Candids of Critters: LAPC

Sometimes you get lucky when you’re taking candids of critters. This little burrowing owl gave me a knowing wink right when I took its picture.

Candids of critters. Burrowing owl blinking. Oregon

We visited the Caswell Sculpture Garden in Troutdale, Oregon a couple days ago. This sculpture of two great blue herons is right by the entrance.

Great blue heron sculpture by Rip Caswell, Troutdale, Oregon

I noticed a movement near the willows right behind this sculpture. I spied a real great blue heron!

Great blue heron, Troutdale, Oregon

This ground squirrel didn’t want me to know where it was hiding its cache. It had so much in its cheek pouches it could barely walk.

Candids of critters. Ground squirrel, Bend, Oregon

These spotted pigs look content in this shot, but one of the piglets had just escaped its enclosure. I scooped it up and returned it to its family.

Pig and piglets. Hood River, Oregon

There are lots of opportunities to take candids of critters right on our property. This morning I was out walking my dogs and I noticed this orange tabby cat. He blended in so well with the plants around him that my dogs didn’t even notice him.

Orange tabby hiding in the weeds Bend, Oregon

I took this candid shot of my dog, Shelby, relaxing on the window seat. See her ball right next to her head? She is dreaming of when she can play fetch again. 😀

Candids of critters Dog sleeping with ball

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Candid

Furry & Feathered Frame Fillers: LAPC

I decided to feature some furry & feathered frame fillers for this week’s lens-artists photo challenge. The challenge is Filling the Frame. Here are some photos I took at Yellowstone National Park.

This high-flying eagle is in a small museum near Fishing Bridge. It looked so real swooping over our heads.

furry & feathered, Bald eagle, Yellowstone National Park

We saw this pronghorn buck near Mammoth Hot Springs. Most people drove right past him. You have to learn to look for pieces that don’t quite fit into the landscape puzzle to spot wildlife.

Pronghorn buck reclining, Yellowstone National Park

This killdeer almost looks like a museum mount but we saw it near Dragon’s Cauldron defending its territory.

furry & feathered, killdeer at Yellowstone National Park

This coyote was in the museum at Mammoth Hot Springs. It was an interesting mount. Lots of action.

Coyote mount , Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

This raven kept an eye on me when I hiked to Morning Glory Geyser — one of my favorite places in Yellowstone. This raven and a companion had just taken a bath in the hot spring in the background.

Raven near Morning Glory, Yellowstone National Park

This gray wolf rested in the sun at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Visitors get up close looks at native wildlife and learn what to do to preserve it for future generations.

Furry & feathered, Gray wolf at Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, Montana

Even if you don’t have a giant telephoto lens, there are great opportunities to capture furry & feathered frame fillers at Yellowstone.

One smart squirrel: Fan of… & AOTD

I watched one smart squirrel figure out how to get around the “squirrel-proof” cover on this bird feeder. It knocked seeds to the ground and feasted on them. Clever little creature.

Chickaree squirrel, High Desert Museum, Oregon
One smart squirrel, High Desert Museum, Oregon

I watched squirrels at other feeders here on another day and they gave me quite the scolding. Here’s a short poem I wrote about them.

Fan of… #35 ; AOTD

Revisiting Steens Mountain: LAPC

On a recent trip revisiting Steens Mountain, I thought back on what this place looked like decades before. When I got home, I browsed my photos and realized several pictures I took on this trip were taken in nearly the exact same spot.

Places seem to me to have some kind of memory, in that they activate memory in those who look at them.

W. G. Sebald

Some places call you back to them. While revisiting Steens Mountain this summer, I realized it is one of those places for me.

Here are a few “then” and “now” pictures I took of the Steens.

East Rim Steens Mountain Oregon
Then: From the East Rim with the Alvord Desert in the background
Revisiting Steens Mountain, Oregon
Now: From the East rim with the Alvord Desert in the background
Driving east from Hart Mountain, Oregon
Then: The road east to Steens Mountain, Oregon
Revisiting Steens Mountain
Now: The road east to Steens Mountain
Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain, Oregon
Then: Kiger Gorge
Kiger Gorge, Oregon 28August2019
Now: Kiger Gorge

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick a Place

Friday Flowers with a Friend

Friday lowers with a friend

I’m treasuring Friday flowers with a friend before the weather changes. It was warm and sunny here yesterday but snow is predicted this weekend. The weather in the high desert is always interesting. 😁

Friday Flowers

Camp Hart Mountain: Monochrome Monday

Camp Hart Mountain, Oregon 27 September 2019

Camp Hart Mountain was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and operated from 1937 to 1941. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge , established in December of 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, helped protect pronghorn antelope.

