Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mount St. Helens.

I decided there was no better way to celebrate a random Wednesday off than to go explore some new territory.  I've been to Mount St. Helens before, but only the south side, so today I ventured up to the north part.


Not too shabby.  It's not a super birdy area but I was in the mood for exploring, birds or no birds.  I did find this fancy butterfly on the way up:

Lorquin's Admiral...yes?

I stopped at the Forestry Learning Center which has a pretty sweet view...


Three ravens landed on the fence surrounding the viewing area.  At least one appeared to be juvenile but the light was terrible for photos.


They took off after a few minutes and made for some great aerial entertainment.  I got the feeling they were playing but I am no expert.





I stopped along a random gravel road and walked around for a few minutes before I noticed... CATERPILLARS! 


The ground and the trees were just smothered in tent caterpillars.  I could actually hear them in the trees, it was kind of creepy.



The worst part was when I got out of the car at the next stop and realized I had been sitting on one- it must have fallen from a tree and landed on my leg.  Gnarly.   Anyway, I did not stay at this viewpoint long because dogs were not allowed and the ground squirrels were making Ralph insane.


Super cute though.  On the way back from the dead end at Johnston Ridge I realized that the entire road was covered in smooshed caterpillars.  I stopped near one of the creeks and found the guardrails even covered. 


Sick.  The trees in the area make my eyes feel unfocused...


Of course before I left the area I forced the dogs into a pose in front of the volcano...


My last stop on my trip was at the Bigfoot store along the highway (oops, that's a lie, I stopped for a basket of Rainier cherries at roadside stand). 


Love it.  The parking lot had swallows zipping around and an Osprey calling overhead.  This one Violet-green fella was having trouble getting this feather into its nest area...


That was about it for my day... Good times!!


15 comments:

  1. Nice! So pretty up there. Those caterpillars are sure weird, but I imagine they make good bird food. We saw a family of ravens (4-5) at Steigwerwald today too. Is your black dog Ralph? He looks like he is yawning and so bored with this posing thing you make them do :)

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    1. Ha, yep they are both pretty bored with posing!

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  2. That guardrail shot is ridic.

    When I was doing bird work on the San Pedro River a couple years ago tent cats denuded vast stretches of the river's riparian belt....I wished the cuckoos would have arrived in time to do battle with them.

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    1. Yeah most of the trees in the area were barren except for the tents. Cuckoos, huh.. Any other birds that eat them? Ones that exist in Washington?

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    2. Robins do like themselves some worms. Do the Varied Thrushes up there go for caterpillars?

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    3. I have Cuckoos for rent...

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  3. So you should be getting some Cuckoos and Trogons soon for those caterpillars eh?

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    1. Can I put an order in with you? I'll take some hummingbirds too while you're at it.

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  4. I shuddering at the thought of all these caterpillars, Jen, but enjoyed your outing. Great series on the acrobatic ravens! and your dogs look really happy.

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  5. Great views Jen plus the arial acrobatics but you can keep the caterpillars.

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  6. Nice raven play pictures, awesome tail feathers - or lack of I should say. Sweet dog capture - I love their little faces all sheepish from posing. Those caterpillars totally gave me the heebie jeebies, sick!

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    1. Yeah I was actually curious about the tail and wing feathers that were missing- it seemed completely symmetrical.

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  7. WOW...what kind of moth/butterfly come from that...I guess I gotta google it. We get the Catawba Worms I guess its the same thing only Eastern...they strip the Wild Cherry in no time, but I dont really see them like we used to get them.
    LOVELY Landscape shots of the volcano....its recovered somewhat I guess, looks nice n green around it. My dogs are the same way they hate paparazzi..but will do anything for a doggie snak!!

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  8. Love the first shot of Mount St. Helens! We took a little side trip there a few years ago when we were visiting Hood River~but when we arrived you could only see about one foot in front of yourself due to the fog:)

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  9. Awesome shots of Mount St Helens. Those tent caterpilars are creepy and they kill the trees. I did hear that the Cuckoos love to eat the caterpillars. Looks like a buffet for the birds. Great outing and I love the shot of your dogs and the Green Swallow. Happy Birding and have a great weekend!

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