March 2, 2017
On Saturday morning, my third day at Winter Wings Festival, I went on a field trip with Dick Ashford to improve my ability to identify raptors in the field. Lucky me, I was placed in the lead car with Dick!
After Friday’s classroom training, I was already far more confident in my ability to age Bald Eagles and identify various Buteos
Most of the raptors we saw were far away sitting in a field atop a pivot, or like these in flight far above our heads.
These were a pair of juvenile Bald Eagles, one chasing the other hoping to steal food. If you look close, you can see a rodent trapped in the front eagle’s talons.
We don’t know how it ended, they continued the chase until well out of sight.
I saw something move on the ground and look! More Coyotes!! This pair was hunting for rodents or perhaps small squirrels that race across the fields then dive into underground tunnels.
We saw several Rough-legged Hawks ~ aren’t they gorgeous?!!
And THEN I saw my first Ferruginous Hawk!! He didn’t stay long for this portrait.
Shortly after we arrived he took off in flight and of course I followed as best I could.
We saw a few more that day, but this was the only one close enough for me to get a good shot at.
We saw a few American Kestrels and they are always a challenge to capture because they’re so fast.
I was thrilled to keep this one mostly centered in my viewfinder until he landed….
….and then he let me take a portrait while he hunted from his wire perch.
We saw over 100 Bald Eagles. We tried to keep track of what we saw, but I didn’t hear the final tally.
We watched him fly closer to us…
…then he turned and flew away….
We moved on to find a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a post and Dick indulged me to grab this photo because the bird was right next to the road.
One of our last stops of the day was for this Great Horned Owl sitting in her nest. If you didn’t know she was there she’d be easy to miss.
Wherever Mama sits, Daddy is somewhere nearby and one of our participants spotted him right away. I went back another day but could not find him again.
Lucky us, our last sighting of the day was a Golden Eagle. Like any bird, he was not going to sit for us very long at this close distance, so in order for everyone behind the lead car to get a good look at him, we drove past him pretty fast after I took a few shots.
Sitting in the back seat, window down, driving fast over a very bumpy road I grabbed as many shots as I could while we drove by. This is a ‘drive-by-shooting’ in my world. I mostly got shots of his feet, his perch, and air ~ check out those talons! Lucky me, I also managed to capture this ONE shot. All in all it was an inspiring day filled with literally hundreds of raptors mostly in the Butte Valley and near the two refuges south of Klamath Falls, Tulelake and Lower Klamath.
Saturday’s keynote speaker was author and researcher Scott Weidensaul who shared his research on Snowy Owls and Project Snowstorm. Again my friend and I sat in the back row because there was no way we’d stay awake until the end of his talk after yet another full day that began too early. You guessed it…mesmerized by his talk, we stayed for his book signing because after hearing about Project Snowstorm we HAD to have his new book, “Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean” …with autograph of course!
Tomorrow will be our earliest wake-up call ~ 4:30am to get to our field trip on time….
February 28, 2017
I finally made it to the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls. There is so much to tell you I will have to break it up day by day.
My friend and I were only 50 miles from home when we had a wonderful portend of what was to come ~ a Rough-legged Hawk! It was early in the morning, dark, snowy and cold so we were lucky to have seen him.
The six-hour drive was easy with clear roads and mostly snow-free. As we arrived at Upper Klamath Lake we could see hundreds of swans basking in the sun.
We were ahead of schedule so decided to explore the swans a little more before registration.
They were magnificent! Sleeping, preening, swimming, eating and even chasing each other.
An eagle drew our attention when he landed on a post nearby.
…after we watched a Red-tailed Hawk fly over.
Paul’s class was fabulous. He asked each of us to state one thing we wanted to learn from him, then proceeded to discuss every single question raised and more. I couldn’t wait for our field trip the following day to put into practice everything I’d just learned……
Paul was also a captivating Keynote speaker that evening sharing experiences from his new book, “Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls“.
December 26, 2014
I love how this Great Blue Heron photo-bombed my Swan shot.
Today I went back to the Bingen Marina hoping for a couple of do-overs because my camera settings got skewed a couple of days ago and of course I didn’t notice.
But you know there are never do-overs in photography or life – only new opportunities!
New opportunities are always on my horizon. In one way or another.
Wasn’t it just 20 days ago I spoke of wanting more time.
I should have remembered that saying “Be careful what you wish for”.
Due to a family emergency, I cancelled all upcoming art shows and put my online shops on vacation.
I spent 10 days at Providence-Portland Medical-Center with a loved one.
I am full of gratitude that we are all on the road to recovery now, but what a nightmare it was.
I left thank you notes all over that hospital.
The RNs, CNAs, Docs, Food Service people, Cleaning Crew – even the Cafeteria Staff were enormously compassionate and kind to me and my family.
They are the ‘Earthly Angels’ among us.
Many heartfelt thanks also went out to family and friends who held us up in prayer and good thoughts. Sent daily (sometimes hourly) messages. Brought me food. Sent us a Christmas tree! I love you all!!
Back at the ‘Ranch’, I am trying to do nothing but enjoy precious time with my loved ones.
I’m thinking 2015 will be quite different from my usual mach speed, ‘say yes to everything’ way of working.
Not sure yet how I’ll accomplish that, but I look forward to giving it a try.
And it felt REALLY good to take a deep breath, get out in fresh air and back to nature with my camera just two days ago.
Wishing you & yours a 2015 that is everything you hope for.
January 1, 2014
I had a glorious ending to 2013 and a fabulous beginning to 2014 chasing eagles along the Columbia River. They congregate where the Klickitat River meets the Columbia River.
Fog has covered the river most days with sun breaks from time to time. I’ve been traversing the Columbia near Lyle daily this last week and plan to continue until the eagles are gone.
Today, eagle expert Tim Pitz led a small group of us on an ‘Eagle Outing’ along the Balfour trail from the Memaloose Tasting Room in Lyle. To our astonishment, this juvenile stayed perched on the trail while our group carefully and quietly made our way around her. Tim pointed out the blood still on her talons and her swollen crop indicating she had just eaten.
Prior to the event I was at the water’s edge looking for a Kingfisher that I recently discovered. He didn’t disappoint. I was lucky to see him dive in the water twice just after his call that sounds like maniacal laughter.
Here’s another shot of him from a few days ago when I first discovered him.
After today’s event the river had filled up with people fishing so I headed home. Stopped at the Bingen Marina in time to catch some geese flying off, but I saw no more eagles.
Yesterday I was lucky to catch this hawk flying. I’m told it’s a juvenile Red tail.
A couple days ago a juvenile bald eagle graced me with his presence.
The same day I was lucky to have this bald eagle fly right in front of me.
And this motley juvenile was the only eagle on the beach while I searched for the Kingfisher.
Yesterday a friend and I missed this heron hiding in a tree as we hiked by. Fortunately her husband pointed him out to us as we hiked back out!
The last few days have been amazing. I’m so lucky to live here, in the Columbia River Gorge. I can’t wait to see what unfolds tomorrow! And I really can’t wait until my new Tamron 150-600mm lens arrives!