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My first field trip during Winter Wings was with Paul Bannick in and around the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

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I paid close attention to his every word in yesterday’s workshop, so my camera was ready and I was ready!

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About a dozen photographers had plenty of room to spread out in our school bus that took us to the first eagle sighting.

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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.

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It was difficult to choose which images to share out of the many I took.

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The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge was amazing in spite of overcast skies and threat of rain.

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We watched swans and geese take off and land, especially after an eagle ‘fly by’.

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There were literally thousands of Tundra Swans and Greater White-fronted Geese.

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Tundra Swans are another of my favorites.

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We saw a few Sandhill Cranes and lucky us, we caught them dancing!

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I didn’t count the Bald Eagles but they were plentiful … and as usual in a group, fighting over food.

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There were also thousands of Snow Geese.

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They were especially sensitive to eagle fly overs and took off at every sighting of a Bald Eagle.

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They usually landed not too distant from where they left.

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Looks like a pair of Tundra Swans having some alone time away from the group.

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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.

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There was a plethora of Red-tailed Hawks floating in the sky for us to capture.steider-studios-field-trip-bannick-2-17-17-18

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.

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To my delight we also found a Rough-legged Hawk!  I am getting to know this raptor quite well.

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Another Red-tail ~ a juvenile that hasn’t fully developed his red tail yet.

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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.

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He stood there posing for a bit then ran off with a glance over his shoulder.

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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.

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We noticed Barrow’s Goldeneye in the river as we watched the herons…

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…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.

Christmas Bird Count ~ 2016

December 23, 2016

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I participated in the Lyle Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, a snowy gray cold day.  It was near 20º when we started at 7:25 and the same when we ended at 16:45 with 6 – 12″ of snow on the ground where we hiked.

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In addition to birds, we found a gorgeous BOBCAT and a Western Gray Squirrel!  I wasn’t fast enough with my camera for either.

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The only raptors we saw were 9 Bald Eagles and 9 Red-tailed Hawks.

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We saw lots of waterfowl: 100 Lesser Scaup, 1 Common Goldeneye, 2 Barrow’s Goldeneye…

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…6 Green-winged Teal, 12 Northern Shovelers, 16 Ring-necked Ducks,

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19 Bufflehead, 6 Northern Pintails, 6 Double-crested Cormorants,

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2 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Pied-billed Grebes, 4 Horned Grebes, 59 Western Grebes,

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90 Gadwall, 170 American Wigeon, 38 Mallards, 133 Canada Geese and 958 American Coots!

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We saw 4 Killdeer, 6 American Pipits,

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1 Glaucous-winged Gull, 2 Belted Kingfishers,

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5 Collared Doves, 6 Rock Pigeons, 3 Mourning Doves, 2 Anna’s Hummingbirds,

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278 Dark-eyed Juncos, 9 Black-capped Chickadees, 3 White Breasted Nuthatches,

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14 California Quail, 8 Lewis’s Woodpeckers, 4 Downy Woodpeckers, 21 Northern Flickers,

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3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 15 Golden-crowned Kinglets,  1 Hermit Thrush, 16 Varied Thrush,

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21 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 78 European Starlings, 43 American Robins, 12 Song Sparrows,

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13 Spotted Towhees, 7 Steller’s Jay, 47 Scrub Jays, 2 Crows, 14 Ravens,

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2 White-crowned Sparrows, 44 Golden-crowned Sparrows, 19 House Finches, 133 House Sparrows,

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62 Red-winged Blackbirds, 4 Brewer’s Blackbirds, and 18 Bohemian Waxwings!

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The last and best of the day were the Bohemian waxwings we found…

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…dining on crabapples.

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The rest of the flock was perched in a neighboring birch tree, high in the branches.

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I am thrilled that I captured better photos of these beautiful birds after seeing them in Trout Lake a couple of weeks ago!  A long but fun day with great people!!

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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.

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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!”.

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I ended up seeing two and hearing at least 2 others in the distance.

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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!!

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As long as I was above Horsetail Falls I decided to hike in to Ponytail Falls.

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-7It was by now lunch time and a bit crowded, so I creatively eliminated people from my viewfinder.

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-8From inside the cave….

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-11Heading back down the trail…

Steider Studios.Pika.Horsetail.8.10.16-9Another beautiful day in the Columbia River Gorge…

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I watched for more Pika all the way back down, but I think they were in Siesta Mode.

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I DID see a Robin!

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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.

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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.

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Here’s my little Pika friend again for your enjoyment.  Did I already say I love these little critters?!

Worth It

July 28, 2016

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Heading down I decided to stop at the stream that feeds Coopey Falls and found some stacked rocks that someone kindly left me.

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A tiny bit further I followed a lesser trail to view the stream cascading over some rocks at the top of Coopey Falls.

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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).  Steider Studios.AngelsRest Hike.7.28.16-7

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!

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A beautiful sunset last night closed out the month of May.  It was full of hard work, but also full of adventure and good friends.

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Yesterday my friend & neighbor Katie popped in with a trunk full of tools to help me repair my veggie garden fence.  After we finished I started planting this years crop.  Today I’ll buy more seeds and finish – I can already taste those yummy fresh veggies – an assortment of lettuce, zukes, cukes, carrots, and more!  Below the veggies are grapes and blackberries.

