Thursday, November 24, 2011
This salt flat with the Red Hill in the background is part of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. This barren landscape four years earlier was inundated with water and today is a stark contrast to the nearby lush refuge food plots and impoundments. We spent hours from the Red Hill vantage point watching thousands of overhead migrating Snow and Ross's Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and Cattle Egrets settle into the refuge.
On one of our early morning forays, we encountered this 'grounded' Western Grebe. The bird strongly objected to the rescue attempt. The bird no doubt mistook the heat waves on the blacktop highway for water and made a hard landing. With it's rear 'mounted' legs it could not stand or run much less take flight, nor could it dodge the fast approaching trucks. The episode ended well with it's safe release into a nearby wetlands.
We are thankful to our Creator on this Thanksgiving Day (and everyday) for His handiwork, His blessings and His unmerited favor. May God richly bless you, Ty & Ida
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We walked along the Venice canals, and Venice Beach Boardwalk, went to an Art exhibit, and went to Universal Studios City Walk, plus driving tours of Beverly Hills, Studio City, and Hollywood, sampling LA cuisine at some of their favorite dining spots. Spent some time at the LaBrae Tar Pits (pictured with the Mammoths).
We enjoyed our daily walks along the beach watching large pods of Common Dolphins and California Sea Lions leaping through the waves after fish. Large concentrations of Western Grebes, flock of Whimbrels, plus Great Egrets spearing Fence Lizards.
We walked a half dozen times to the nearby Solstice Canyon Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, rich with birds and wildlife. The old live oak trees here have survived several fires that have destroyed all man-made dwellings. This oasis with its year round running water is a magnet to birds as they migrate south.
We are heading east tomorrow, leaving the ocean shores for the desert. Happy trails to all.
Ty & Ida
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Pulled into Morro Dunes RV park next to this huge 578 foot monolith - pictured to the left, home to nesting Peregrine Falcons.
After a few days in Santa Barbara and Ventura, we boarded a catamaran for Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the 5 Channel Islands National Park chain. On the 26 mile voyage, were dozens of Common Dolphins racing our boat, thousands of Western Grebes, and a new 'life bird' a Xantus's Murrelet. Upon landing, we signed permits and were led by a Nature Conservancy naturalist into the closed property. Our small group of 5 got to experience the endemic flora and fauna. Our number one goal was to see the Island Scrub Jay - found nowhere else in the world. We found 6 of these dark blue colored, large birds. Pictured below is the rich waters around Santa Cruz Island teaming with sea life, fishes, seal lions and birds. Our best to all from sunny California. Ty & Ida
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Yes, we are still birding and were blessed to get a 'life bird' in Santa Cruz. Cued by a hotline tip, we found a Yellow-green Vireo less than 20 feet from our RV in an urban park.
Down the coast at Moss Landing and Elkhorn Slough we encountered thousands of shorebirds: Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Willets, Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, both Dowitchers, and many others. Plus we saw a Barn Owl in an abandoned barn in the preserve.
We recommend a visit to this wonderful area of California. Until next time, Ida & Ty
Thursday, October 13, 2011
We were staying in Oakhurst and had a great birding area right outside the RV, adding Nuttall's Woodpecker, Phainopepla, California Towhee, California Thrasher & Oak Titmouse.
Next destination - King's Canyon & Sequoia National Parks.
Once again, breath-taking scenery and massive trees. Pictured here a 320 foot tall Giant Sequoia with a base of 98 feet in circumference. It was amazing to see so many of these over 2,000 year old trees that were thankfully saved for generations to enjoy.
This curious coyote greeted us at one of the park pull-offs. Mule Deer and yet another Black Bear (this was bear #55 for the trip) made up some of the park's rich fauna.
From Sunny California, Ty & Ida
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Shafts of sunlight rarely filter to the forest floor from the towering 380 foot high canopies above. The giant tree pictured in the video measured 68 feet in circumference. Epiphytes, such as ferns, moss, lichens and shrubs grow profusely from upper story branches and trunks. This cool, dark and moist forest floor environment gives off the aroma of creation.
From "sunny" California where its been foggy or raining for the last two full days (critical to Redwood growth). Farewell for now, Ty & Ida
Monday, September 19, 2011
We took the 80 mile scenic Rogue River forest road back to the coast, single lane with pullouts. We saw a majestic bull elk and a Sooty (Blue) Grouse along this mountainous, meandering road.
At Cape Arago we heard before we saw, hundreds of Steller's & California Sea Lions, and Harbor Seals basking on the rocks of Simpson Reef. In the midst of all the pinnipeds, after significant searching turned up the prize, one massive Elephant Seal (Good luck in finding him in the picture). Several Gray Whales made their appearance north of the reef.
We spent the better part of a day exploring the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. We enjoyed the hands-on tidal pool critters, walked through a shark tube and the the pulsating jellyfish exhibit. Best to all, Ida & Ty
Monday, September 5, 2011
Each day we take several walks along the beach or surrounding woodlands. This Banana Slug (pictured below with a quarter) has become a fairly common encounter.
Our best to all of you, back to the beach for us.
Ty & Ida
Sunday, August 28, 2011
In the picture below, these trees still show the effects the stone-wind had several miles away.