The CCC crew stationed at Camp Hart Mountain helped with many projects such as building roads, stringing telephone lines, and building new structures. After their work was completed, most of the buildings at the camp were taken down. The building in the distance was the infirmary and it’s the only historical building remaining at this site. There is currently an RV campground located here.

By the way, I worked at Hart Mountain years ago and saw pronghorn regularly. Here’s a story of one such encounter.

In this land…Oregon countryside : LAPC

In this land near Diamond, Oregon 29August2019
Near Diamond, Oregon

In this land, Nature weaves colorful tapestries into the earth and sky

Pronghorn buck, Hart Mountain
Pronghorn buck, Hart Mountain

And creates havens for its creatures to pause and rest

In this land, Alvord Desert, Oregon 28 August 2019
Alvord Desert

In this land, pale sandy deserts settle in some basins

Warner Valley, Oregon 27 August 2019
Warner Valley

While water collects in others

In this land, Hart Mountain, Oregon from the west 27 August 2019
Hart Mountain viewed from the west

In this land, mountains tilt and rise above sagebrush plains

Big Indian Gorge, Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019
Big Indian Gorge, Steens Mountain

Where glacial sculptors carve them into works of art

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Countryside/ Small towns

California Quail near Winter Ridge: BOTD

California quail near Winter Ridge in Central Oregon. 30 March 2018.
California quail near Winter Ridge in Central Oregon. 30 March 2018.

This lone California Quail perched on a fence post near Winter Ridge and called loudly. Listen to the distinctive Chi-ca-go call of the California quail.

All About Birds describes this bird as “a handsome, round soccer ball of a bird with a rich gray breast, intricately scaled underparts, and a curious, forward-drooping head plume.” A great description of this bird!

I’m lucky that they are common where I live and sometimes even show up in my garden.

Granny Shot It – BOTD

Magic in the Wind Haiku: LAPC

Magic in the wind, Nevada 29August2019
Magic in the wind. Windmill in Fort Rock, Oregon 30May2019
Windmill in Fort Rock, Oregon 9June2016

Magic in the wind
Pushes whirling windmill blades
Creating power

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical

When the flower blossoms: Sunshine’s Macro Monday

When the flower blossoms

When the flower blossoms, the bee will come.

Srikumar Rao

Sunshine’s Macro Monday

Killdeer in the rushes: BOTD

Killdeer in the rushes, Yellowstone National Park 30May2018

Killdeer in the rushes bordering a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. I assume they have tough feet since we saw them regularly wading into the hot springs in various locations.

Granny Shot It – BOTD

Flying Saucer Cloud: Monochrome Monday

Flying saucer cloud, Steens Mountain, Oregon 28 August 2019

I saw this flying saucer cloud hovering near Steens Mountain a few days ago. I see why lenticular clouds, like this one for example, are often called UFO clouds.

Monochrome Monday

Mellow fellow, Calypso Blue: LAPC

I dug through my archives to find pictures of this mellow fellow we once had as a pet. Calypso Blue was a miniature horse and he measured 32 inches at his withers. He was one of the mellowest horses I ever met. His companion, Scooby, pictured here, was a lot more feisty.

Mellow fellow miniature horse 9January2019

I’m posting these because I noticed that one of the Icelandic horses in Leya’s post on the Precious Pets photo challenge looked a lot like Calypso Blue.

Mellow fellow is a photograph of a miniature horse

I think I took these photos on the day we bought him. It took a LONG time to brush out that mane and tail.

Photograph of a miniature horse

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but underneath all that mane he had piercing blue eyes. We sold him when we moved. This mellow fellow went to a home with a little girl who showered him with affection.

Peaceful pets at rest: LAPC

This post shows peaceful pets at rest in our home. Yes, they can be very active, but these pictures focus on their time asleep.

