Category Archives: wildlife

Baby Barred Owl

We could hear a high-pitched bird sound outside our window after dark so we had to investigate.  After some trial and error I finally got a fuzzy photo of the baby Barred Owl.

baby barred owl
baby barred owl

I recorded the sound and it sounds just like other recordings of a baby Barred Owl screech that I found.  Listen here:

 

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Half the Battle

I think I’ve mentioned this before but a recent blog (cravesadventure – Recess Time) reminded me that photography is my playtime.  With camera in hand, I look for beautiful and/or interesting things to photograph.   I love to freeze the moment so I can look into it closer and sometimes study it.  I often research things that I don’t understand.  Then I’ve preserved a reminder, for years to come, that God is amazing and kind in His creations.  He provided beauty and interest and food to enrich our lives, not just for our mere existence.

Spike Bull Elk
Spike Bull Elk

This yearling bull elk has a healthy coat this summer.  His diet is given away by the grass hanging out of his mouth and the grass seeds on his forehead.

I love seeing the incredible-timing photographs of wildlife.  I know how lucky you have to be to get those.  I’ve captured some of those without my knowledge until I’ve gotten back home and downloaded my camera to my laptop.  Half the battle is being in the right place at the right time.  The other half is having my camera pointed in the right direction, and in the right mode, when the incredible happens.  The two yearling elk (in the photo below) stood up on their hind legs and pawed at each other.  I could hear their hooves click as they hit each other.   It lasted 15 seconds and I couldn’t convince them to do it again after I was ready.  Here’s half the battle:

Elk Battle
Half of the Elk Battle

sigh: video of the whole battle would have been more fun

This blog is more of a scrapbook for me than for anyone else.  When I am old and unable to get outside, maybe this blog will be my playtime.  Although, recently, a music artist (Twilly Frost) asked if he could buy rights to one of my photos for his album cover; so that was unexpected and (I admit) flattering.

Elk Calving on Oregon Coast

I was just reading the article below that says the elk are calving a little late this year:  Protective mother elk menaces Gearhart beachgoers

I wonder what causes that?  A long, warmer-than-usual autumn?  Not sure but I’m glad the little ones started showing up.  You can see the difference in size of these calves as the larger one was probably born 3 or 4 weeks earlier than the others.

elk-calves-2

I just think they are adorable with their fluffy coat and white spots.  They outgrow their spots in late fall.  They even have the light brown rump but it is not as pronounced as the adult’s.

elk calf
Fluffy elk calf with spots

The cows leave the main herd before giving birth.  Mom’s leave their calves in the tall grass to rest while she feeds.  If you see a calf with no adult elk around, fight the urge to “save” it.  Do NOT approach it.  The calf is just fine.  You would put the calf in danger.  Mom WILL be back.  See how well they can hide in the tall grass in the photo below.

Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass
Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass

We often see the bull hanging around the cows and calves. Even the yearlings seem concerned or curious when the little ones are crying for mom. The bulls don’t get competitive with the younger bulls until late fall.

We counted 6 calves on this day; July 1, 2017.

elk-calf-injured-1

After I got these photos on the computer I noticed a bright red smudge on the cheek of the calf on the left.  Making sure it wasn’t a photo-glitch, I checked another photo of the calf and it was there too.  I’m guessing it was injured when trying to get through a barbwire fence.  Elk cost ranchers a lot of money by damaging their fences.  But the fence won the battle today.  😦

 

Hay Fever or Elk Fever?

I’m not sure what I have but something is making me sneeze!

These are adult elk lying in tall grass – or hay – I confess that I don’t know the difference.  Anyway, there could be calves with them but you’d never see them.

Elk cows lying in a hay field with only head showing
Looks like the elk are in bloom!

The elk don’t seem to mind the birds collecting insects off their back.  I have hundreds of photos of elk in this area and I’ve never seen birds on their backs.  I wonder if there are more insects than normal this summer?

birds eat insects on elk back
Hitching a ride or meal?

