Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

Musings about birds, nature, and our meanderings on the Central Oregon Coast

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A walk around my town...

Yesterday my car went to the repair shop - the "Check Engine" light was on and the mechanics were calling.  Before I left home, I had mapped out my day - starting at D River Open Space - one of my favorite spots, and it was only a mile south of the repair shop.  So, I hauled my gear to the shop, declined a ride home, and set out for a four-hour adventure - a walk around my town.

Walking past one of the local espresso kiosks, I was joined by a young man with a coffee cup in hand.  He accompanied me with a barrage of incessant conversation, pausing only for the occasional sip of Caramel Latte.  On his way to high school on the south end of town, he had missed his bus, his mother's car wasn't driveable (oil-leak or something), they had just moved, he couldn't sneak onto the bus, he didn't like his own bus because the driver takes roll at every stop, he was going to be late - probably miss first period but that's ok because they were having a test and he wasn't prepared...  All the way to D River, where I said goodbye and crossed the highway.

Sun through the fog at D River Open Space
Walking back to the campground, I found the trailhead and was almost immediately immersed in early morning quiet - some bird sounds, some faint stirrings in the campground - but mostly, blissful quiet.  All around me there was dew clinging to leaves and grass, and evidence of skillful spiders building artistic snares.
Spiders at work, D River Open Space

Yellow-rumped Warbler

As I neared the gravel parking area, the sounds of birds increased and finally I could see some movement - a flock of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. 
Fox Sparrow

Steller's Jay

Spotted Towhee

Black-capped Chickadee

Walking around the parking lot, I added FOX and SONG SPARROWS, SPOTTED TOWHEES, CHESNUT-BACKED and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and more to my morning list. 

I moved across the bridge toward the river, where four AMERICAN COOTS were paddling around near a pair of MALLARDS.  A GREAT BLUE HERON cronked loudly and took off over the water.
Great Blue Heron
I could see the ocean under the highway - hundreds of gulls were using the fresh water from D River, so I decided to walk under the road to see if I could sort them out. 
Gulls in D River

There were CALIFORNIA, WESTERN and HEERMANN'S, possibly some MEW GULLS.  Not my area of expertise, but fun to try!

Heading back, I added a Douglas Squirrel, several Northern Flickers as well as some GOLD- and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS to my growing list.
Douglas Squirrel

Chesnut-backed Chickadee

Northern Flicker

This NORTHERN FLICKER was guarding the boardwalk as I returned through the park.

Back at the park entrance, I turned up NE 6th Street, where more flocks of small birds were busy in autumn foliage.
Townsend's Warbler

I was lucky to find a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER in some bushes along the road. 
NE 6th Street
Checking my map, I zig-zagged through the neighborhoods, climbing the hills as I worked my way toward Spring Lake Open Space, another personal favorite spot. Along the way, I spotted someone's mail in the weeds by the road - I retrieved it and walked back down the hill to find the address.  He wasn't home, but I told his neighbors what I'd found so he would know why he had damp mail in his mailbox!

Finally, I reached Port Avenue and the Port-Lake trailhead - where I was immediately greeted by a calling HERMIT THRUSH.
Hermit Thrush

Port-Lake Trail
Again, I was enveloped in utter stillness - what a rich blessing!  I could barely hear the call of chickadees and kinglets in the tops of the tall firs, and there was no wind to add to their soft whisper.

Autumn at Spring Lake

At the bottom of the hill, I wandered along the lake edges, enjoying the beauty. Autumn colors were vivid, and the reflections stunning.

My favorite bench

Across the lake, I located the trail that would take me to the water tower at the top of the hill.
Trail to water tower
Harmless looking, isn't it?  About half-way up, my calves were sobbing - I'm just not in good enough shape to wander effortlessly up hills -- I have to confess that I was too tired and sore to enjoy the quiet!  I was elated to finally reach the top!

Dark-eyed Junco

From there, it was all downhill (she sighs with relief, remembering...)!  I walked down Surf Street to NE 22nd - stopping to enjoy the sparrows and juncos in the yards.

I had thought about checking out Kiltsis Park, but the time was 11:50am and I was due back at the shop at noon, so I left that for another day. 
Abe Lincoln

At the bottom of the hill, Abe Lincoln greeted me, along with large flocks of AMERICAN CROWS and ROCK PIGEONS.

I reached the repair shop at 12:05 - my car was ready to go home, and so was I!
Car Care Specialists