Category Archives: river

Eagle Alert!

“Eagle!” my content advisor (as he likes to go by) calls out.  I look out the window in time to see the adult eagle swoop down to the river.  Fumbling with my camera, I watch it land briefly on the rocks, pick something out of the river and continue flying upriver.

Adult Eagle on Alsea River
Adult Eagle on Alsea River

Keeping my eye on him I get my lens cap off, turn on the camera and get out the door onto our deck overlooking the Alsea River near the Oregon Coast.  He landed!  The “eagle has landed”; to borrow a phrase from my childhood.

I hear another eagle chirp every minute or so; like a juvenile keeping in close contact with a parent who has food.  And, sure enough…here comes the kid with a hollow leg.

Juvenile Eagle Joins Parent
Juvenile Eagle Joins Parent

Then another adult flew in to greet the two!

2nd Adult Eagle Flies In
2nd Adult Eagle Flies In

It happened too quick to get a photo of all 3 eagles together.  The camera doesn’t always win when I have to make a split-second choice between watching wildlife and photographing it.  The two adults flew off together and the young one stayed on the rock.  I couldn’t tell if the parent finished eating or left something for Junior.

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Juvenile Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles get their adult plumage in about 5 years. This one looks like it is beginning to get its white head feathers.

4-5 year-old Bald Eagle
4-5 year-old Bald Eagle

Doin’ the Hokey Pokey on the Alsea River

I love to watch the winter ducks on the Alsea River.

Female Common Merganser
Female Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser
Male Common Merganser
Put your right foot in – put your right foot out
Male Common Merganser
Put your left foot in – put your left foot out
Male Common Merganser
and turn yourself about
Female Barrow’s Goldeneye


What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it’s all about?

Otter family on the Alsea

The otter family can be quiet when they want to.  This family has 4 kits.  The fourth is up in the grass outside the picture frame.

Otter family on Alsea River
Otter family on Alsea River

They were swimming downriver when the one in the video below saw a mudcat (sculpin) that it decided to have for lunch.  I was surprised at how long he kept after that fish until he caught it.  Based on the otter’s moves, that sculpin was pretty experienced at evading danger!


March of the solar lights

It really is useless to keep the solar lights out over the winter in Oregon.  Or maybe it’s just that we live in a valley where the sun rises in the south and sets in the south and there are mountains to our south!?  I know the days are getting longer when the solar lights come out of their winter hiding place and line up to soak up the sun.  Only the darkness will reveal which ones are worth keeping.

solar lights
Solar lights getting ready for daylight savings time

I love how the sun can spotlight a tree!

glowing tree
The late afternoon sun spotlights a tree

We are really lacking rain here in the northwest though.  It makes me worry about what summer will be like.  Hopefully we’ll get enough spring rain to fill up the aquifers.

alsea river
Crystal clear Alsea River

The steelhead and smolts are in the river and therefore the ducks are plentiful.  We even saw an eagle take a swipe at some ducks.

common mergansers on log
Common Mergansers
mallard ducks
Mallards display their spring colors

And more hummers are coming to the feeder.

Rufous Hummingbird at feeder
Rufous Hummingbird at feeder

Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead an hour to take full advantage of the vitamin D opportunities!  Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday morning – don’t be late for church!

Greater Scaups Brave the Alsea

Recent rains raised the Alsea River to 14 feet.  Flood stage here is 18ft.  The clear water gave way to muddy runoff.  Still these brave Greater Scaups came fishing.  A bird’s gotta eat!

scaups fish alsea river banks
Scaups fish the banks

Here’s a look upriver just west of Blackberry Campground this morning.  The rain stopped, dropping the river level 2.5 feet by tonight.

alsea river - 14 ft
Swollen Alsea River – 14 feet

The Greater Scaups fished all day.  How do they see anything in that mud?  It must have something to do with those golden eyes – gives them a sunny outlook!

greater scaups
Greater Scaups

Ducks play peek-a-boo

Diving ducks play peek-a-boo – or maybe they’re just feeding?  Regardless, one second they are there and the next they are gone.

pacific loon
Pacific Loon – South Jetty, Newport, OR

But they are interesting to watch – how long they can stay under, how far they swim before coming back to the surface, do they have anything in their mouth when they surface, how they interact with other birds and animals nearby, etc

common merganser male
Common Merganser – male – Alsea River, Tidewater, Oregon

When the sun is right you can see a green tint to the male merganser’s head.  His red bill makes him a little Christmasy.  🙂

Hip Waders

Great Blue Heron are born with permanent hip boots.  How would it be to walk without feeling your legs or feet?  I wonder if they feel but just don’t feel temperature?  I’ll have to learn Heron so I can ask one.

great blue heron in alsea river
Great Blue Heron

They are such graceful birds; moving slowly, waiting patiently for their prey.

great blue heron in alsea river
If there’s nothing here, he’ll just move on.

The chicks are raised and gone.  Keeping up their health and strength is their sole purpose in life this time of year.  Well, that and to provide beauty for humans.  I doubt he/she is even aware of that purpose.  Otherwise I’d be able to get closer with my camera….and practice my heronish