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A Sizzling Summer

August 9, 2014

Steider Studios.Please Don't Eat the Cosmos1

I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since my last post!  This summer is flying by faster than ever and I am barely keeping up.  My garden is overrun… with weeds and deer.

Steider Studios.Kilnload of WallPockets.8.7.14My studio is working overtime catching up with orders. I’m having a run on recycled glass wall pocket vases at the moment ~ you can see the finished versions here.

Steider Studios.Elk with Babies

Since the first day of summer I’ve traveled to Conboy National Wildlife Refuge often to find Sand Hill Cranes, Elk, Otters, Waterfowl and any wildlife that presents itself to me…

Steider Studios.Treasure on the Beach

I’ve learned to use LightRoom for my photo processing and management; celebrated my sweet girl Treasure‘s 7th BirthDay and my BFF’s 60th!  I’ve had lunch, dinner, coffee and wine with friends over the last 7 weeks…

Steider Studios.Rowena Fire.8.7.14

…I’ve had brush removed from my property for fire protection by a 6 man crew that knocked it out in three days!  We seem to have wildfires near us every summer now.  This wildfire is almost out At Rowena Oregon, across the Columbia River From Lyle WA where I watch eagles and osprey.

Steider Studios.Family at Long BeachI went on a very fun multi-generational family vacation across Western Washington exploring only a fraction of what my state has to offer, including a ride up the Space Needle for the first time and a drive on the beach at Long Beach!

Steider Studios.Baby Osprey Stretching Wings

I continue to check on several families of Osprey along the Columbia River.  The babies have grown up so fast.  I was shocked at the rate of growth in the 10 days that I missed while in Alaska.

Steider Studios.Moose in Denali.2014

Yes, I was in Alaska teaching for Half Moon Creek for the 4th time.  My 4th visit to Alaska was magical and deserves a post…no, several posts just to show you how beautiful Alaska is and how much fun we had.

I have volunteered for Columbia Arts, managed my way through the relaunch of my sales site, Zibbet

Steider Studios.Group Hike to Bird Creek Meadows.

…and formed new friendships with a new hiking group while traversing Bird Creek Meadows!

In short, I have not been able to make myself sit at the computer while the sun shines and I can play outside!  I’ll try to get my Alaska Adventure up soon for you to dream up your own Alaskan Adventure.  It’s one of those places that I wish everyone could experience.  I am already working on getting back there!

Steider Studios:  Osprey Entering Nest

The Columbia River Gorge is filled with magnificent birds, but for today my focus is the Osprey.  I’m regularly watching ten nests dotting the Columbia River between Bingen and Lyle with an occasional foray over to Oregon’s side of the river to watch a few more.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Flying Overhead.6.9.14

Like most other things – the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.

For example, I had no idea they were hawks!  I wondered how much longer I would have to wait to see baby Osprey.  Did they mate for life?  These and other pressing questions led me to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Nest over Columbia River

Osprey build their nests in open areas on tall snags, treetops or artificial platforms.  Most of the nests I’m watching are over water on channel markers and pilings or near the water on utility poles.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Still Building Nest

Ospreys build their nest with sticks – I’ve watched them carry sticks that look like branches.  The nests are lined with bark, grass and assorted findings to make a comfy abode for the family.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Bringing Fish to Family

Osprey eat fish.  99% of their diet is live fish.  They carry their ‘catch’ head first for less wind resistance.

Steider Studios:  After Splash

I’ve watched them pluck fish out of the river but didn’t know they can dive up to three feet to catch it!

Steider Studios:  Osprey FishingThis guy came up empty ‘handed’, but they average at least one catch for every 4 tries.

Steider Studios:  Osprey At it Again

They live 15 to 20 years and mate for life or until one dies.  Osprey lay 1 – 4 eggs that hatch on separate days, the first chick emerging up to five days before the last one.  The incubation period is 36 to 42 days and nesting period is 50 – 55 days.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Still Building Nest

Nesting Ospreys defend only the immediate area around their nest rather than a larger territory; they vigorously chase other Ospreys that encroach on their nesting areas.  I’ve also seen them chase Bald eagles away from their nest area!

Steider Studios:  Osprey Leaving for Nest Building

“After the 1972 U.S. DDT ban, populations rebounded, and the Osprey became a conservation success symbol. But Ospreys are still listed as endangered or threatened in some states—especially inland, where pesticides decimated or extirpated many populations. As natural nest sites have succumbed to tree removal and shoreline development, specially constructed nest platforms and other structures such as channel markers and utility poles have become vital to the Osprey’s recovery.”  To learn more about Osprey and other birds go to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds.

Prior to 1972, the average American consumer was told that DDT was safe to use.  There are many chemicals on the market today that we’re told are safe to use.  Over the last twenty years I’ve quit using any of them and my garden has filled with an abundance of birds, butterflies, bees and more.  If you want more colorful flying beauties in your life it’s simple to eliminate weed and bug sprays from your habitat.

