Friday, August 17, 2012

Escaping the Heat

Although Johnny, native mid-westerner that he is, loves hot weather, I do not. I wilt. So I escape. Tuesday I went to the coast for my last attempt to figure out where the Black Oystercatchers nesting on Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda disappeared to. I did not succeed, but did connect with a birder friend who fishes out of Cape Kiwanda and will check the far side of the Rock for me. Ah, networking...

The "other pair" of BLOY on Cape Kiwanda, the lazy ones that are always hanging out on a cliff side, were hanging out on a cliff side... with a third adult that has appeared with them lately. Makes me suspicious that one of the nesting pair is babysitting a fledgling on the Rock while the other hangs out with the cliff dwellers. Maybe fisherman/birder friend Dave will find out.

On Wednesday, it was even hotter (98), but we spent most of the day in the air-conditioned pickup I inherited from Dad, delivering my brother Bob's elk head and Dad's bear hide to friends Jay and Cindy in Gates, or hanging out in their cool house. They are the good friends and neighbors of Dad's who bought his Timber Knoll ranch and had agreed to give the much-traveled elk head and bear rug a permanent home. Dad's house is rented out but the new renter is a hunter and agreed to hang the elk head back on the wall where it started. Well, it started on an elk that my brother Bob shot on Dad's ranch. He had the head mounted and Dad hung it on his living room wall. After Dad's death, Bob took the head to southern California with him... along with the bear hide Dad was so proud of. Now Bob and Elladine have moved to Colorado and have no room for elk or bear, so Johnny brought the creatures back up to Oregon this spring where they've been residing in our walk-in cooler ever since.

Cindy sent me this photo yesterday of the elk head restored to its rightful place on Dad's wall. It does look right at home there.

The bear rug is from Dad's bear hunt in Kodiak, Alaska, many, many years ago. He wrote a story about that hunt that will be incorporated into his memoirs, should I ever get them together. It's a tale of excitement that Jay can relate to, since he also bagged a Kodiak brown bear in Alaska some years ago.

Dad very rarely took his bear rug out of its plastic wrapping to look at and never hung it up, but he was very, very proud of that Kodiak bear. When we left Jay and Cindy's, it was spread out on their living room floor and may stay right there. Jay's bear hide is upstairs in their house. His trophy heads are on their living room wall. It's a good home for Dad's bear.

Johnny bravely hammed it up with the big boar bear but my photo is out of focus.

What a magnificent animal! (The bear, though Johnny's not bad either.)

Dad was a hunter, but also a conservationist. As he says at the end of his story, "The Brown Bear: May his species live forever."

Yesterday, we headed west to the ocean to visit birder friends in Tillamook, to check on the Black Oystercatchers and Peregrines that they monitor at Cape Meares and, in my case at least, to escape valley heat. Their two BLOY pair did not successfully raise chicks this year, but both pairs were on territory. The peregrines fledged three chicks but we saw only the adult male flying about. It was a beautiful day on the ocean, although downright chilly when the fog rolled in later.

On the way home, we stopped at Munson Creek Falls, which still has plenty of water flowing over. At 266 feet, it is the highest waterfall in the Coast Range. Unfortunately, the upper trail is closed due to landslides, and the lower trail no longer goes to the base of the falls, but it is still a pretty view.

On the way to our last stop, a point near the road where I can get a view of an offshore rock at Cape Lookout that potentially could have nesting BLOY... although I've yet to actually find any there (hope springs eternal), we met a coyote who took his rodent or rabbit or something prey into the middle of the road, stopped, and gulped it down right there. I wasn't quick enough with the camera to catch him in the act of eating. When finished with his meal, he stared at us until an oncoming truck chased him off the road. I took this picture through the windshield.

Today, the last day of ridiculous heat (I'm hoping), is for catching up on inside tasks, like mailing all those Black Oystercatcher reports I've accumulated since May to the USGS person in charge. And making ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

No comments:

Post a Comment