Hopefully, this will be my last post from Bend, Oregon as it is getting quite chilly here in the morning, temps in the low 20’s and even dipping into the teens once in a while. I’m getting tired of scraping heavy frost off the Prius’ windows before heading out to appointments in the morning and the 70 degree temperatures outside of Yuma are looking pretty good right now.
Wednesday is the first chemo treatment on my new bi-weekly schedule and if the numbers look right after that session, I plan to head south first thing Thursday morning. Was planning on driving down the California coast but with all the recent fires have decided to go inland down through Nevada.
The parking lots at the St. Charles Hospital have many decorative crabapple trees and birds other than the Cedar Waxwings appear to partake of the fruits of these trees.
In addition to the Waxwings, I have found Robins …
House Finches ( ? ) …
Goldfinches, and Northern Flickers hopping through the branches and picking off fruit..
The Waxwings, however, remain my favorite bird to chase here. A flock of around 30 birds frequents the area daily and I can just see them in the tops of the aspens up the road from my campsite. On weekends, when the hospital parking lots are mostly empty, when I see them fly in, I hop in the Prius and go out for some shots ( during the week, the parking lots are full and thus I can’t get the car anywhere near the trees where the birds are feeding, needing the car to serve as a blind as these guys are quite skittish ).
When the Waxwings get spooked from the trees near my campsite …
… by creatures such as this sinister looking predator, I can usually follow the flock’s flight to trees in a different parking lot …
…where they settle in the tops of taller trees and check for predators before descending to the crabapple trees to feed.
Crabapples are not the only food source around the many parking lots as this flock of Goldfinches demonstrate …
…dining on the fruit of the birch tree.
Hopefully, my next blog post will be from somewhere on the road in Nevada as I head south to the LTVA north of Yuma, Arizona.
I was sitting in my recliner reading yesterday when I happened to glance out the motorhome window and saw some birds bouncing around the branches of one of the decorative crabapple trees that line the entrance to the hospital parking lot. Being about a hundred yards away, I couldn’t tell what kind of birds they might be, but experience has told me that one of my favorite birds, the cedar waxwing, was most likely to be partaking of the bountiful small fruits that these trees were laden with.
So, I dug out my long camera lenses and hopped in the car to see if I might get a few shots of these beautiful birds. I chose to use the car so that I could use it as a blind, it’s not that I didn’t want to walk the short distance to the trees. And sure enough, my hunch was right … cedar waxwings! Unfortunately, these trees are completely out in the open with no kind of backdrop to shoot against, so all I could get were shots like the one above, a colorful bird against a bright white sky, certainly not the most desirable of shots.
So, I took a short drive around the hospital grounds, looking for more crabapple trees and waxwings. Only a couple hundred yards from my motorhome, I noticed a fair number of birds gathered at the top of a poplar and saw some of them flying down to a couple of crabapple trees to feed, then zipping back to the top of the poplar.
After a couple of false starts, I managed to position the car so that I was shooting with a hospital building serving as a background to the trees, and all I had to do was wait for the birds to choose a branch where I had an unobstructed view of them feeding.
As I stated previously, these birds are one of my favorites, love the distinctive black mask and the small dabs of brilliant color on the wings and tail.
I was a little disappointed that 80% of this small flock were apparently juveniles like the one above, not having fully achieved the distinctive coloration of the adult birds.
When downloading images to the computer of today’s shots, I found this image of a common nighthawk that I took last spring in the campground I stayed at when I visited Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. I couldn’t believe the bird remained still as I took these shots with a short lens, approaching to within six feet of the fence rail he was sleeping on. I didn’t need to get any closer and he was still relaxing there when I walked away after taking his picture.
The opportunity to get out and do some bird photography today was greatly enjoyed and makes me all the more anxious to get out of here and head south for the desert and hummingbirds, quail, and all the other birds that are waiting for me there.
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Early morning turkey hunt yielded a couple of shots down by the old barn in the park.