Slash pile burning

My giant ‘Slash Pile Burn‘ Fuel Reduction project through Department of Natural Resources is finally finished with paperwork submitted!  That was a long, hard, cathartic project, and I’m glad it’s done!  Yay ME!!  The image above is my friend Eileen who came up one morning & helped with her husband Jim.

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My fabulous ‘Gorge Glass Girls’ (Leila, Terri, Charlene, Kathy and Carolyn (who isn’t in this shot, but also an instigator),  gave me a wonderful gift:

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They hired young men from ‘Wings’ to help bring up firewood from my now-cleared and burned forest.  These sweet, polite and respectful, hard-working young men – under the direction of Walt – brought up firewood from the farthest point of my property to the woodpile outside my back door.  They cut branches into wood-stove lengths and stacked as much as they could in a day.  Image above shows the remaing piles of firewood and I have all summer to leisurely haul it up.

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My friend Nancy & I have been out on several photo adventures, looking for wildlife.  While chasing down a lead for a Wood Duck family we found a Hooded Merganser family!

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We went to Ridgefield NWR, one of our favorite spots to photograph birds.

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We went to Conboy Lake NWR for a day where we ran into friends who showed us a Red-breasted Sapsucker nest – can’t wait to go back and photograph babies!!

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And we went to Crystal Springs to watch Wood Ducklings learn how to be a duck.

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I’ve also traversed the Columbia River watching my favorite little owl family grow up…..I plan to write a post on their progress from when I first found them.

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As I worked in my back woods all these months, I’ve watched more birds come to my now-open forest, like this Pileated Woodpecker;

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and Western Tanager.

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Now with most of my hard work finished, I plan to spend more time at Conboy Lake NWR watching for baby elk, baby birds, and maybe even see a baby otter this year!!  You’ll find me along the Columbia River checking all the Osprey and Woodpecker nests that I find.  And anywhere else that looks like a promising adventure!

Good Birding Karma

May 23, 2014

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I’ve had a fantastic week of birding!  After a very successful weekend at the Wine and Pear Festival, I took off Monday for the Tualatin Hills Nature Park because a friend shared his  photos of a Pileated Woodpecker family!  Thank you again Bob!!

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A HUGE bonus was my very first sighting of a Barred Owl!  It looked like a big fluffy teddy bear and I was mesmerized.  My friend Nancy and I couldn’t believe our good luck (that we now refer to as good birding karma) with how long he let us watch him.

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I went back later in the week hoping to find him again but did not.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker Three Babies

Our main event, the Pileated Woodpecker pair and their three babies gave us a wonderful viewing and photograph opportunity.  We met a few other photographers who had also heard about this nest high in a snag towards the center of the park.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker Family

We watched for several hours, waiting about 45 minutes between feedings.  I had major lens envy knowing that my new Tamron 150 – 600 mm lens was in transit and I’d have it soon.  But I needed it today!

Steider Studios:  Eagle vs Raven at Rowland Lake

Tuesday I went to Rowland Lake – I ran out the door, camera in hand before my husband finished telling me about the heron family, bald eagle, pair of osprey and more birds that he saw that morning while fishing .  I arrived just in time to see a Bald Eagle being chased by a Raven.

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I watched two Great Blue Herons fishing at Rowland Lake but did not see the babies.

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I love the challenge of capturing any bird in flight and am very happy with this Great Blue Heron.

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I watched an Osprey grab a fish that seemed to big for him to carry right in front of me.  Shooting from behind a stand of trees, that photo was too blurry to keep.

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The Bald eagle ditched the Raven and perched atop a pine tree for about an hour.  Using my car as a blind I slowly rose up through my moon roof to capture him.   I was still thinking about that new lens I did not have yet, and how much closer I could get if I had it.

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Wednesday I went back to Tualatin knowing the baby woodpeckers would be leaving their nest any day.  I was hoping to see them fledge.  I was hoping to see the owl again.  Neither happened, but I met more photographers and had a thrilling time watching the feathered family.

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Thursday I helped a friend in her garden and when I arrived home, guess what?!!  My NEW LENS ARRIVED!!!  I tore open the box, attached the lens and went out to my garden.  This is my first shot, hand-held (wow is that thing heavy!) with no editing other than sizing.  Not a great photo, but I’m thrilled with the clarity and how much closer I can now photograph birds and wildlife!

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I ran in, checked the images then ran back out.  I’ve got a pair of Chickadees in the garden – building a nest or feeding babies?  The pair took turns flying into the nest, and I caught this image of the male arriving before the female departed.  I didn’t hear babies chirping so I’m wondering if they’ve hatched at all yet.  I cropped and down-sized this image but didn’t take time for any other edits.  If it were a ‘keeper’, I’d probably lighten it a bit.  I did use my tripod for a series of the chickadees flying in and out.

Tomorrow I’m heading east for a lead on another Pileated Woodpecker nest with babies.  Today I MUST catch up with studio business, household stuff and practice more with my new lens.  Or maybe just practice – can’t the other stuff wait a little longer?!!!

If you’d like to see more of my bird photography I post frequently on my Steider Studios Facebook page.  Many of my images are published into greeting cards, canvas wraps and metal prints available in my Artfire shop and my Zibbet shop.

You can also subscribe to my blog to get an email update each time I post by clicking the box in the column at the right, towards the top of this page.  I can’t wait to show you all the new photos I’m about to take with my new Tamron 150 – 600 zoom lens!!!

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