Good Birding Karma

May 23, 2014

Steider Studios:  Barred Owl

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!!

Steider Studios:  Owl Taking Off

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.

Steider Studios:  Barred Owl

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.

Steider Studios:  Heron at Rowland Lake 5.20.14

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

Steider Studios:  Heron in Flight at Rowland Lake

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

Steider Studios:  Osprey Above

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.

Steider Studios:  Eagle in Treetop

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.

Steider Studios:  Pileated Woodpecker with Baby

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.

Steider Studios:  New lens first photo

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!

Steider Studios:  Chickadees

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!!!

Steider Studios:  Osprey mating.1

While preparing for the upcoming Wine and Pear Festival, I decided to take a break early Tuesday morning.  I am so happy that I did.

Steider Studios:  Osprey mating.2

I left at o dark thirty to check up on the eight Osprey nests that I watch along the Columbia River and arrived at this one just in time.

Steider Studios:  Osprey mating.3

I am thrilled that I captured a series of photos from this pair (that I haven’t finished going through yet because I am my own task master.  There is an event coming up rather quickly, after all!)

Steider Studios:  Osprey mating.4

The Columbia River Gorge is a magical place to live, filled with wonders of nature around every bend in the river.  Many of my images will be available in my booth this weekend as greeting cards and prints on metal.  Some of them are available via Zibbet and Artfire ~ I will add more images after my last art show of the season.  This set of images will definitely be included in my next order!

Steider Studios:  Osprey mating5

My adventure on Tuesday ended just as magically as it began.  Have a great weekend everyone & if you’re at the Wine and Pear Festival, let me know that you read my blog!  Come see my newest work!!

 

Celebrating Summer

June 26, 2013

Steider Studios:  Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls

I celebrated the first weekend of summer, my favorite time of year with my East Coast ‘sister-cousin’.  We traversed the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls on our way home from PDX along the Old Highway.

Steider Studios:  Classic Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Most people stop at the huge parking lot in the center of Interstate 84 and only see the classic, Multnomah Falls.

Steider Studios:  Thimbleberry

Thimbleberry

We took our time, looking for wildflowers, rocks, moss and more.

Steider Studios:  Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

As we hiked, we caught up on family news, made our plans for the weekend and simply enjoyed each other.

Steider Studios:  Columbia River

Columbia River

The sun was out on a windless day, making the Columbia River as still as a lake.

Steider Studios:  Oregon Swallowtail at Rowena Crest

Oregon Swallowtail at Rowena Crest

The following morning we bought from artists and farmers at Saturday Market, then a quick venture downtown Hood River for purchases including books, cards and souvenirs just as shops opened.  By 10:30 am we were at the top of Rowena Crest trying to capture butterflies and birds with our cameras.

Steider Studios:  View from Rowena Crest

Columbia River from Rowena Crest

I wanted to show my sister-cousin both sides of the river that I call home and she wanted to see as much wildlife, birds and wildflowers as we could find.

Steider Studios:  Seagull over Columbia River

Seagull over Columbia River

We were on a mission to find Osprey nests along the Columbia.  While searching, we practiced on other birds.

Steider Studios:  Osprey at Wind River

Osprey at Wind River

We found a nest at Doug’s Beach and listened to the osprey pair calling to each other.  A game officer sent us down the river in search of several nests but this one near Wind River was our lucky find of the day.

Steider Studios:  Two Ospreys in a Nest

Two Ospreys in a Nest

…or I should say it was the best find of our day.

Dog Creek Falls

Dog Creek Falls

On our way home we stopped at Dog Mountain Creek to photograph the falls.

Steider Studios:  Lorquin's Admiral butterfly at Dog Mountain Creek

Lorquin’s Admiral butterfly at Dog Mountain Creek

….and found this Lorquin’s Admiral butterfly flitting among the rocks and creek!

Steider Studios:  Wildflower at Cooks Waterfall

Great Hedge Nettle

…and some pretty wildflowers.

Steider Studios:  New Husum Falls

Husum Falls

Our last stop was Husum Falls to see how it looks after the Condit Dam removal on the White Salmon River.

Steider Studios:  Garden Chairs 6.22.13

West Bank Garden at Steider Studios

We arrived home in time to catch a few garden shots before our fabulous dinner at Romul’s in Hood River.

Steider Studios:  Mallow 6.22.13

Pink Mallow

Our final morning, spent in the garden enjoying bird songs and color.  I love my garden this time of year, filled with flowers, birds and butterflies.

Steider Studios:  Hidden Hummingbird

Hidden Hummingbird

My sister-cousin wanted photos of hummingbirds and I think she caught a few.  I’ve planted many flowering shrubs and flowers that hummingbirds like.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

I already miss you sister-cousin, can’t wait until next time…..

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