Tag Archives: coast

Kingfisher and Brush Rabbit

Since archery season opened last week I haven’t seen 1 elk!

I still see the black-tailed doe with her spotted twins but not as often.  No one is eating the early apples falling from our trees.

So my focus has turned to birds.

Belted Kingfisher in tree
Find the Kingfisher

Hint:  He’s got a black head, white collar and grey back and he is smack-dab in the middle of the photo.

I hear the kingfisher many times during the day.  He chatters as he flies up or down the Alsea River.  He’ll even land in our nearby tree.  But he is SO aware of his surroundings that I cannot sneak out to get a good photo of him.  This photo is when he landed in a tree 40 yards away.  I saw about where he landed and tried to find him in my lens.  I couldn’t see him until I got it onto the computer.  This is a Belted Kingfisher.  They differ from the Ringed Kingfisher in the color of their belly.

I love watching the kingfishers fish.  Sometimes they hover high above the water and then dive straight down into it to catch their prey.  I’ve also seen them dive in at an angle.  But they aren’t like the eagle or osprey; who don’t seem to break stride when they catch.  Kingfishers go under water and seem to struggle under the weight of their wet feathers to fly off again.  I haven’t tried to get an action shot since this one last June.

King Fisher Dive
King Fisher Dive

Another skiddish critter around here is the Brush Rabbit (I prefer Brush Bunny).  The Brush Bunny is an Oregon native and of the cottontail family.  Some people are convinced that the bunnies seen in Tillicum Campground are pygmy rabbits but those only live in the dense sagebrush areas of southeast Oregon. (reference: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/species/docs/rabbit.pdf)

brush bunny
Brush Bunny

Why did the bunny cross the road?

To get to the other side.

Was that joke funny when it was about chickens?  Or was it because I was 6?

Otter Family!

We’re not sure if this is the same family we’ve seen before with 4 kits.  Dad must be on a fishing trip.

Although these photos are mine and taken on the Alsea River, Oregon, I got the scoop on them from here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/river_otters.html

Everything in italics is from me.

Otter kit sneakin' a drink
Sneakin’ a drink

At 8 to 10 weeks the young otters start exploring outside their den and are introduced to solid food.  That one’s not too old to forget that mama has yummy milk though.

Otter mom with kits
I think I’ve been made

River otters are active day and night; around humans they tend to be more nocturnal. Otters spend their time feeding and at what appears to be group play.

Otters playing and drying their fur
Playing and drying their fur

They also dry their fur, groom themselves, and mark their territory by vigorously scratching, rubbing, and rolling on the ground. River otters are active year round, and, except for females with young in a den, are constantly on the move.

otter mom with kits
Sticking close to mom

They tend to follow a regular circuit that is covered in one to four weeks. Males can travel 150 miles within a particular watershed and its tributaries in a year. A family may range 10 to 25 miles in a season.

As they frolicked up the river, past a great blue heron, they left our sight.  At one point we started hearing a high-pitched bark or, it was more of a chirp.  I thought it was an osprey but there was nothing in the sky.  The sound seemed to come from different places, first one side of the river and then the other.  We couldn’t see the otters anymore.  The heron didn’t fly away immediately when the chirping started but eventually did.  We’re sure it was an alarm sound from one of them but not sure which one was in trouble or how.