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.
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.

Another Spring Visit to the Japanese Garden, April 2022

Another nice thing about visitors (besides: visitors!) is that we get to return to some favorite local spots, perhaps sooner than we would have on our own. I’m always ready to visit the Japanese Garden; every time is different, and I find new ways to be amazed by its magical intersection of natural beauty and thoughtful design. Catching my eye this time: the bonsai collection (recently moved out from their winter protection), fresh looks at some of the design features, and the continuing spring color show.

You can read Nancy’s reflections about this day on her blog.

(Click any of these sample images to go to the full gallery.)

Wisteria Bonsai
The Bridge
Japanese Camellia

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, April 2022

The Tualatin River NWR is another regular outing for us: close to home, with plenty of seasonal variation. On this visit the first signs of spring were evident, and many migrating waterfowl we’d seen over the winter were still on site. In another few weeks, the trails that close during nesting season will re-open, and I’m sure we’ll be back there soon.

Nancy wrote about this visit on her blog.

(Click on the image to see a gallery of my photos.)