Showing posts from March, 2015

Cape Lookout.

I have lived in Oregon for over 13 years and had never hiked the cape trail at Cape Lookout until yesterday.  Shame on me.  The only way I can make up for this oversight is to strongly encourage you to go out there now!  Gray whales are migrating through and many hug the cape as they travel since it sticks out so far.  Plus the trail is a delightfully muddy mess filled with blooming trilliums and violets. 

Varied Thrush collecting fees at the trailhead

Tree roots seem to be the only thing keeping the whole place from washing away in a chocolatey muddy soup.

We spotted whales from almost every opening in the trees along the 2.5 mile hike to the tip. 

There were also Common Murres, Surf Scoters, all three cormorants, Western Gulls, and Horned Grebes out on the water.  From the forest a neverending chorus of Pacific Wrens and Golden-crowned Kinglets dominated, occasionally accompanied by Red Crossbills, Wrentits, Varied Thrushes and Brown Creepers. 

Common Murres

 Gray whale tail

Sea lion


Everyone loves their patches.  This is a fact.  Look at this tiny Mallard patch.  What's not to love?

I kid.  Patches are to be taken seriously.  Last week I returned to my old patch, Force Lake, over in North Portland to check out the scene.  It always feels so comforting to return, to step carefully over the needles, to kick the condom wrappers off the trail, and hope like hell no one is having relations in the foliage. 

Sketchiness aside, I still love this little spot.  Sometimes random ducks that normally stick to the far side of the pond come swimming over to check me out. 

Northern Shovelers.  I love them so much and they rarely love me back, but these two were so confiding it was awesome. 

Look at that happy shoveler.  Now look at him again, because you can:

Look at them lamellae.  

Force Lake seems to attract more Redheads than any other Portland spot.  I had a pair while I was there, but soon there will be more than eBird wants you to admit.

Mucky ducks.

Unmucky ducks. 


Ridgefield NWR, etc.

Oh, man, last weekend was brutal.  I woke up in the middle of the night Friday night with the worst food poisoning I've ever had and it lasted through Sunday afternoon.  Cramps, chills, fever, all that fun stuff.  It did not help that I would occasionally look at OBOL only to find I was missing out on Mountain Bluebirds and a Loggerhead Shrike.  Curses!

Monday morning I woke up to rain but I just had to get out of the house.  I figured a drive around the auto tour at Ridgefield would keep me dry and ease me back into life.

The rain stopped completely soon after I arrived.  A nice surprise.

I noted a couple of the young white-tailed deer with fresh and ridiculous ear tags...

It's hard to like these deer knowing they are the reason you don't see coyotes at Ridgefield anymore.

Yellowlegs have arrived are busy slurping wormies and things...

There was even a Lesser Yellowlegs in the mix...

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs

It's impossible to dislike snipe. 

So I noticed this beav…

Recent birds.

One time when we were kids, my brother got himself wedged in a tree in our front yard in a most uncomfortable manner.  There were tears.  My dad, of course, ran inside to get the camera before helping him get unstuck.

I was reminded of this fine April day in 1979 (okay, I was reminded of the photo, I was 8 months old at the time) when I found a Gadwall in a similarly stuck situation yesterday at Shillapoo Wildlife Area.

How this happened I can only guess.  I took that lesson from my dad and shot off some photos before figuring out how to help this struggling duck.  The problem was that the tree was in water and I had no idea how deep it was.  I put my assistant Jake back in the car along with my camera and wallet, and returned to the scene ready to get wet. This is what the area looks like:

 I was standing at the very edge, about to put my foot in the water when the duck finally gained the motivation to try harder.  He wriggled and flapped and boom, shot the heck out of there and int…