Neskowin and Cascade Head, August 2022

We headed out to Neskowin on the Oregon coast last week for a quick getaway, to escape the heat and celebrate our anniversary. It’s always a refreshing reset to listen to the surf, watch the changes of the tides and the play of fog along the coast, and just to see that flat horizontal line in the distance (although I did note the absence of islands).

After exploring the Ghost Forest and tide pools at low tide, we hiked nearby Cascade Head, a Nature Conservancy Preserve that I heard about last year from an elder friend who had worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry. It was an ambitious day, requiring more recovery time than in our younger days, but paying off with stunning views of another piece of the Oregon coastline.

Here are some pictures.

(Click the image to go to the full gallery.)

Proposal Rock

Backyard Blueberry Birds

When the blueberries are ripe, everybody comes to visit! Between the party in the berries and the usual neighborhood gang, this morning in our yard I saw:

  • House Finches
  • Mourning Doves
  • Song Sparrows
  • Spotted Towhees
  • Black-Capped Chickadees
  • American Robins
  • Black-Headed Grosbeaks
  • Northern Flickers
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Scrub Jays
  • American Crows

and a rabbit.

Click the image to go to a gallery of photos taken in our yard on 7/31/22.

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch

Who watches over you

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

They Might Be Giants

Milo McIver State Park, July 2022

Here are some photos from our day trip to McIver State Park near Estacada, exploring possible locations for camping with the grandkids.

Nancy wrote about this trip on her blog.

Keeping a watchful eye on all things.
I tried to photograph this Osprey in flight without success, before deciding to focus on the nest and wait. It still snuck up on me.
Cedar Waxwing
This Song Sparrow was singing its heart out, as they do.
Foxglove
Bedazzled Cow Parsnip

Urban Wetlands: Koll Center Wetlands (Beaverton) and Smith and Bybee Lakes (Portland), July 2022

When I have limited time for a nature walk and want to search out an interesting place to explore that’s close to home, I often end up at an urban wetland tucked away just off the beaten asphalt path. Here are some photos from two I’ve visited recently: Koll Center Wetlands in Beaverton, and Smith and Bybee Lakes in Portland.

(Click the image to go to the full gallery.)

Belted Kingfisher

Jackson Bottom, July 8, 2022

Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is a private-public partnership maintained by Hillsboro Parks and Rec, about 20 miles west of us. I first visited without a camera when I was in the neighborhood in April 2021, and returned with my new camera and my intrepid 10-year-old photo buddy on a cold foggy day in December. My recent visit was sunny and warm, with the waterfowl at a distance in the receding wetlands, and lots of fast moving birds in the foliage along the trail.

(Click the image to go to the full gallery.)

Tree Swallow birdhouse

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, June 2022

It was great to get back to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on a sunny and dry day with the seasonal trails open (except for the Kiva Trail where a Sandhill Crane pair had nested over the winter and hatched a colt). We parked at the Ridgefield Kayak Launch and walked into the Carty Unit to the Headquarters, and then back to the car for a circuit around the Auto Tour at the River S Unit. We saw amazing birds all along the way — and heard many more.

Nancy wrote about this trip on her blog.

(Click any image to go to the full gallery.)

Backyard Fledgling Crow, 6/4/22

Last year we had a crow’s nest in our front yard, and we were able to watch the entire process, from nest-building to fledge. This year, we didn’t spot the nest, but there was a crow pair coming and going from a neighbor’s fir tree in a familiar manner. Over the past couple days, we heard some different vocalizations from the pair, softer and shorter, calling out from low branches in the neighborhood. This morning, we watched this young crow in our backyard, hopping up on chairs and clumsily flapping back down, and ultimately working its way up to the top of the kids’ climbing structure, before taking a long inelegant glide to a distant raised bed.