Looks like this little guy is also blossoming. He was born last summer so his antlers are just now starting to grow.  By the end of the summer he’ll have a good set of spikes.

brand new antlers on bull elk
brand new antlers on bull elk

Of course his daddy is fully grown and lookin’ good!

Elk in velvet
Elk in velvet

Becoming Comfortable with Beauty

Last week’s SS lesson talked about gaining knowledge. The teacher asked “why do you think it is important to ‘read out of the best books’ ?” He pointed out that the scriptures are The best books and we should read from them daily.  But there are others that we should also read.  So, here are my thoughts:

I think our brain is like the rest of our body: Garbage in, garbage out. If we eat harmful things, it will starve our organs of necessary nutrients to function properly. Some substances (like harmful drugs) can actually target certain organs and cause damage quickly. Likewise, we can take harmful things into our mind that will slowly starve it (lack of learning) or even damage it quickly (pornography, hate-speech).

Mom with her Osborne Computer
Mom with her Osborne Computer, 1980-ish

I’ve always liked the analogy that we are each like a puzzle piece that fits into our family puzzle; immediate and extended. We are shaped by those around us and by the choices we make. As we grow older, we have more control over our “shape” as we make more of our own choices. And I’m not just talking about our body shape. 🙂 Our “shape” is who we are comfortable spending time with and the places we are comfortable in. And by “comfortable” I guess I mean “easy.” Routine is comfortable.

When I first moved away from my parents home I remember how good it felt to go back home for a few days. That’s where my shape fit best. The whole environment felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me. I remember years later, after I’d been married for a few years, we weren’t able to be with my parents for Thanksgiving. I not only missed the time talking to them, I even missed falling asleep on the couch after dinner with the sound of the football game on the TV. I’ve never been one to turn on a football game but I did on that Thanksgiving Day.

I know many smokers who want to quit smoking. It seems like the routine of smoking may be harder to quit than the physical addiction to nicotine. My husband was successful when he replaced his smoking routine with a painting routine. He painted a mural at his workplace instead of going on smoke breaks. He broke the pattern of where he walked and how he used his hands during breaks. The mural only took so long, though, so his desire to quit kept him motivated to find other ways to create new patterns and routines.

We don’t have to like the routine we are in for it to be comfortable. Change is hard. It may be the biggest reason an abused person doesn’t leave the abuser. They’ve gotten into a routine. It is comfortable in the sense that they know what to expect; not that they like it but they don’t know anything else. Maybe they don’t think they deserve anything better or they don’t think they are capable of anything better. When we change our shape, some of our closest relationships won’t be as comfortable. Those people either choose to change their shape or leave.

Yes, change is hard but it is so worth it! In the past, I was trapped in a shape I wanted to change. I could see that the men I was attracted to were toxic. I was successful in my career though. And I had good relationships with my family and friends (as far as I know-lol). It was just this one type of relationship that I had trouble with. I had to change my shape. I changed the way I thought about myself. I had to practice seeing the beauty in others as well as in myself. But that also meant I needed to learn to recognize what was harmful to me. I am now blessed with a kind, loving and supportive husband. I’m not done yet. Life is not over. I’m still working on my shape.

lake-house-nighttime
The pathway home

Change is hard. But we CAN change our shape! God created us in HIS image! (Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” also: Moses 2:27, Abraham 4:27, Ether 3:15, Alma 22:12, D&C 20:18)

I think one reason to “read from the best books” (D&C 88:118) is so we can fill our mind with beauty; so we are comfortable hearing beautiful speech. When we look at beautiful scenery and artwork we grow comfortable being in beautiful places. Aren’t we trying to shape our puzzle piece to fit into God’s family puzzle?  Don’t we want to be comfortable in the beauty of Heaven?

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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

Merganser Ducklings

I love it when Mama Merganser parades her little ones past our house on the Alsea River!  One or two always seem to hitch a ride on her back.

Mama merganser with 7 chicks hitching ride
Mama merganser with 7 chicks hitching ride

At least until she dives.  If they’re going to get stronger, they’ve got to do it on their own!