Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two weeks back in Marshfield

After the long vacation driving to the west coast we have been back in Marshfield for a couple of weeks. Upon our return I have taken it easy at work partially by choice and also as a result of my work computer being on the fritz and a light headcold and earache. I can now say that I have a different computer updated with Windows 7 at school and that my earache is gone. Looking back though I think I just wanted an excuse to sleep in every other day.

Christine and I have enjoyed being back with Michaela and Danielle, they have been great snuggle buddies and lots of fun since returning. One of the first things to do upon our return was feed the ducks in the lovely weather on the weekend. Both girls love feeding the ducks and geese at Wildwood Park, but neither is patient enough to let them eat out of their hands.


We returned to Wildwood Zoo on Wednesday for a program on 'Nocturnal Animals' put on by the Minnesota Zoo. The girls were interested and Michaela raised her hand to be a volunteer when the time came. As a result both of us were up front touching African millipedes.

Danielle showed off her ingenuity and lack of patience one afternoon, using her fingers to eat chocolate pudding rather than using a spoon. Simple moments like this remind me that we should keep a close watch on them...less something worse happen.

After unsuccessfully trying to fix my work computer myself, I caved in last Friday and asked the computer staff to reformat it. The two main student workers are great and I had both in at least one of my classes last year. As a result I had a short day at school on Friday. We had great weather and I thought it was time to finally tackle the broken hatchback on my Jeep. After half an hour I found out a molded plastic piece had slid sideways, prohibiting the latch or lock from working. Sliding it back to one side and the problem I avoided for three years was fixed. If you look carefully in the picture below, you can see that avoiding a problem for three years does have consequences.

This past weekend we rode the five mile bike route at McMillian Marsh on Saturday and planned on doing the seven mile route at Mead Wildlife Area on Sunday. Alas the weather did not cooperate and we still have not rode the Mead bike trail. We are very strongly considering upgrading our bikes, as we both enjoy bike rides with the girls in the backseats. Hopefully we'll get out more often.

We were back at the zoo this week on Wednesday for 'Raptors of the Region'. The presenter was full of knowledge, but showing off only a Red-tailed Hawk and Great Horned Owl prolonged the hour for the kids. The weather has been fairly nice since our return, as we've avoided most of the passing storms until today...which gives me time to catch up on a blog post!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trip Bird Report: Day 11 through 19

After fast paced life birds first ten days of the trip, birding slowed down a bit after returning to Oregon City. I had a wonderful time at my economics conference, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, and presenting a paper....even though there was limited birding.

During the week I had evening walks around the golf course. Band-tailed Pigeons* visited Steven & Aubrey's yard, but unfortunately were not tame enough to give a good photo opportunity. Christine and I visited Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach one afternoon, spotting Tufted Puffins* and Brown Pelicans* in constant rain before heading back to Oregon City.

Time flew by quickly in Oregon City, which culminated with a hike at Salmon Creek in Mt Hood National Forest on July 4th and catching "shaker" sturgeons on the Willamette the next day before heading off on our drive back east toward Minnesota.

After a bit of deliberation we ended up birding Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the drive back east in addition to birding it our first day on the drive west. The weather was much kinder this time around, offering us opportunities to take pictures of Western Grebes, Purple Martins (1st & 2nd picture in addition to below), Upland Sandpipers, and Swainson's Hawks. We did not find any new life birds on the drive back, but I guess that would have been asking too much. Attempting to take pictures of flying purple martins was hilarious, but then again maybe it was sleep deprivation.

What a trip. I absolutely loved all the new birds, knowing that I likely missed as many as I observed in each location. Below are bird and scenic pictures from the trip.