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France

Taking a little cat nap

Peaceful pets. Cat asleep on a dog bed 13 June 2016
Motor sound asleep

Our cat, Motor, was very happy to see I bought a new dog bed. He was the first to try it out.

Two cats asleep in a La-Z-Boy chair
Lazy boy (and girl) in the La-Z-Boy chair

In this picture, Motor is doing his best imitation of a waterfall. Kitty can’t bear to watch this cliffhanger.

Peaceful pets. Cat sleeping on computer tower
Kitty sleeping on the computer tower

She likes to sleep on top of the warm computer tower. Sometimes Kitty sleeps so soundly she rolls right off.

This is the expression she gave me when she learned I bought a new camera. I think she was less than thrilled.

Cat and dog asleep together on one bed
Tesla and Kitty sharing a bed

Our peaceful pets get along well. Tesla and Kitty sometimes sleep on the same bed.

Kitty is a Pixie-Bob cat. This breed is known for its “dog-like personality.” She’s taking that part a little too seriously in this picture.

Kitty, like other Pixie-Bobs, loves to play fetch. Pixie-Bobs can also be trained to walk on a leash.

Dogs having their day

Peaceful pets. Tesla the dog in front of a Tesla car.
Two Teslas at rest

Tesla, the dog, gives a big smile as she rests in front of Tesla, the car. Like her namesake, she can run fast and last a long time on a charge.

Two dogs resting on the grass
Tesla teaching Shelby how to play “Dog”

Our new dog is named “Shelby.” Both of our dogs are rescue dogs. Tesla is in the process of showing Shelby how to be a dog.

Dog rolling on its back in the grass
“You mean like this?”

After that lesson, she got the hang of it!

Peaceful pets. A dog resting on a patterned carpet
Shelby taking a well-deserved rest

I think sometimes the best training is to rest.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Precious Pets

Surrounded by color & texture

Color & texture in Bend, Oregon 9August2019

Color & texture surround you as you sit on this comfortable bench in Bend, Oregon.

Pull up a seat challenge

Finding Different Angles: LAPC

Angles are often used in art and architecture and are also found in nature. Here are several photos that show art and nature from different angles.

This sculpture of a flock of birds zigzags down a foyer and flutters around the corner of a building in downtown Bend, Oregon.

Different angles Bird sculpture, Bend, Oregon 17August2019
Bird sculpture

Swallows collect beakfuls of mud to create these nests along the roof angles at Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Oregon.

Red, white, & blue--swallow nests 30March2018
Red, white, & blue–swallow nests

Columnar basalt forms when volcanic rock cools rapidly. In this picture, at Cove Palisades State Park, the columns formed in different angles. Orange lichens highlight their form.

Different angles basalt at Cove Palisades Park, Oregon 25February2017
Columnar basalt

The fire pit contest is an exciting event at the Oregon WinterFest in Bend, Oregon. Sparks shoot out of this globe-shaped fire pit. Another fire pit behind it is sheltered by a angular tent.

Sparks flying at fire pit contest, Bend, Oregon 12February2016
Sparks flying at fire pit contest

The supporting beams at the Warm Spring Museum are set at different angles in imitation of how shelters from the past were constructed.

Trails of smoke from passing jets form an angle that points toward a field of flowering corn in Silverton, Oregon.

Corn Flowers in Silverton, Oregon 20September2018
Corn flowers

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Angles

Old, new, borrowed, blue gardens: LAPC

old, new, borrowed, blue Daylilies with the Sisters in the background, Oregon 20July2019 20July2019
Day lilies with the Sisters mountains in the background

The challenge for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this weekend is Something old, new, borrowed, and blue. I am highlighting the recent High Desert Garden Tour in Central Oregon.

Something old

I saw many plants I’m familiar with on this tour. Some I knew the names of, others I was like, “Uh… what was your name again?” Fortunately, the plants were labeled or the person whose garden it was could tell you.

Here are some old friends.

Blazing star, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Blazing star
Old, new, borrowed, blue Honeycrisp apple, Madras Oregon 20July2019
Honeycrisp apple
Love-in-a-mist, Culver, Oregon 20July2019
Love-in-a-mist
Japanese umbrella pine Culver, Oregon 20July2019
Japanese umbrella pine
Lacecap hydrangea, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Lacecap hydrangea

Something new

Here are some new-to-me plants. As I add to our landscaping, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting plants.

