Monday, December 31, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Christmas Week, Part One

 This was our second Christmas Day spent with another birder couple whose grown children, like ours, live far away. We ate at a buffet in Tillamook, then went birding by car since it was raining. I didn't expect to see many birds but I was happily wrong. Waterbirds of sorts I seldom see here 25 miles inland were everywhere. I took, in fact, over 150 photos, most of which came out blurry. Here are a few that survived my culling, although they, too, are blurry. Our friends the Woodhouses had to identify most of these for us. Common Loon left and Red-breasted Merganser right. in the top tier; Horned Grebe left and Western Grebe right in the bottom tier.

Way off in the distance, across Netarts Bay, was a huge flock of Brant. I only know they were Brant because John Woodhouse said they were. Brant are black geese with white back ends and do not come inland.

Closer, much closer, were two Canvasbacks. They were preening and sleeping right next to the road in a marshy area. I don't believe I've ever been close enough to see the red eye before.

My favorite view of the day came from Oceanside Wayside. It was cold and rainy, but we could see the big rocks off Oceanside from the car. Zooming in closer and closer, we spied two eagles on a perch the Woodhouses said they often used. Below them on the rocks, on both sides, were dozens, probably hundreds, of sea lions.

It was a fun day with great friends, however things went south for them after that. Barbara Woodhouse woke early the next morning with severe abdominal pain and ended up in the hospital with emergency surgery for a ruptured diverticulum off her colon. She is, as of this writing, recovering well in the Tillamook hospital. A very scary happening to a very healthy friend. We never know what time bombs are lurking within.

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