Friday, November 11, 2016

Safety Pins and Birding Breaks

Two trips to town this week and two trips to the coast, each time meeting friends and drinking in their friendship. Add to that breathing in the ocean air and finding birds to watch and photograph... that's my way of bringing sanity to an insane election week.

And now I wear a safety pin on my collar. The idea came from England, where immigrants were targeted by some after the Brexit vote. Someone over there came up with the idea of wearing a safety pin to let immigrants... and everyone else... know that they were a "safe" person to talk to. Someone in the U.S. suggested we do the same here for all the immigrants, people of color, Muslims, and everyone else now targeted by bigots and racists thanks to our election results. So I wear a safety pin.

On Monday I went to McMinnville for feed and then stopped to visit friend Marilyn. She was wending her way back to her room in her wheelchair after celebrating another Hillside resident's 108th birthday! Marilyn was tired out but she said the centenarian was still going strong at her party. Wow.

On Tuesday, Election Day, friend Dawn and I drove to Depoe Bay to look for the 30 plus Black Oystercatchers another friend had seen a few days earlier. They were nowhere to be found but we did find a couple Black Turnstones, well camouflaged against the rocks...

... and an incredibly wild and beautiful ocean. It was a sunny and warm day, but dark clouds were rolling in from the west so there must have been a storm at sea creating that amazing surf.

Boiler Bay

Pirate's Cove
On Wednesday, I headed for McMinnville again because my new prescription eyeglasses had come in... and because the shocking election results had left me stunned. I decided to go a little early to see if I could find the Rough-legged Hawk that had been reported on my side of town. Concentrating on birds is a great way to live in the moment and forget the crazy world. Before I had gone two miles, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk on the wire. I pulled off the road and it very cooperatively flew down, caught something, and popped back up on a fence post right in front of me to eat it. A pretty, first year bird.

I did not find the Rough-leg, but I did find a Peregrine Falcon on Delashmutt Lane, high in a tree alongside the road.

Since I still had a little time before my appointment, I stopped at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center on my way and took a photo of this amazing horse.

On the way home, I wandered the back roads, looking for more birds, but found, instead, a sunset that kept changing as it went on and on and on. I kept stopping to take more photos.

I had made plans some time ago to meet friends John and Barbara again at the Upstairs restaurant in Netarts on Thursday. I went early so I could go to Short Beach and look for Black Oystercatchers there. I am wanting to find first year birds to see how many fledged from various sites. BLOY like to congregate at Short Beach, as they do at Depoe Bay (sometimes, but not the day Dawn and I were there this week).

I was in luck at Short Beach, with at least 11 BLOY in the area, but mostly distant. I did find one youngster on the skyline.

And one happy adult taking a bath...

There were also at least 30 Black Turnstones, but very hard to see very far away. There is also one Black Oystercatcher in this photo. Good luck finding it (bottom right of photo)... and the Turnstones that are *not* silhouetted against the sky... There are a lot of them, masquerading as rocks.

When not straining to see and identify distant birds, I just enjoyed the scenery. Short Beach is beautiful from every angle. That's Cape Meares in the distance in the first photo below.

Then it was time to climb the long stairs up to the road and meet my friends for lunch. It is always so fun to see them. I lamented that my cell phone had no reception at Short Beach so I had to guess at when I needed to leave to meet them. John showed me his watch that he bought in Tillamook at Fred Meyer. After lunch, I prevailed upon them to take me to Freddie's (as they call it) and buy myself a watch. So they did and I did. Now I can tell what time it is even when I'm hiking in the mountains and coastal areas where there is no cell phone coverage. Woohoo!

Since I had told John and Barbara about not finding the Yamhill County Rough-leg, they took me to a Rough-leg in Tillamook County that they knew where was. And there it stood... such a lovely raptor.

Today, Friday, it was back to work, pruning the grapes and starting to make Christmas wreath rounds out of them. Rain is predicted to begin again soon and continue for a week, at least, so I'm glad I made so many escapes this week.

Johnny is due back home the middle of next week. He will have been gone three weeks. I hope he has lots of photos to share when he returns. He is, believe it or not, in New Zealand, with our California kids and grandkids . That story for a blog post after he returns... with photos.

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