Sunday, May 4, 2014

First Year Service & Big Swainson Surprise

We entered into the Grande Ronde Valley with the Blue Mountains on the West and the Wallowas on the East on a beautiful spring day. This is beautiful country. We were here to take care of some business and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.

Bob & I made an appointment to have Shak3 serviced at the original manufacturer, Northwoods, in La Grande, OR 6 months in advance for a mid April appointment. This was the first annual service for our new home.

As we rushed from Ashland to La Grande after completing the sale of the house, car, etc, we had  the most extraordinary experience in the Northwoods parking lot. Just feet away from our trailer parked in an industrial parking lot, were a pair of dark morphed Swainson's Hawks.These birds migrate all the way from Argentina!! They amazingly have great fidelity to their natal nesting sites and will continue to return to the same areas year after year no matter the condition of the environment. We were shocked to see these incredibly beautiful hawks mating and nesting in this sterile industrial human environment. At one point, we witnessed the mating of the male and female Swainson's.

Swainson in flight around the parking lot

Swainsons mating across the street from the parking lot where we were parked

Male Swainson's Hawk

Once our trailer was in for service we had time to explore La Grande, OR. We found an amazing multi-agency run refuge called Ladd Marsh. It includes over 6,000 acres of the largest remaining wetlands in northeast Oregon.

It looks like these Black-necked Stilts might be making a nest

Male Cinnamon Teal

Yellow-headed Blackbird
Gadwall in flight

Male and Female Redheads
What a singer the Meadowlarks are!

The Great Horned Owl has an owlet just peaking out of the nest!!

We have never heard so many American Bitterns as our walk in Ladd Marsh needless to say seeing so many of them flying! Maybe because of mating season?


Who is this? 

I added a few photos that were intended to be included. Ladd Marsh is a special place!

In Joy,


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