Tag Archives: pied-billed grebe

Stormy Day on the Alsea River

We had high wind warnings today.  No damage done here and electricity stayed on.  It was mostly gusty and rainy.

fall colors alsea river
Fall colors on the Alsea River

 I am grateful for a talented husband who built a cover over our deck!  I enjoyed the sound of the wind rushing across the hilltops through the trees and watching it ruffle the surface of the Alsea River.

king fishing the alsea
These are NOT fair-weather fisher-people

We did only see one boat on the river today though.

western grebe
A lone Western Grebe

This was the first time in a while that I’ve seen a Western Grebe here.

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

The Pied-billed Grebe is becoming my favorite duck.  They are just so dang cute!  We’ve had 2 hanging around for the last several days.  They keep their distance from each other so sometimes I have to really watch to know whether there are 2 or just one.  I haven’t heard their call but I’ve read it is pretty loud.

Pied-billed Grebe

The Pied-billed Grebes are such cute little diving ducks!

pied-billed grebe

They hardly have any tail at all.  These grebes have unusually thick bills to help them crush large crustaceans.  This is a good sign that we have crawdads!

pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Pied-billed grebes are “part bird and part submarine”.  “They can adjust their buoyancy and often use this ability to float with just the upper half of the head above the water. They catch small fish and invertebrates by diving or simply slowly submerging.”

Footprints in the Snow

Not sure if it was a raccoon or a skunk who made these tracks.  Being a glass-half-full kind of a person, though, I prefer to think it was a raccoon.  The other half is trying to scare me into thinking it was a skunk.

raccoon tracks in snow
Raccoon tracks in the snow

Here’s a size comparison:

raccoon snow tracks
Compared to a Ladies’ size 8

He inspected the whole yard.

Beaver Snow Sculpture
Alsea River Beaver

I’m sure they aren’t beaver tracks.  But it appears they ran into each other.

Beaver Snow Sculpture

Aaawwwwhhh, look at the cute pied-billed grebe!

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

She might have thought she found the perfect nesting place until she realized the tide was going out and it would leave her high and dry.

What sound does a human make?

I always wonder what sounds different birds make.  I’m reminded of playing the learning game with our small grandchildren; asking What sound does a pig make?  What sound does a cow make?  And we imitate the sounds.  I like to sit outside and listen, when there are no man-made sounds, just to see what I can hear.  It’s usually a very relaxing thing to do.  I say “usually” because listening in the dark can be a little spooky.

The sounds in the above video are actually from the little birds in the feeder nearer to me.  I didn’t hear the grebe make a sound.

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

The grebe was aware of me because, every time I walked to get a better shot of him, he swam away.

It made me wonder if they listen to humans?  Would it be as relaxing to them to hear the sounds we make?  I’m sure it would depend on the sounds we are making.  Aside from an occasional saw, our yard is a pretty peaceful-sounding place to me.  I hope the ducks feel the same way and hear more laughter than sadness, more kind words than harsh and more hopefulness than whining.  And I hope if they play the game, “What sound does a human make?” with their young ones, that the sound is a happy one.

Eckman Lake Ducks

Eckman Lake, near Waldport Oregon, gets pretty busy with ducks in the fall.

gadwall and ring-necked duck
Left-to-right: male Gadwall, male Ring-necked Duck

I’ve been trying to take the time for a month to stop and take a closer look.

american wigeon, gadwall, pied-billed grebe
Left-to-right: male and female American Wigeon, male Gadwalls, Pied-billed Grebe

I was alone this afternoon and didn’t get any back-talk when I said to myself, “Self, you should stop and take a closer look at those ducks.”

american wideon and ring-necked ducks
Left-to-right: male American Wigeon, Male Ring-necked ducks, maybe 1 female Ring-necked duck

I have to admit, though, I needed help in identifying them.  Range Bayer, local bird expert, knew exactly what they were when I showed him my pix.

I don’t know who named the ring-necked duck.  The only ring I see is around their bill.

Bufflehead and ?

I can see that the bird in the foreground is a Bufflehead but I’m not sure what the one in the background is.  Could it be a female Bufflehead?


I have SO many blessings in my life….family being one of the highest on my list, 2nd only to Jesus Christ and God the Father.

The Sabbath always recharges my batteries and General Conference weekend provides an extra dose of the Spirit.  Talks from the prophets are so applicable to what is happening in our world at this time.  I am grateful for loving parents and the happy childhood they provided for me.  We are excited to see our children and grandchildren in a week.  It has been a couple years since we’ve seen our grandchildren and we miss watching them grow up.  Facebook watching is not the same thing.

So, anyway, no bears today but I was a little nervous about walking alone down our long and winding road.

Our Road

I asked Don if he wanted to go for a walk with me.  He’s scared of bears and knows I can out run him so he didn’t want to go.

I was “trying” to whistle, in case there was a bear around, so he’d hear me coming.

I really can’t whistle.  It could only be described as making a high-pitched hissing noise through my teeth.  Any self-respecting bear would take a wide berth of such an annoying noise…. or slap me silly… but I was hoping for the former.

Spooky Spider

So I’m walking and high-pitched-hissing and looking up the hills as I go.  As I looked back to where I’m walking I see a spider suspended right in front of my face!  AAAaaaaaa!  I’m SO glad I didn’t walk into him!  I know he’s not as big as a bear but the thought of it crawling on my face creeps me out!

Common Mergansers

It was a pretty calm day on the river.  Mergansers, mallards, a pied-billed grebe, kingfishers and 2 different kinds of hawks.  There was a small hawk today; maybe a Kestrel or a falcon?  I didn’t get a picture.

A few fish are jumping but the rains are very late this year.  Those salmon must be crossing their legs out in the ocean!

Today is for Listening

A cool, crisp day started off with Music and the Spoken Word and some uplifting talks from General Conference over XM radio while we watch the tide come and go in the Alsea River.

God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth to be used in that proportion….but I have 10 fingers and use them all to type. 🙂

Diving Duck
Pied-billed Grebe

I can see out our picture window from the couch.  A perfect place to listen to the spiritual messages.

“Ppplllllllththththththth! Missed Me, you missed me!” says the fishy.

  I saw a hawk fly by with something in his claws about an hour earlier.

Drift Fishing
Drift Fishing

Grandpa or Dad (couldn’t tell from the distance) took the kids for a boat ride.  It was the wrong time of the tide but who goes out in the drift boat without fishing gear.  He had a bobber and bait rigged up but he really didn’t have time to leave it in the water long enough.  (Dads you know the drill.)

Wooley Bugger
Wooley Bugger

The first session of Conference was over so I went for a walk and got some hints on what flies to tie.

Yellow Catepillar
I guess there are yellow wooly buggers too?

After my walk, I moved some rocks around the yard, then took a shower before the afternoon session of Conference.

As we were listening and watching the river I suddenly saw a black bear walking quickly along the other side of the river.  All I could say, as I frantically searched for the camera, was “bear…bear…bear…BEAR…camera…Don!   bear!”

Bear on the Alsea River
Bear on the Alsea River

That’s a BIG bear!

Black Bear on Alsea
Big Black Bear

How exciting!  We’ve had bear sightings and evidence in our campgrounds but I’ve never seen them or gotten a photo.

THEN, Don spotted this on OUR side of the river; on the lot next to us.

Is that really bear poop? Impressive!

I don’t see any berries (or bear bells) but what else could have made this?

Look how big!!!

HHhhhmmmm…I’m re-thinking my walks…where are my bear bells?