June 28, 2018 Port Townsend, Washington

Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

Fawns, Flowers, and Whale Watching

Lounging Blacktail Bucks
Lounging Blacktail Bucks

Port Townsend has a large intown resident deer population, and some would say, a large intown deer problem. Click here and here for local news articles on these urban deer.

Blacktail Buck
Blacktail Buck

It is difficult to drive anywhere in the residential part of town without encountering these beautiful animals.

Backyard Grazing
Backyard Grazing

As a person that formerly maintained a large collection of perennials in gardens around my home and business, I can’t imagine what the folks here in Port Townsend have to put up with in trying to maintain their gorgeous landscaping.

Blacktail Mom and Twins
Blacktail Mom and Twins
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

As a tourist here, I enjoy being able to see and photograph these youngsters, there really are few animals as cute as these guys.

Blacktail Fawn
Blacktail Fawn
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

To the many serious gardeners here in Port Townsend, I am sure it’s a different story.

Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins
Blacktail Twins

These youngsters obviously can’t read that they are not supposed to be here.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

And here is the reason the inner city is so popular with all these deer, just an unlimited buffet of delectable gourmet deer food.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

Many gardeners in town have erected deer fencing in an effort to keep the deer out. Local ordinances limit the height of any fences to six feet, not an unsurmountable height for for some of these deer.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

A drive around town reveals some very impressive landscaping. I envy the ability to grow such a wide diversity of plants in this environment. The difference in available plant selection in Zone 4 where I gardened and here in Zone 8 is huge. Don’t envy them the challenge of growing some of these flowers amongst the deer herds though.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers

Some wonderful dogwoods in bloom right now.

Port Townsend Flowers
Port Townsend Flowers
Tree Bark
Tree Bark

Even the bark of some of the trees is photo worthy.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Whale Watching Trip on the Redhead

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

A four hour whale watching trip out of Port Townsend was a wonderful way to enjoy a beautiful calm and sunny day ( the only one here so far ).

Orcas
Orcas

The whale watching part of the trip was actually kind of disappointing …

Orcas
Orcas

… spotting only one lone Humpback Whale and one small pod of transient Orcas or Killer Whales.

Orcas
Orcas

Regulations require all boats to remain at least 200 yards from the Orcas and 100 yards from other whales and our captain certainly didn’t come close to violating those rules. I would say we never got within 500 yards of the Orcas, thats over a quarter of a mile away, meaning you could barely discern their large dorsal fins poking out of the water and certainly could not get any kind of decent images of their activity.

Container Ship
Container Ship

But spending four hours on the calm waters of Puget Sound on a nice day was a welcome change of pace for me and there were other interesting sights to see out on the water.

Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Fort Worden Lighthouse
Fort Worden Lighthouse

The Fort Worden Lighthouse is much more scenic from the water than it is from land.

I hope to remain here in Port Townsend through the 4th of July week and then will venture farther out onto the Olympic Peninsula after the holiday week, hoping I might then be able to find a place to stay.

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June 21, 2018 Samantha ( Sam )

Sam in Colorado
Sam in Colorado

Samantha

At the relatively young age of just twelve years and ten months, Sam has left Pearl and I on our own to continue on this trip. After a week of being in obvious pain, two trips to the vet to try and find a solution for that pain, I made the decision to let her her go, to suffer no more.

Sam
Sam

Though I have been through this nine times in the past, most recently with Jenny, just a little less than two years ago, it doesn’t get any easier with experience. Sam has had breast tumors, fatty or cancerous undetermined, for the past couple of years and has also experienced back problems a couple of times in the past.

A week ago, she acted like her back was out again, not wanting to move, and in obvious pain. Medications would help and bring her out of it for a few hours each day, but the majority of her time was spent hunched up and unwilling to move. Trying to get pills down her her throat would often get her screaming in pain when forcing her mouth open. After several days of hoping to see some progress in coming out of this as she usually would do when her back went out, it became evident that this was most likely not just her back being thrown out, and perhaps was a matter of cancer spreading through her body.

I always feel guilty about these decisions, trying to determine what is best for the dog, continuing to search for a possible way to extend life, and forcing her to deal with more pain, or ending her suffering when perhaps there could be a solution to the problem. Whichever way I go, I am always afraid I may have made the wrong choice.

Sam and Jenny
Sam and Jenny

Sam and Jenny were buddies for eleven years and seemed to very much enjoy the move from the house in New Hampshire to our mobile dwelling over five years ago.

Sam and Jenny
Sam and Jenny

The two were all but inseparable and truly enjoyed exploring new sights, sounds, and smells along the road.

Sam and Jenny
Sam and Jenny

Really not a terrible life for a dog that enjoys being with their owner pretty much 24 hours a day, every day of their life.