The day started out solidly cloudy but by 1 PM the skies were blue and the temps were again in the upper 80’s but without the nice breeze of the last couple of days.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
When I see these two guys strutting and dancing around with each other, I guess trying to impress the ladies, even when there are none in sight, I can’t help but think of the old Saturday Night Life routine of Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd, the ” two wild and craaaazy guys! ”
Walked into the Acorn Blind around 8 AM and did get a couple of new birds for me, the Nashville Warbler and the orange-crowned warbler. Not great images, but they are newbies.
This Lincoln Sparrow also was a new one to me.
Kind of an interesting pose for this cedar waxwing.
I know the Carolina Wren is a pretty common bird, but for some reason this tiny, hyperactive guy always gets me unable to resist snapping away.
And lastly, always an unwelcome visitor around a feeding station, this fox squirrel’s coloring warranted at least one shot. A pest, but an attractive one.
The campground has really emptied out this AM, but I went online while at the library to check on this coming weekend in case I wanted to stay and it is completely booked solid Friday and Saturday, a harbinger of what I am apt to run into everywhere this coming summer.
Went to the Junction Library to do some posts and check on end of month financial stuff, but really don’t enjoy attempting to get a PC to work properly. I’ll be glad to get somewhere with Verizon coverage soon.
Last night was a wonderful, star filled, cool night for sleeping with no intrusion by my neighbor’s spot lights. My thanks to the campground host who finally caught up with them and asked that they show some consideration for their neighbors.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
Out turkey hunting at 7 with no luck. Went down to the Acorn Blind and stayed until noon, getting a couple Black throated Hummingbird shots and another nice Cedar Waxwing shot, but nothing out of the ordinary for new birds.
As a younger man, I always kind of laughed to myself when I saw someone out gazing at the trees through a set of binoculars. Never could understand how anyone could enjoy the pursuit of birdwatching. Then I bought my first good long lens and snapped a few images of these little wonders, and before I knew it, I was addicted. Now it doesn’t seem so strange that people can get such a thrill out of this pasttime. I mention this only because I have just realized that I have become one of them. The two images immediately above kind of brought this realization around. I have gone from seeing these two birds and thinking, nice little yellow spotted birds, to recognizing them as yellow-rumped warblers, to actually seeing that they are two distinct races of yellow-rumped warblers. I still have to go home and get the images on the monitor and look them up in a bird book to know this, but I guess I am becoming a birdwatcher.
Checked on mail at the office and renewed for Sunday and Monday while awaiting my mail package from NH. Drove into Junction for some groceries and to check the library hours, turns out they are closed all weekend.
10 PM on another beautiful night and on comes the neighbor’s spotlight, fully illuminating my living room and bedroom. This after the campground host had told him to be a little more considerate and keep the lights off, especially on the driver’s side of his unit ( like all RVs, their exit door and outside living area are on the curbside of the unit ). Since I was inside watching TV, I decided to wait it out and maybe they would turn them off before I retired. 11:10 PM came and I walked over to their rig and knocked three times on their door. No response. Knock three more times and the wife comes to the door and asks what I want. I ask if they could turn off their spotlights since they have apparently gone to bed. She turns and walks away with no response. Really nice folks.
After 11PM, I am not about to wake the campground host to intervene once more, and with no cell phone coverage, I can’t call a park ranger, so I return to my rig and figure I will have to close up my motorhome, just like last week at Goose Island and turn on the AC, on a perfect, cool evening for sleeping. As I was ready to step into the RV, here comes the neighbor, aggressively striding across the space between our units, and obviously looking to start something. Not really wanting a confrontation, I almost went inside, but at the last moment turned and walked toward him. That kind of stopped his rapid progress toward me, but he came close enough to start cursing me out and wanting to know what my problem was. I stated the obvious to him, that his spotlights were completely illuminating my site once again, that I was aware he had been instructed not to do so again, and told him I would appreciate him just turning them off and let both of us get to sleep.
This guy had a manner about him that showed he was obviously some kind of aggressive control freak, and quite used to using intimidation to get his way. That someone challenged him on his behavior and that the campground host had actually told him he could not do something must have really stuck in his craw. I had to chuckle as he made his way back to his unit and had to shield his eyes against his own lights so he could see where he was going. The icing on the cake was when his other neighbor across the street from his unit ( and not really in direct line of his lights ) yelled out to him to shut the damn lights off!