On the drive up windy ridge, we saw the eerie landscape that is slowly returning to a living forest. At this altitude we were able to see Mt. Rainier to the north, Mt. Adams to the east, and Mt. Hood to the south; their snow covered peaks in the blue sky towering above the forests. We circled the mountain on beautiful forest roads with large trees giving you an idea of what it looked like before 1980. We are staying in Cougar, WA for 2 days. We walked to a nearby park this morning where an outdoor church service was taking place and we were happy to join it. God always provides, like the last site in an RV park because someone cancelled right before we arrived. We are enjoying our retirement very much and send our best to all who read this blog. Ida & Ty
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Some of the wonderful creatures we observed were gray whales, sea otters, harbor seals, river otters and porpoises. We spent hours scoping the ocean waves for birds and were rewarded with record numbers of Pacific & Red-throated loons, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Sooty, Buller's & Pink-footed Shearwaters, Heermann's Gulls, South Polar Skua and numbers of shorebirds.
In between coastal areas we visited the Hoh Rain Forest with beautiful moss covered trees and observed our 52nd bear for the trip and saw the Roosevelt Elk (a herd of 16 cows and calves).
We are now at Copalis Beach for the next few days, ready to explore the endless beach that is crowded with shorebirds and gulls and not too many people. Our best to everyone. Ty & Ida
Saturday, August 6, 2011
The week before this we spent at Birch Bay, Washington, enjoying the sun after many days of rain on our travels south. We had beautiful weather the whole week. After crossing on the Port Townsend ferry, we are traveling northwest along the coast of Washington, we are finding many birds, already 140 species in the state. This weekend we are camped along Crescent Bay looking at sea birds through the scopes; Ancient & Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Surf, White-winged, and Black Scotors, Harlequin Ducks, Heeriman, Mew, California, and Glaucous-winged Gulls, a few shorebirds. Also watching cruise and cargo ships pass by in the Juan de Fuca Strait on their way to Victoria, Canada or Seattle. Looking forward to spending more time along the beautiful coasts of Washington and then Oregon. Our best to everyone. Ty & Ida
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Moving south to escape rain, high prices (gas & food). rain, lack of new bird species, rain, the metric system, rain, and looking forward to being back the good old USA.
Passed through miles of vineyards and orchards in Canada and Washington. Then bird species and numbers increased exponentially as we traveled the high desert habitats. Then into the dark rain forest of the Northern Cascades, yes more rain, but not today. The huge old growth rain forests, as pictured below, festooned with mosses, lichens, ferns was very impressive. We are enjoying camping among the large trees. Our plans are to see all five of the volcanos of Washington and then the ocean coast. Our best to all. Ty & Ida
Monday, July 18, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
We are in Haines Junction, Yukon for the third time as we started here before going into Alaska, and 5 weeks later out then to Haines in SE Alaska and 1 week later back again. Also journeyed through Tok twice. What wonderful places we have seen, what beautiful scenery as this mountain refection. And wildlife, amazing! Ty wanted to see bears on this trip and we are up to 37! We have an answer for any of you wanting to get rid of dandelions, get a black bear, we watched a number of black bears devouring ripe dandelions their heads covered in seeds. We are now on to a new journey in Canada and possibly back into Hyder, Alaska. Below is our first attempt at sending a video, hope it works. This is called Million Dollar Falls, we camped there last night in a very peaceful environment. Ty & Ida
Monday, July 4, 2011
We enjoyed our time in Valdez, exploring the history and wildlife of the area. The 1964 earthquake that destroyed the town and moving the whole town 4 miles to safer ground was very interesting. Then of course there was the 1989 oil spill, most all wildlife and area have been restored. We took a boat trip to the Columbia and Meier Glaciers, There were amazing ice bergs as the Columbia is losing ice at nearly 100 feet a day. If you used your imagination, you could see wonderful blue creatures in the melting ice. We did have rain for 4 of the 6 days we were there so we have moved away from the coast to sunshine and warmer temperatures. Seeing bears every few days, a Brown Bear near Valdez and a Black Bear crossed the road this afternoon as we waited for it on the Edgerton Highway. Ty & Ida
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
We visited the two Fairbanks Bird & Nature Centers and spent hours watching for a Boreal Owl to come out of it's nesting hole, only hearing it call and never seeing it. Enjoyed church at the North Pole Worship Center. For you Packer fans - North Pole is Daryn Colledge's home town.
We drove to Paxson and spent 12 hours on gravel roads on the Denali Highway, seeing Long-tailed Jaegers in their nesting grounds, Whimbrel, Am. Golden Plover, 2 Smith Longspurs, plus 40 other species of birds. Headed south today through beautiful mountain passes with snow and glaciers and waterfalls on all sides. We sure are enjoying all that God has created to the fullest. Ty & Ida
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
|Russian River Falls|
For our 41st wedding anniversary we walked up Coal Mine Creek to alpine and were rewarded with a life bird - an Arctic Warbler.
On the longest day of the year we took the shuttle bus into Denali National Park, where we saw many Caribou like this one that held the bus up for a while, 7 grizzly bears - very blond in this park, moose, a red fox, Dall sheep, and lots of beautiful scenery. Only had 1 glimpse of the gigantic mountain top of Mt. McKinley (Denali). After 11 hours and 190 miles on bumpy gravel ride, everyone was exhausted, except us, we were still looking for more. Today we traveled back in early and alone for as far as we were allowed to go. We were rewarded with a Wolf coming down the road and a family of Willow Ptarmigan, chicks looked to be just hatched. Onto Fairbanks now. Ty & Ida
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
At the farthest end of the tour was the Northwestern Glacier, seen in action with calving below. It was very loud with the ice crashing and echoing off the canyon walls, like a cannon going off, the ice very blue and exciting to watch, If you ever get a chance to see this, take it! We are in the rain forest and it is living up to it's name, lots of rain. Ty & Ida