Monday, May 29, 2023

Why Should I Move West?

 As we have retired and continue to age, our children would like us to be closer.  However, the eldest lives in Brooklyn, NY and the youngest lives in western Oregon.  If we moved to the Portland area, we would be closer to both:  one, physically closer and the other closer because the airport is there.   We've seriously considered it, but we like where we are, where we have lived as a couple for 45 years in the same house.  And I keep thinking about the countryside, where we often drive---I always with my camera.  This past weekend of our 45th anniversary, we took drives on three days.  The last one was the longest--maybe 20 miles to the north and in a big loop.  

This wild rose was growing on the ground beside the road, the only one I saw all day.

Balsamroot flowers are blooming everywhere .

This was a highlight of the drive: Crimson Columbine flowers in a group, being visited by the first Swallowtail butterfly of the season. 

I never drive by this aspen grove without taking photos. 

Amazing view looking east across the countryside to the Wallowa Mountains in the next county. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

From Birds to Dogwoods

 Each year, I drive across the mountains to Walla Walla to photograph the dogwoods in Pioneer Park.  It's always a special time for me.  My husband and I wander  from tree to tree and then to the beautiful aviary in the park.  There are only 3 white dogwood trees; I wonder if they just don't do as well there are the pink ones. 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

More Birds....the Transitory Type

 Spring often means the migrating birds stop for a while.   The White Pelicans generally stay in the area most of the summer, finding quiet sheltered streams or wide bends in the Grande Ronde River.  As for Sandhill Cranes, there are nesting sites south of here on a large marshy wildlife preserve.  This is the first time I've seen the cranes nearby.  When I photographed them, I noticed the bands on their legs. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife will have the details there. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Spring Means the Return of Special Birds

As I compose this post, it is alternating between snow and sunshine outside; some nearby communities had inches of snow this morning.  We escaped that snow.  We keep asking when some warmth will arrive. Birds are one sign of spring....birds that left when it got cold last fall.  We can usually mark our calendars for the arrival of osprey pairs and for hummingbirds.  For 30+ years, an osprey pair have returned to a nest high above the high school football field during spring break, which is the last week of March.   Several osprey nests have been established in other areas of this valley and the adjoining one.  These birds winter separately in Central America and fly back within a day of each other. 

This is "Courtney" of the "Brooks and Courtney" pair.  They are named for the intersection of country lanes where their nest was built on a platform.  Look at the varied materials around the nest....the blue baling twine can be deadly for chicks when they fledge. 

This is "Jack" and "Diane" ...birds that nest literally in the back yard of my sister and brother-in-law's home.  They installed the pole and the platform 5 years before birds chose it. In the 5 years since,they have raised 2 or 3 chicks each year (chicks who are given names but are actually indistinguishable from each other.)


This Rufous male was the first to the feeder this year and he hung around for two hours.  The cold weather has to be so difficult for these little hummers. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Please, Can We Have Spring?

 For some reason, this winter seems to have lasted longer than usual; it's not unusual for snow in late March, but we had snow and rain and cold.   Today it was actually 74 degrees!  Tomorrow, the high will be in the 40's.  The landscape has been so colorless, so I've been looking for some signs of spring. As of April 10th, I've found promising signs. 

Muscari (grape hyacinths)

The first sighting of a ladybug


Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Blue Heron

 I have always tried to capture a heron with my camera....they are unbelievably shy, however.  That's why this particular series was special for me on a drive recently.  I've given up on finding the bird in water, but I often see them in open fields, where they are hunting gophers.  

This bird reminds me of the Stealth Bomber when it starts its flight.  

Monday, February 27, 2023

A Snowy Drive in the Grande Ronde Valley

     This hawk is contemplating Mt. Fanny, whose peak is hidden in fog.

Cove Episcopal Ascension Chapel in tiny Cove, Oregon