Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Science Works in Ashland

Ian has just sent me these photos he took with his phone while we were in Ashland. I did not haul my camera around (except on our hikes) so kept asking him to take photos.

Steve and family had arrived a couple days after we did. We met them Thursday morning at ScienceWorks Museum. What a great place.

Steve became mesmerized by this giant kaleidoscope type thingie. He said he could watch it all day.

But there was way too much to see there to spend much time at any one station. The bubble room was my favorite. Below Steve and Kestrel create bubble shapes at the bubble wall.

All three of them are inside a giant bubble of their own creation.

Below Cedrus creates a giant bubble.

There's an outside portion of the museum, too. but I have no idea where this tube was or if they were supposed to be walking on it. Munazza and I retreated to do Qi Gong after the noise and stimulation inside the museum and I did not notice this tube.

This climbing wall has geologic time on it. The sign encourages visitors to climb through time.

Kestrel and Cedrus did.

Steve and Ian also did and both managed to get clear on top of the wall which I don't think people are supposed to do.

That evening we watched the Green Show on the bricks at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This night the Uganda Children's Choir performed high energy songs and dances.

Everywhere inside and outside festival buildings were these wonderful welcoming signs. I asked Ian to take a photo of one for me.

It was nice to spend a week in a place where everyone is truly welcomed and honored, as actors on stage and as audience members. Oregon Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to diversity in their company members. All the actors are superb, whether they are deaf or hearing, black or white or any other hue, male or female, disabled or able-bodied.

Ian and I are looking forward to next year!

Coast Watch

Today Johnny and I hiked a mile on the Oregon shore... for another of my many volunteer survey projects, this one for CoastWatch. It was a beautiful day on Mile 262 that stretches north from Cape Kiwanda almost to McPhillip Park, which is basically a secluded parking area with a rough and rocky road to the beach.

At high tide today there were quite a few "beached" birds and I was glad I was not doing a beached bird survey here. There was a good variety, though, better than on the Bob Straub Park beach where I get 99% Common Murres. This beach had freshly washed in carcasses of grebes and scoters and auklets and others I didn't know what were.

But it also had, on a headland off Cape Kiwanda, four live Black Oystercatchers. I was hoping some would be fledglings, showing me that the two pairs that nest on Haystack Rock, off the cape, had been successful but, alas, these were all adults, showing me quite the opposite. (Fledglings don't have red around their eyes so even if I don't see their not-all-the-way-red-yet bills, I can tell if they are birds of the year or adults.) Oh well, any day I see Black Oystercatchers is a successful day.

 I then hiked over the dune to meet Johnny, who had hiked the mile back to our starting point and was driving around to the south side to pick me up. On the way I spotted the resident Peregrine Falcon. I clicked a fast photo in case it flew.

And it did a second later!

A little farther along, I took a photo of an underwater channel that is eroding the dune. The ocean is finding more and more ways to divide and conquer.

 Down on the beach on the south side, Haystack Rock was reflected in this outgoing tide.

Against those cliffs in the photo above, on rocks just above the water line, a lone sea lion was napping, raising up a few times to look around, wondering where its friends had gone, maybe.

Johnny was waiting for me at the parking area so off we to try out a new restaurant in Pacific City, Beach Wok. It was good but the Mexican restaurant, Los Caporoles, remains our favorite.

On our drive home, we stopped by the Little Nestucca River and hiked down to a scenic spot where we found two American Dippers. Any day I see a Dipper is a good day.

In the photo below, Johnny stands by a pool in the creek (at my request. I said "Stand still and look like you're enjoying yourself so I can take a photo.")

A beautiful day with lovely weather, one Peregrine Falcon, four Black Oystercatchers and two American Dippers. It doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Beached Bird Survey

Once a month I do a beached bird survey for COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team), an organization based at the Univ. of Washington. Volunteers monitor 1 km. stretches of beaches from Northern California up the Pacific Coast to the Arctic Circle and west to the Commander Islands in Russia. My stretch is at the south end of Bob Straub State Park near Pacific City. We identify and tag "beached" (dead) birds on our beaches and send the data and photos of the birds to COASST. They "collect and analyze the data to provide a baseline against which any impact, from human or natural origins, can be assessed".

A couple years ago, I surveyed a different beach, with Johnny, but we had to canoe across the Salmon River to get there and that was a challenge at times. After a year, we gave it up. The Bob Straub beach is much easier to get to and the interns at U of W enter my data into a computer for me. I can survey the beach alone and save Johnny's coast trips for Black Oystercatcher monitoring and other more fun pursuits.

So far this beach has had no major "wrecks" where hundreds of a species die and wash up. We had a Cassin's Auklet wreck on our first beach and it was no fun cataloging and tagging hundreds of dead birds.

Most months I don't have time to take photos of scenery but I hit a lovely, windless day in early October for my survey with lots of live birds and interesting beach scenery. So I took photos.

Several hundred Sanderlings were on the beach with me

Sea serpent?

The sea serpent was really a piece of driftwood covered in pelagic gooseneck barnacles

These five-plated barnacles form massive colonies on floating logs, etc., traveling great distances and sometimes, as here, becoming stranded on the beach during high tides.

Haystack Rock off Cape Kiwanda is visible from this beach.

This crab was washed up by a wave and grabbed by a waiting gull. But the crab fought back and the next wave took it out to sea again. The gull retrieved it on the next incoming wave but again the crab fought and eventually disappeared for good into the ocean. The gull sat down on the beach to watch and wait for another gift from the sea.

I took a lot of photos of enormous Haystack Rock, where Black Oystercatchers nest in the spring. It was a beautiful day on the Oregon coast.

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Color on the Farm

Rain is expected starting tomorrow so I walked around taking photos of blooming roses and other colorful things this afternoon.

This Kookaburra with snake was carved and painted by friend and amazing artist Barbara Millikan. It sits atop the Australia sign in our arboretum with "gum trees" (eucalyptus) behind

We live in a beautiful corner of the world.