Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby birds everywhere-oh my!

The heat wave in the Rogue Valley has ended for awhile so we took advantage of the cooler temperatures Sunday morning and went for a bird walk in North Mountain Park. We were greeted by a park full of baby birds everywhere! See photos below:) We even had a few warblers: 2- MacGillivray's- 1 Wilson's & we think a skulkingYellow Warbler.

American Crows- they have been showing their young the ropes

Barn Swallows are kept busy feeding their babies

This little Robin was sitting tight waiting for it parent

This Robin had too many berries to fly:)

A Black Phoebe watching for some bugs

Black-headed Grosbeak feeding on the ground

I just love these little Bushtits

This is an adult California Towhee that nested in the park

Cedar waxwings in the park- one of the most beautiful birds. This guy is all puffed up about something:)

I think this is a Brown-headed Cowbird juvenile and a Black-headed Grosbeak. The Cowbird was chasing the Grosbeak in the air. Maybe the Grosbeak raised the Cowbird? You can see the Grosbeak's bill is filled with berry juice.

Little Black-tailed Deer fawn

Beautiful male House Finch

I love these Northern Flickers - this is a male Red-shafted subspecies- one of the most colorful of the woodpeckers

Another shot of a Red-shafted Northern Flicker male

Wow! This is a juvenile Rufous Hummingbird taking a break- they migrate to Central America

What a cutie- this little juvenile Song Sparrow is following its parent

The juvenile Western Scrub Jays were all figuring out the "food thing"
This guy has a big plum that it is not quite sure how to eat:)

This little Scrub Jay found the blackberry bush- what a feast

This Jay thinks he owns this bush

He can't decide where to start....

We were very fortunate to have this beautiful Sunday morning in the park. Today the valley is filled with smoke from various forest fires. We need rain:)

In Joy~

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bob's big 50th & more great news!

We celebrated Bob's birthday by taking the bikes up to Diamond Lake- what a gem. It is a mountain lake with an 11 mile bike path that takes you the entire way around the lake. We took off in the morning and headed up 62 towards Diamond Lake which takes you along the Rogue for much of the drive. We stopped in Prospect and found a really great RV park that we will probably stay at while we get our feet on the ground. It sits right along the Rogue River and is right next to the trails that follow the Rogue.
The temperatures were delightful after leaving the 100 degrees in Ashland. We then continued our drive to Diamond Lake. Wow- it is beautiful. We could not believe we had been driving by there for years with out venturing in. At least we have found it now.
We only made it 4 miles due to the fact we had to keep stopping because there was so much bird activity. Lots of Violet-green swallows, we had a group of Robins mobbing a Red-shouldered hawk. Lots of baby Robins crying for their food. At one spot we had an Osprey flying over our heads with flycatchers, warblers, Western Tanagers and an unidentified sparrow. We can't wait to camp there!! As you can see the wildflowers were pretty amazing as well.

On our drive home we got word that our fifth wheel is now at the dealer in Junction City and it will be ready for our walk through on Wednesday the 31st!! OMG! We will camp on site for 2-3 nights until we feel we have a thorough understanding of how everything works and are confident that everything is in working order. We are on our way:)

Ciao for now,


PS- we topped the day of with a small celebration at our local Irish Pub:)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It is really happening!!

The pieces are all coming together like a well orchestrated symphony. The past few weeks have been very full of stress dealing with the details of the solar system, water filters, surge protection and more! After doing so much research on each component of the RV operating systems, all of sudden we had the realization that what we had ordered was for one reason or another not exactly what we are only doing this once and we wanted to get it right. In the past few weeks we set about researching solar systems, water filters, batteries, and surge protectors-- all very critical components of the operating system. With the fifth wheel due any day now we made some even more informed decisions and crossed our fingers.

Everything is here as of today. Bob almost broke his back trying to pick up the 6V AGM batteries. We will be using a dolly to move those to the truck. We are packing up the truck and taking all of these components up to our RV dealer in Junction City for installation next week....the service installers in Junction City will know me very well by the time this is over:)

Keeping you posted as we watch the plan unfold...

B & B

Monday, July 22, 2013

They're back!

The female  rufous humming birds are back in town! They are such bossy pants- chasing all of the Anna's humming birds from all of our 6 feeders.

We always feel best when we are outside connecting with nature. One of our favorite ways to do that is go birding. We have been able to get out and do some fun birding in the last few days on our own and with friends. We had an incredible day at Rye Springs on Saturday. I think the numbers were something like 450 sitings in 5 hours! We had hundreds of juveniles- Hermit Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, Audubon's Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets and more.

There were reports of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo & a California Thrasher on Pilot Rock so we took a hike up on Sunday Morning. We did not see the Cuckoo or Thrasher but we did see lots of other birds such as; Spotted Towhees, Oak Titmice, Chipping Sparrows  & Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers to name a few and they were all with their young.

This morning we took a hike up Grizzly Peak. It was a beautiful morning. We were greeted by Golden-crowned Kinglets, MacGillivray's Warbler & a few juvenile Hermit Warblers. We went on up the trail and met up with families of Steller's & Gray Jays in the forest. Once we reached the summit we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Mountain Quail and her young!! This was the first time either of us have had the opportunity to see this bird. Here are a few photos from today. You can always check out more photos at the Flickr link on the right hand side of the page under links.
                                                         Black-headed Grosbeak
                                                       Brown Creeper
                                                      Golden-crowned Kinglet
                                                       Hairy Woodpecker
                                                       House Wren
                                                        Mountain Quail
                                                         Northern Flicker
                                                           Red-breasted Nuthatch
                                                          Red-breasted Nuthatch
Good night,

Bettina & Bob

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Our 1st purchase for our new life on the road

Well, we made our first purchase towards our new life on the road in the beginning of June. Our 1 Ton, Crew Cab, long bed diesel Silverado is a well engineered machine. Our truck will be towing our new home on wheels, a 35' Arctic Fox fifth wheel as soon as it is ready to go, hopefully by the last week of July. The details involved and the" simplification of our life" process has been a bit overwhelming at times but it feels like it is starting to come together.

A little background, Bob & I love the outdoors and being in nature. We are crazy about birds and passionate about trying to figure out ways we can help the environment and the birds deal with the constant pressures of humankind around the world. We were lucky enough to be selected to participate in a nest count on Midway Atoll counting Albatross nests for U.S. Fish & Wildlife. It changed our lives! It helped us to realize that what we wanted to focus on was getting out there and volunteering in our country's wildlife refuges.

We are simplifying and going on the road to see how we can help. Our first engagement is with the Nature Conservancy at Zumwalt Prairie Preserve for the month of September. This is one of the largest prairies left in North America. We are then scheduled to head to the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge on the Colorado River in Arizona for October & November. And then hopefully back to Midway Atoll in December!!

We will keep you posted as our tale unfolds......