Monday, September 19, 2011

From Mountain top to Sea Coast

We traveled the 33 mile rim of Crater Lake, high in the Cascade Mountain range of Oregon.  This former volcano is now a 1,943 foot deep lake, the island in the lake is the former lava dome.  There were a surprisingly number of birds at this altitude, (between 7,000-8,000 feet), such as Clark's Nutcrackers, Am. Pipits, Mountain Bluebirds, Mountain Chickadees, and a Black Rosy Finch. We found camping at this altitude is rather cold, 29 degrees one morning, plus all these roads close in Oct. for the winter.

Southeast of the crater were these pinnacles of  pumice and volcanic ash deposits as seen in the pictures to the left. There was a large gorge with these eroded formations for several miles.

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

North Oregon Coast

 How can it be September already?  Time moves along.  We are enjoying God's air conditioning at the Pacific Ocean as the rest of the area is in the sweltering heat.  The picture at the left is taken high above the beach at Ecola State Park.  The birding has been great along the "haystack" rocks, beaches, bays and jetties of the Oregon Coast.  Migration is in full swing with flocks of shorebirds winging their way south.  Of particular interest are the Surfbirds, Wandering Tattlers, Black Turnstones, Whimbrels, Marbled Godwits, Sanderlings and Baird's, Western, & Semipalmated Sandpipers.

Along the towering rock formations we are observing colonies of sea birds including these Common Murres (photo to the right), Tufted Puffins, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cormorants, Brown Pelicans, Black Oystercatchers.

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