Sam and Jenny
Sam and Jenny

Sam never knew what a dog collar or leash felt like as she was perfectly trained by Jenny ( and a little by myself ) to always obey voice or hand commands, would always walk right on my heel when we were in parking lots or truck stops and would never think to get out of the car or RV without being told it was OK to do so. She was a very intelligent dog. My only complaint was that she left Pearl on her own a little too soon, she didn’t get to finish her training of the now Six month old pup, leaving the rest up to me, I suppose.

Sam on Hummingbird Patrol
Sam on Hummingbird Patrol

Sam only had about 18 months of being top dog, actually only dog, after Jenny’s passing. With my own diagnosis of an incurable cancer last year, her presence meant a lot to me, as I went through chemo and had someone there to come back to after each session.

Sam and Merle
Sam and Merle

She was always a loyal and faithful little dog, with just one exception, when I volunteered at a Fish and Wildlife Birding Station in Salineno, Texas one winter. There, she developed an infatuation with Merle, leaving me the impression that she might choose to go live with him, until Merle and Lois adopted a large Labrador and Sam decided that Jenny and I would actually be a better home for her after all.

Sam and Pearl
Sam and Pearl

Just four short months ago, Pearl joined us while we were in Arkansas and Sam instantly adopted her as part of the family. Though at twelve definitely a senior citizen, Sam would rough house with her, watch over her, share anything but dog treats with her, and was slowly teaching her the ropes ( by example, of course ) of how to get along with their crotchety old owner.

Sam and Pearl
Sam and Pearl

A wonderful little dog that I believe did live a good life, but left way too soon. Both Pearl and I miss her terribly.

RIP, Sam.

June 20, 2018 Seabeck, Washington

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

Hood Canal for Bald Eagles

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

I visited the Hood Canal in my first year on the road and was absolutely amazed at the number of Bald Eagles gathered here to take advantage of the annual Sculpin spawn amongst the oyster beds here at the mouth of Big Beef Creek in Seabeck.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Unfortunately that was not the case this year. I was told that the number of eagles gathering here has been diminishing every year and I never saw more than five eagles at any one time over the four days I was here. In 2014 there would be as many as 60 eagles present at any one time, and back then I was told that I was there at a ” bad ” time, since there used to be over 100 gathered there during May and June.

( Since I don’t have any great eagle shots from this visit, you can see some of the eagle shots taken here from 2014 if you visit the following blog posts:

May 19, 2014     and   May 20, 2014  )

Bald Eagle
Attack!

Bald eagle diving down to persuade a heron to drop it’s catch.

Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron

There did seem to be as many Great Blue Herons here as there were in 2014, just not as many eagles, and the herons most likely were quite happy about the reduced number of eagles, so that now they could swallow their fish without the constant threat of theft from the eagles.

Bald Eagle Theft
Bald Eagle Theft

Still, on occassion, an eagle would spot a successful heron catch and swoop in to steal the fish.

Juvenile Bald Eagle Harassing Heron
Juvenile Bald Eagle Harassing Heron
Juvenile Bald Eagle with Sculpin
Juvenile Bald Eagle with Sculpin

You can just see the tail of the sculpin this immature eagle stole from one of the herons.

I again stayed at the Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck as I did in 2014, but could only get a site for Monday through Thursday as the campground has every site reserved for Friday and Saturday. That happens to be the case for almost every weekend during the summer months, not only here but at pretty much every desirable state park here in the northwest. But since there aren’t any eagles here to photograph anyway, I won’t be disappointed that I have to move on come Friday.

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June 10, 2018 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Ruddy Duck Pair
Ruddy Duck Pair

A Short Stay at Malheur NWR, Oregon

Since I had to be in Bend, Oregon on the 11th for my six month progress appointment with my oncologist, I figured I would split up the drive from Jackson Hole to Bend by staying a few days at the Narrows RV Park and driving around the Malheur NWR and perhaps try to find some of the wild horse herd up on Steens Mountain.

Rainbow Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Rainbow Over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

As per normal, weather was in and out, mostly rainy and grey, but with a few moments of sun here and there.

Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk

Three Common Nighthawks spent the day sleeping on top of the split rail fence in the campground, right behind my campsite. I was able to approach to within five feet of them without disturbing them, probably could have reached out and touched them if I had wanted to.

Trumpeter Swan and Rainbow
Trumpeter Swan and Rainbow

There are a couple of non-migratory Trumpeter Swans that breed and spend the year here at Malheur.

Ruddy Duck Pair
Ruddy Duck Pair

The Ruddy Duck Drake is one of my favorite ducks to shoot, just love that ridiculously blue beak.

Being a little late in the spring to find much here in Malheur, and that certainly was the case, I took a drive about 20 miles up the gravel road from the south entrance to the Steens Mountain Loop, hoping to maybe spot the wild horses up there. Usually when I am here in the spring, this loop road is still closed due to snow, but at this time the southern portion of the road was open up to and a little beyond the campground. From the north, the road was only open to Gate #2.

Anyhow, I never saw any sign of the horses but I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the road, at least as far as up to the campground. I just might try staying up there next time I come here and be able to spend more time looking for the horses.

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