Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is located adjacent to Bowerman Airport in Hoquiam. It occupies just 2% of the intertidal habitat in Grays Harbor estuary yet hosts up to 50% of migrating shorebirds. The mudflats here are the last to be flooded at high tide and the first to be exposed as the tide recedes.
I decided to take up photography in September, 2011. Two things happened to prompt that. One, my arthritic hip was getting worse and starting to limit my activities. Two, my 12-year-old point-and-shoot camera with 3X optical zoom quit zooming. An online friend of mine, N, had recently purchased a Fujifilm HS20-EXR bridge camera with 30X optical zoom and I was impressed with the photos she was posting, so I bought one for myself. And that was the beginning of my photo-taking hobby.
One of my favorite places to go for a daytrip is the Washington coast and, in particular, the area around Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. The town of Raymond, located where the Willapa River enters the bay, is just 70 miles and 1½ hours from home. I have passed through it many times on my way to explore Washaway Beach or the fishing town of Westport.
On this trip, my main goal was to look for migrating shorebirds. I knew the Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival was coming up soon, and it spotlights the migrating birds, as well as year round residents. We have had a warm spring, so the migrating birds might already have come and gone, but it was worth a try and as good an excuse for daytripping as any. Besides, I had a new camera to try out. A quick check of the tide tables told me it would be low tide in Willapa Bay around 2:30 the next day (Sunday, April 26) and low tide is a great time to look for shorebirds foraging in the mudflats exposed by low tide. And that was that.
On Saturday, 7 March, I trekked south to the Portland area to visit my parents and do some sales-tax-free shopping. As I drove south on the I-5 freeway past the town of Kalama, I glanced to my right at a towering totem pole near the Columbia River waterfront. That pole has been there for years, but I have never stopped to have a closer look and I determined to investigate on my return trip.
This morning, we got a call from the mechanic in Toledo, saying he was done with the scheduled maintenance on my car. Always conscious of my 365 challenge on Flickr, I took my camera. After getting the car, DH went on home in the truck and I headed for South County Park.
Just across the Cowlitz River from Toledo, South County Park is centered around a former gravel pit that is now a lovely 14 acre pond. It is stocked with fish, has a public boat ramp (though I have never seen a boat in the pond), and has four fishing piers which are also good for watching the resident waterfowl.
This local gem has a paved footpath and I never fail to enjoy myself when I stop there. I tend to forget about it and drive elsewhere to enjoy parks and photograph waterfowl. Why is that?
KLUTZ (noun, slang): A clumsy, awkward, or foolish person; uncoordinated.
Years ago, when I bought a house in a new housing development in a San Diego suburb, I had a perfect opportunity to make new friends. Everybody was new. Everybody was at least cordial and many were friendly.
Portlandia is a 35-foot-tall hammered copper statue. Portlandia is a satirical TV series. To my mind, Portlandia speaks to the ecclectic culture of Portland, Oregon.
According to Wikipedia, Portland is “known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values, and beer and coffee enthusiasm. Portland is home to a large number of independent microbreweries, microdistilleries and food carts that contribute to the unofficial slogan ‘Keep Portland Weird’. In comparing Portland to New York City and San Francisco, Lonely Planet writer Becky Ohlsen said, ‘Something about how cheap and isolated Portland is, allows oddballs to explore odd behavior without being squished by economics or the harsh judgment of fashion people.'”
Have you ever drawn a line in the sand?
Have you ever said, “The line must be drawn here. This far, no further!”
If you haven’t, maybe you should.
If you do it often, maybe you should reconsider.
Continue reading “Drawing a Line in the Sand”
I have a long-standing love affair with the seasons of transition: spring and fall. In springtime, I would say it is my favorite season, but when autumn arrives, I contradict myself and say, No, autumn is best. On October 16th, the autumn day flaunted all it’s glory for the enjoyment of any who cared to notice. And I did care to notice.
I left my home in west central Washington and drove east on US-12 over White Pass in the Cascade Mountains to Yakima in the east central part of the state. The sky was blue, dotted with cotton-ball clouds. The leaves were turning color. And the apple harvest in the Yakima Valley was luscious.
Ridgefield NWR is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River between Vancouver and Woodland. Unlike most other refuges, this one is a drive-through wild area. With few exceptions, visitors are required to stay in their cars and drive a 4.2 mile loop through grassland, woodland, and marshland. The refuge utilizes dikes, canals, and pumps to simulate the seasonal water level changes that used to happen before dams changed the Columbia River.
Ridgefield has thousands of migratory bird visitors as well as many year-round residents. Because of that, and the seasonal water level changes, there is always something different to see. I make a point of visiting there three or four times a year, so you can expect to see more photoshoot blogs starring the birds of Ridgefield in the future.