Sunday, October 28, 2007


In the streaming golden sunshine, watching the Mallards and the Wigeons on the bright water, the Red-tailed Hawk keeping a sharp eye -- and all under a clear blue canopy of sky -- I found myself reveling in just being alive, and knowing it! And that, not surprisingly, brought some words of G.K. Chesterton to mind:

"And the strongest emotion was that life was as precious as it was puzzling. It was an ecstasy because it was an adventure; it was an adventure because it was an opportunity. The goodness of the fairy tale was not affected by the fact that there might be more dragons than princesses; it was good to be in a fairy tale. ... We thank people for birthday presents of cigars and slippers. Can I thank no one for the birthday present of birth?"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Birding at Fernhill

Having to work on Saturday was made a little less of a "downer" because it was in a location near a good birding spot. The Horned Grebes and Long-billed Dowitcher were just two of many species hanging out in the sunshine at Fernhill Wetlands near Forest Grove.

Friday, October 26, 2007

American Goldfinch in basic plumage

A non-birder could be excused for thinking that this American Goldfinch is not the same species that was coming to feeders six months ago dressed in brilliant yellow. Next spring we can start watching for the bright color to gradually reappear as the tips of these pale-colored feathers erode away.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red-breasted Nuthatch at feeder

On this sunny day the birds seemed to be very hungry, and that created a lot of opportunity for my robot camera. This Red-breasted Nuthatch was just a blur in most frames, but this one caught him motionless for one split second.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Birds at the bath

My robot cam stood patiently beside the birdbath all afternoon and recorded seven different species attracted to the water: the Dark-eyed Junco, House Sparrow and Song Sparrow in the top photo, and the Robin enjoying it solo.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A few Bend birds

Pygmy Nuthatch

Mountain Chickadee

Cassin's Finch

Pine Siskin is, of course, also quite common on the west side, and seldom backs away from a confrontation anywhere.

Townsend's Solitaire

A weekend in Central Oregon always offers a welcome change of pace for a birder from west of the Cascades, and the weekend just ending was another fun one. The feeder that my son-in-law is maintaining in his backyard was "hopping" and the woods along the Deschutes River were busy, also. I think I need more such weekends.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dark-eyed Junco in the tub

It would be difficult to take a photo of a Dark-eyed Junco from this vantage point if I had to be there with camera in hand, but my new robot camera apparently does not frighten the birds.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Western Scrub-Jay on remote cam

I'm experimenting with a new, battery powered remote camera that unexpectedly came my way. It's weatherproof, so I can place it outside to take photos while I'm away at work. This Western Scrub-Jay was one of my first unwitting subjects.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The season for Wooly Worms

When the Wooly Bear caterpillars start showing up, you know that fall is here. I drove to the coast today, and saw many of them hurrying across the road. Of course, many of them do not make it safely off the road, but there must be a lot of them that get safely tucked away under sticks and leaves. Then in the spring they will reappear in a totally different form as beautiful Tiger Moths.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yuma Skipper in Nevada

I spent a few days at college fairs in Las Vegas, but I had some time to get a few miles out of town. At a place the map showed as Desert Wetlands Park I found a few species of birds in the riparian strip along the stream, and also some butterflies. As I interpret the book, this one appears to be a Yuma Skipper, a new one for me. If someone knows better, I'll gladly accept a correction on that i.d.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Honeybees in Bangkok

While searching for birds in the garden of the Nai Lert Park Hotel in Bangkok last week, I happened to spot this open-air beehive suspended from a branch about 3o ft. high in a tree. One of the gardeners noticed that I had found it, and told me it had been there for a year-and-a-half. He also said the honey is good to eat, and it appeared to me that there are proably several gallons contained in this honeycomb. I wonder how closely these bees are related to our American honeybees. (?)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Javan Myna in Singapore

I'm back home now, after 2 1/2 weeks in SE Asia. I was too busy working to have much time for birding, and only found one new species for my life-list: a Pied Fantail in the hotel garden in Bangkok. I wasn't able to take a photo of that bird, so had to settle for some shots of common birds, such as the Javan Myna, an introduced species in Singapore. This one was watching a group of school children, hoping they would drop some crumbs during their lunch break.