Way Back Then

Our trip to Santa Rosa seems like a distant memory, but I realized yesterday that I still hadn’t unpacked my camera gear or downloaded the pictures we took at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge — probably because there really wasn’t any shots that I was in love with. I knew before we stopped that it was too early to see many birds, but I find it hard to drive past without stopping. We saw a lot of birds in the distance, like these Black-necked Stilt,

but the only birds we saw up-close and in large numbers was the Greater White-fronted Goose.

And this was the only shot that I really liked.

Unfortunately, we’ve been dealing with a family medical emergency and haven’t had time to get out birding and probably won’t manage to get out in the near future, either.

Moments like this remind us just how easy life normally have been since we’ve retired and will make us appreciate it once again when this crisis has passed. Until then, posts will continue to be reserved for moments like this when I’m sitting home waiting for a package to arrive so I can get back to doing what needs to be done.

Acorn Woodpeckers are a Personal Favorite

Though we were just in Santa Rosa for a few days, long enough to attend Leslie’s high school 50th reunion, I wanted to walk around Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake at least once. Unfortunately, much of the park was closed when we got there. They were obviously cutting down several of the larger trees.

I immediately wondered if this would affect my bird in the park. If anything the Acorn Woodpeckers were busier than usual packing their larder for winter.

I’m always amazed at the number of acorns these birds manage to wedge into the bark of trees.

On this trip they were so busy collecting acorns that they were completely indifferent to me and my camera, and seemed more than willing to pose.

Down the Coast to Santa Rosa

Ironically while Jeff and Debbie returned to Portland to visit Max, we headed to California for Leslie’s 50th High School Reunion. Since Jeff and Debbie came up the coast to avoid the smoke in Redding, we decided to do the same thing. It turned out to be a good decision, as we were greeted by sunshine the whole way.

Unfortunately, it seemed to be too early in the year to see the Elk Herds and watch the bull Elk strut their stuff. The only elk we saw was this one resting in the shadows, and he refused to be disturbed by the flocks of tourists lining the road trying to get a shot of it.

The bright sun actually made it even more difficult than usual to get a good shot of the Redwoods, so this shot will have to serve as a placeholder for the shots I’ll attempt on our next trip south.

Despite the lack of photos, it was a very pleasant trip.

A Quick Visit to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Before they went home, Jeff and Debbie wanted to visit Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. I warned them that birding would be slow there, and it was, but they still wanted to see it and seemed to enjoy our visit.

Unfortunately, we heard a lot more birds than we saw, and I ended up focusing on more permanent residents, like this frog

and turtle.

We did see two Great Blue Heron

and a lot of Ring-Billed Gulls,

but that was about it.