On another private sector that we drive through, Mt. Jefferson loomed majestically in front of us.
Coming and going, this face can be seen on a hillside south of Highways 18/22 between Willamina and Fort Hill. We have been told that it was created (planted) at the same time the clearcut was replanted. The orange face is larch trees, a deciduous conifer. When the needles fall, the face will disappear. But right now, it is quite visible and fun to see. Just don't wreck your car looking. I pulled off the highway to take these photos from the west-bound lane.
A few days later (on Dec. 6), we did our North Santiam route for the month. It was a gray and drizzly day but I took some photos anyway of waterfowl and a noisy Kingfisher at John Neal Park in Lyons where we stop to eat our lunches. I love the woodsy ponds and so do the birds.
|Gadwalls, clothed in soft gray to match the weather|
|Ring-necked Duck, handsome even through drizzle|
|Fluffed up Kingfisher, standing noisy guard over his ponds|
I walked on farther with hordes of juncos, a Bewick's Wren and this Downy Woodpecker paying me no attention.
My goal, as always when I hike in John Neal Park, was to hopefully find the pair of Red-shouldered Hawks we discovered there a couple years ago. They were not to be seen on our November run. But this day, fate smiled on me. The pair of impossibly beautiful Red-shouldered Hawks sat for photos. How could any raptor be this colorful?
Raptors are, indeed, the point of our raptor surveys, but there are many non-raptor bonuses, too, including lovely scenery, a smiley face on the mountain, and, at least once, a team of gorgeous horses.