Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goodbye Osprey, Hello Fall!

I have to say that I am happy to see the Osprey go for the winter!  They showed up on the day the ice melted in the bay last spring, and stayed all summer long to raise two chicks, who stuck around until just the other day.  Finally, their incessant squawking is gone!  Day in and day out of these birds begging their parents for food, or begging each other as they got older and started catching fish for themselves.  It was fun watching the young birds attempt to catch fish when they were first fledglings and leaving the nest!  They weren't real good fishers at first, and the parents would leave them alone during the day, so that they would 'fend for themselves'.  I would watch them as I did my swimming this summer.  They would perch in the trees and complain about their hunger.  As they became better fishers, they would perch on various trees and eat their catch.  Many times, right in front of our patio, they would dine and then then drop their trash on our beach.  Lovely for my chihuahua to get ahold of a stinking fish carcus. As summer goes on, the sounds of the Osprey goes on until one day you realize you haven't heard the Osprey for several days.  I find myself wondering... where do the Osprey go for the winter?  Do they fly to the coast of Washington, where they can continue their fishin mission?  Or perhaps they fly way south to California or even Mexico?  Well, I think I will just have to go research it.  First I will try my iBird app to see if it tells me anything. 

iBird says basically, Osprey are known to live around large bodies of water world-wide, except in Anartica.  As the map above shows, they breed here in the northwest United States and in Canada.  They then migrate across the United States and winter along the coast of California, Texas and the most southern states.  Year-round residents are in Florida and in Mexico.  I'd like to think our summer resident Osprey travel down to the California coast, and enjoy the warmer weather down there, while we stay here in the cold and experience the nasty winter months.  Kind of like our other summer neighbors from California!  But we know that when the warm weather comes back around our way, our Californian neighbors, and the Osprey will be back in the hood, ready for another lovely summer!  For now, we will enjoy our lovely autumn colors as the leaves change with the seasons.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Best of Birding Adventures...

Yesterday I had one of the best birding adventures ever!  Let me start by saying that the very first bird that got me into bird watching was the Pileated Woodpecker.  I had seen this glorious bird when we lived in Suquamish (Poulsbo) Washington back in 1988.  It fascinated me then, and still brings excitement to me today.  So to my delight, when I was out walking this week I decided to go further than I normally do.  

So happy that I did, because I came across one of these magnificant Pileated Woodpeckers.  She was drumming away on a huge Ponderosa Pine a couple miles from my home.  The tree was a regular stop for her you could tell because the bark was missing from large areas on the tree. 

Of course, I slowed and quickly got my camera going on my iPhone.  I got some pictures, but none to write home about.  I thought it was a male when I was out there, but after reading up on my iBird app, determined it was a female because she lacked the red mustache.  She let me get closer than I thought she would.  Of course, I had my dogs with me and they were right under foot.  She flew off to a nearby tree, and we trotted on with our walk with that high that you get when the endorphines are running good, and you've just witnessed something in nature that stirs your soul. 

Cut to yesterday, me and the dogs are out walking again eager to beat my mileage from yesterday's record of 3.76 miles.  As we approach the area where the Pileated's Ponderosa Pine is, and there she is again, working away at that tree.  I move closer and closer until I am within just a few feet of this tree and this bird, my favorite bird!  I am able to shoot photo after photo, and videos too.  Such excitement, I can't even explain!  Like that feeling of holding the hummingbirds while they drink!  Experiences you won't ever forget.

We finally moved on and continued on our walk.  The longest walk yet.  A round trip of 4.33 miles!  All the way to Cedar Beau Bay at the south end of the lake.

When we got back to the tree, Ms. Woodpecker was still there. This time I was able to creep up to the tree within 2 or 3 feet.  I was standing on the edge of a block wall with the beautiful bird right there almost within arms reach.  I took lots of photos and a video and spent quite some time with her. 

Another walker with a couple of dogs came walking nearby and she flew off to a nearby tree.  I spoke with the elderly lady, who was 80, and we chatted about the woodpecker.  She told me she had seen some Cedar Waxwings recently, a once in a blue moon bird in this area, and exciting to see also (although I think it was probably a Bohemian Waxwing).  As I continued home, my heart was full with nature.  What a great feeling it is to have such great birding adventures to share!

Wonderful World of Walking

As part of my new healthy lifestyle modification, I have been walking in my neighborhood several times a week.  I have really been enjoying being out in nature while I work on getting more activity into my life.  The woods around my home is home to lots of critters and birds.  There are pathways that I haven't been on since my childhood around here.  My pet trio loves to come along with me.  Cubby Bears, the chow, is our security guide.  He makes sure there is nothing out there that is gonna hurt us.  The other day, Cubby sprang into action...  he went scavenging around in the bushes beside the road, and I could hear something else in the bushes too.  Sure enough, out springs a young buck, hopping through the forest and dashed across the road right in front of us!  Saved!  From a rouge deer on the loose!  That's my Cubby!

Then there's Jack E. Cheez, the chihuahua, my shadow.  He thinks he's tough, but gets scared of other dogs out there on our walk.  Jack has learned to hitch a ride with Grammy when we encounter stranger dogs. 

Stanley Oliver is our lake cat.  He loves to follow along, just like he was a dog.  He doesn't like the 'stranger dogs' either, and will hide in the woods.  Me and the dogs will continue on, and when we get back, Stan will still be in the bushes waiting for us.  A few meows, and he'll come hopping out and start following us again.  Lately, I've been leaving poor Stan home, because he really does slow me down.  Poor kitty, he has been real ticked about it.

I use the iPhone MapMyWalk app to log my distance and time when walking.  The upgraded version allows me to take photos within the app along the way.  So I thought I would share some of my photos from my walks.  Hope you enjoy!

This is the Great Blue Heron seen down in Cedar Beau Bay.

 This shot was taken to show how far we had walked that day.  My cabin is around the bend from that point across the bay!

Just another beautiful sunset in our bay.  I never tire of this scene, whatever the season, it is beautiful, peaceful, and best of all... my home.