One of the stops this year was at the Oregon Agricultural Experimental Station in Madras. They offer a ton of information about plants.

Old, new, borrowed, blue Spanish fir, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Spanish fir (in center of the picture)
Pincushion flower,  Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Pincushion flower
Cosmos, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Cosmos
old, new, borrowed, blue Russian flowering almond, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Russian flowering almond
Moss rose, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Moss rose

Something borrowed

At our first stop on the tour, we saw this lizard at the base of a tree. It looked like someone “borrowed” the end of its tail. No worries! It’s growing a new one.

I wasn’t sure if I could come up with things that were old, new, borrowed, and blue but this lizard helped me out.

Western fence lizard, Madras, Oregon 20July2019
Western fence lizard

Something blue

We saw this spectacular plant growing next to lavender at our last stop. The form is interesting and the blue color is uncommon in plants.

old, new, borrowed, blue Sea holly, Culver, Oregon 20July2019
Sea holly

It was a day filled with visits to colorful gardens in Madras and Culver. As always, the tour was very inspiring! Here are some of the things I saw last year on the tour.

To end the perfect day, I won a gift certificate for a local plant nursery in the raffle–for the second year in a row! 😀

Bird Not For Sale: BOTD

Bird not for sale, robin nest in grape plant, Bend, Oregon 21July2019

I was visiting one of my favorite plant nurseries recently and saw a little sign on one of their grape plants. It says the plant is not currently for sale because it is occupied by a robin and her hatchlings. In other words, this bird is not for sale. You can see her with her beak pointed up in the air at the top of the picture. She is one proud and protective mother!

Granny Shot It Challenge – BOTD

Cat in the shadows: Monochrome Monday

This cat in the shadows is my cat, Motor. He turned 17 this month and he keeps healthy by getting plenty of beauty sleep.

Cat in the shadows 25July2019

Monochrome Monday

Birds of the Shore: LAPC

Birds of the shore are common in the spring in parts of eastern Oregon. Why? Because flood irrigation is one of the main methods used to water the crops. As the snow melts off surrounding mountains, it collects in rivers and reaches the lower elevations.

Birds of the shore in Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
Harney County basin flood irrigation. Sandhill cranes collecting around the water.

It is released in controlled amounts in the Harney Basin, where 320 bird species congregate. This ancient method of irrigation benefits the rancher and the birdwatcher.

Birds such as sandhill cranes take advantage of all of that water. You can see flocks of them in the photo above and a single bird below.

Sandhill crane, Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
Sandhill crane

Shorebirds

I love seeing delicate long-legged beauties such as black-necked stilts and American avocets.

Black-necked stilt, Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
Black-necked stilt
American avocet, Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
American avocet

If you’re lucky, you may even see a Wilson’s snipe. Yes, they really do exist.

Wilson's snipe, Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
Wilson’s snipe

Flood irrigation creates temporary ponds and lakes with miles and miles of shoreline.

Harney County basin, Oregon 7April2016
Harney County basin

I saw quite a few long-billed curlew this spring. I was dive-bombed by one once when I was too close to her nest. That bill is dangerous looking! It can measure more than eight and a half inches in length.

Birds of the shore, Long-billed curlew, Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
Long-billed curlew

Waterfowl

Thousands of Ross’ and snow geese congregate in this area.

Ross' and snow geese, Harney County, Oregon 7April2016
Ross’ and snow geese

Waterfowl are common in the ponds and lakes. Here is a raft of ducks. This image is a little blurry but I included it to show the difference between canvasbacks and redhead ducks. The pair on the far left are redheads. See how the plumage is more gray? There are lots of opportunities to get clear views of many species.

Canvasback ducks and redhead ducks, Harney County, Oregon 12April2019
Redhead and canvasback ducks

You may see elegant swans as well. Trumpeter and tundra swans have been seen here.

Birds of the shore, Trumpeter swan, Summer Lake, Oregon 1November2017
Trumpeter swan

Special finds

You will be amazed when you spot unique birds of the shore, such as this American bittern. Keep your binoculars handy when traveling through this country in the spring and you will be rewarded.

