Thursday, January 17, 2013

John Neal Park

Johnny and I encountered this scary looking sign at John Neal Park in Lyons, Oregon, while on our North Santiam raptor route on Saturday, January 12. Well, we were actually on our lunch break. This is the first time we've walked around the park... or a small portion of it. Trails wander through wooded areas around ponds and backwaters of the North Santiam River. This Red-shouldered Hawk was sitting in a tree near one of the backwater areas... along the path with the cougar warning sign. Just beyond the sign were more signs saying that the area was under trail camera surveillance. I suspect it was the trail cameras that saw the cougar and not some living, breathing, accelerated-heart-rate human. At least, my heart rate would accelerate if I saw a cougar.

Soon after sighting this hawk, we heard about a zillion crows having a fit just out of the park across the road. They were divebombing something we could not see, so we drove toward them. The Red-shouldered Hawk photographed above flew toward them and joined what the crows must have been diving on, another Red-shouldered Hawk. So there is apparently a pair of these lovely birds hanging out in and near John Neal Park. That's pretty amazing considering these California raptors have only recently begun moving north into the Willamette Valley.

Near where the pair of hawks chose to land in a bare-leafed hardwood tree was a slough we didn't know existed. And on that waterway was a pair of Wood Ducks. I took the photo looking into the sun so you can't see his colors, but the male is still beautiful.

We will be sure to check out this park each time we run our raptor route. According to its website , camping here is popular from mid-March to mid-September with white water rafters and fishermen. The habitat seems to be popular with wildlife all year.

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