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.

I’ve Fallen Behind and Can’t Seem to Catch Up

One of the best things I’ve taken up lately is hiking/walking with Paul and Leslie once a week. This time of year flowering is definitely better than birding, and, since Paul hadn’t been to Bloedel for years, we convinced him to join us on our walk.

This time of year, the hydrangea take center stage.

If you look closely, you’ll find some unique varieties.

Not sure what these flowers are, but they beautifully complement the hydrangea.

Of course, a visit to Bloedel wouldn’t be complete without finding a rare plant we’ve never seen before and don’t have a clue what it might be.