Birds of the shore, American bittern, Harney County, Oregon 8April2016
American bittern

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Seascapes and/or lakeshore

Raptors in Eastern Oregon

Birds of Prey Tour

I saw plenty of raptors on a Birds of Prey tour in the wide-open country of Harney County, Oregon last April. We ventured briefly into the Malheur National Forest in search of eagles. Though we didn’t see any eagles, we did get a nice view of an American kestrel.

Raptors in Malheur National Forest, American kestrel 13April2019
American kestrel

We saw immature and mature bald eagles later that day. It’s always exciting to see them.

Some of the wildlife out there was keeping an eye on us. This herd of elk on a distant ridge top watched us for a while.

Rocky Mountain Elk, Harney County, Oregon 13April2019
Rocky Mountain Elk

Raptors were common and we saw many of them perched on fenceposts and telephone poles.

Raptors field trip, Swainson's hawk, Harney County, Oregon 13April2019
Swainson’s hawk
Ferruginous hawk, Harney County, Oregon 13April2019
Ferruginous hawk

Ground squirrels hang out in the irrigated fields and the birds of prey congregate there to find an easy meal. They like to perch on the pivot irrigation systems.

Raptors, Bald eagles perched on pivot irrigation system, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Bald eagles perched on pivot irrigation system
Swainson's hawk grabbing some fast food, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Swainson’s hawk grabbing some fast food

Turkey vultures also enjoy some nice fresh ground squirrel. This one was close to the road and we had a great view of it having a little snack.

Turkey vulture, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Turkey vulture
Turkey vulture eating ground squirrel, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Turkey vulture eating ground squirrel

We were lucky to see a prairie falcon, the only one we spotted that day.

Raptors, Prairie falcon, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Prairie falcon

Mule deer were common. This herd had 30+ deer.

Herd of mule deer, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Herd of mule deer

We stopped in another spot to take pictures of deer then noticed something else in the foreground. Two burrowing owls! Can you find both of them in the photo with the deer? That was my favorite observation of the day.

Three mule deer in the back ground & two burrowing owls in the foreground, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Three mule deer in the back ground & two burrowing owls in the foreground
Raptors, Burrowing owl, Harney County, OR 13April2019
Burrowing owl

This tour was part of the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. Our guides that day were Ben Cate, from the High Desert Partnership, and Melanie Finch, wildlife technician with the U.S. Forest Service .

Raptors Pocket Guide

Though I know certain species well, I’m no expert when it comes to identifying raptors. I rely on helpful tour guides and field guides. I have field guide books and the iBird Pro app, but this handy fold out pocket guide is really helpful.

This guide includes silhouettes, identifying markings, and different color morphs. It was a dark spring day on this trip and the silhouettes page helped make identifying birds easier.

We saw quite a few raptors so it was a successful seven-hour field trip. Until next year…

Obsidian Up close & personal

I enjoy visiting Glass Buttes in Central Oregon to collect obsidian. Did you know there are over 24 kinds found there? Here are photos of obsidian up close. The stones are beautiful in color, but also in form.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Detail

Clouds in my sky: LAPC

I can be jubilant one moment and pensive the next, and a cloud could go by and make that happen.

Bob Dylan

Here are few clouds in my sky from the last year’s worth of Lens-Artists Photo Challenges. These pictures were taken in Eastern and Central Oregon, my favorite country. Enjoy their many moods.

Steens Mountain 1May2017
A flock of clouds over Steens Mountain
Winter Walks Art Station 9March2019
Light winter clouds over the Art Station
Unusual Clouds in my sky in Bend, Oregon 18October2017
A brilliant sunrise of clouds in my sky from home
The Road To...Fort Rock, Oregon 10June2017
Puffy white clouds over Fort Rock
Blue Basin Bridge, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon 26October2018
Storm clouds moving in over the Blue Basin trail
Many moods of clouds in my sky over my muse - Juniper Sunset 29August2016
A fiery sunset of the clouds in my sky over my juniper muse

Special thanks to Patti, Amy, Tina, and Ann-Christine for hosting the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge for one year! Many of us eagerly await the weekly challenge and look forward to seeing all the entries.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A country that’s special to you