-22

We found a high dry spot and grabbed some lunch under the sun.  It’s really hard to sit down when wearing waders.  I thought you’d want to know.

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-3

After lunch we found more eggs….

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-19

…and left more flags behind….

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-4

…recorded more information….

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-8

…and saw a few more frogs!!

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-9

Here’s a better view of this cute fella with a reddish cast.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-13

By afternoon a thick swarm of bugs descended.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake.3.8.15

I suppose I could Photoshop the bugs out of this otherwise beautiful scene.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake.3.8.15-2

Or this one.

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-5

Oh look, another egg mass!

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-10

Lisa and her crew still seemed peppy as I ran out of steam and headed back towards shore.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-25

Our ride seemed farther away than the distance I wanted my hefty backpack to stay on my body.  I took all my lenses, ‘just in case’.

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-10

I figured I could find some birds to photograph near the truck while Lisa’s crew continued working.

Steider Studios.Conboy Lake Frogs.3.8.15-26

Alas I trudged too slowly and they caught up with me.

Steider Studios.Frogs.3.8.15-11

One last Spotted Frog, a baby that we found at our last stop of the day enroute back to refuge headquarters.

Thanks so much Lisa, for letting me come along to document and learn.  I had a great time, as usual a very fun day on the refuge!

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