Unique Sights-High & Low: LAPC

The Lens-Artists photo challenge today is “unique.” I thought of several unique sights I’ve seen in Oregon that fit this category.

Unique sights "Super 8" Petroglyph, Harney County, OR 11April2019
“Super 8” Petroglyph

Our guide in Harney County referred to this ancient petroglyph as the Super 8. Do you see a resemblance to an old movie camera? Petroglyphs are carved into stone while pictographs are painted onto stone.

Hairy clematis flowers 4June2019
Hairy clematis flowers

I saw these hairy clematis flowers at the Hell’s Canyon Overlook earlier this month. This unusual flower has a lot of common names including lion’s beard, leather flower, vase flower, and sugar bowl. They look similar to prairie smoke flowers featured in a previous post.

Unique sights Great Basin Spadefoot Toad 4May2018
Great Basin Spadefoot Toad

I can’t help but think of the words “unique sights” when I recall this toad I found in my high desert yard. I thought it was so interesting that I wrote a short story about it called The Toad Queen.

Pronghorn buck 1May2018
Pronghorn buck

Pronghorn are one of my favorite animals. Besides being fast and looking cool, they are in their own family. They are the only member of Antilocapridae.

Hawk taking off 25February2017
Red-tailed hawk taking off

Sometimes you see a common species, like this red-tailed hawk, from a unique perspective. I snapped a quick picture of this one taking off from a cliff.

Unique sights sky colored by fires nearby, Bend, OR 2July2014
Fire in the sky

A few years ago, fires were burning around us in all directions. Fortunately, none of the fires were very close but the smoke caused the skies to turn brilliant colors.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Unique

Blue Basin Bench: Pull up a Seat

Blue Basin bench at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

This bench awaits you at the end of the Blue Basin Island in Time Trail at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Eastern Oregon. When you sit there, you are surrounded by an amphitheater of greenish blue stone highlighted by hills of red volcanic soil. It’s a dramatic, and impressive, landscape.

Here is a 360-degree view of what I saw at the end of the Island in Time Trail.

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge

Harmony in Nature: Songsters of Spring

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.” e.e. cummings

At this time of the year, I often think of harmony in nature. Every time I go outside, I hear the songsters of spring. Here are a few local songsters whose voices and plumage are full of gold.

Click on the word “song” in the caption below each photograph to hear the harmony in nature these birds share with us.

Songsters of Spring Western kingbird 17April2017
Western kingbird at Fort Rock, Oregon. Their song.
American Goldfinch On Cattails 30March2018
American Goldfinch On Cattails at Summer Lake, Oregon. Their song.
Harmony in Nature Yellow-headed blackbird 5April2018
Yellow-headed blackbird at Malheur NWR, Oregon. Their song.
Harmony in Nature Western Meadowlark  5April2018
Western Meadowlark at Crane Hot Springs, Oregon. Their song.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Harmony

Love nature and share the love: LAPC

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Here are a few pictures of wild things resting, feeding, and breeding. They are always reminding me to love nature and share that love with others.

Love Nature Gray wolf, MT 2June2018
Gray wolf

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

George Carlin
Trumpeter swan & mallard, OR 19May2018
Trumpeter swan & mallard

Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.

Hans Christian Andersen
Pronghorn, WY  1June2018
Pronghorn

…When alarmed, their rapid career seems more like the flight of birds than the movement of an earthly being.

George Ord
Love nature, Ospreys on nest, OR 26April2019
Ospreys on nest

It’s not only fine feathers that make a fine bird.

Aesop
Pine siskins, OR 7April2018
Pine siskins

Each bird loves to hear himself sing.

Arapaho

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Nature

National Park Travels: LAPC

These photos are of our National Park travels within 1,000 miles of our home. We are lucky to live so close to so much beauty.

I tried to consider what was in the foreground as well as the background in these shots.

National Park Travels - Yellowstone, Wyoming 30May2018
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
National Park Travels - Arches, Utah  2May2017
Arches National Park, Utah
National Park Travels - Canyonlands, Utah  4May2017
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
National Park Travels - Capitol Reef, Utah  5May2017
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
National Park Travels - Bryce Canyon 6May2017
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
National Park Travels - Zion 6May2017
Zion National Park, Utah
National Park Travels - Great Basin 6May2017
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
National Park Travels - Crater Lake 12October2014
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – My Travels

See more of my park photos at Utah National Parks: Trees & Rocks

Branches in a new light: LAPC

These images show branches in a new light…

Branches in a new light , Yellowstone National Park May2018

Reclining and resting in a sea of green

Branches in a new light , Bend, Oregon 14January2017

Coated with a covering of snow

Branches in a new light Bend, Oregon December2017

Framing a fiery sunrise

Branches in a new light Oregon Gardens, Silverton, Oregon September2018

Burdened with a bounty of fruit

Branches in a new light Bend, Oregon 23May2018

Shrouded by the smoke of a prescribed burn

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical Light

Red fox in action: Lens-artists challenge

A lucky sighting of a red fox

Red fox, Yellowstone National Park 1June2018

We saw this red fox in Yellowstone National Park in June of this year. This is the Rocky Mountain subspecies, Vulpes vulpes macroura.

The red fox is not seen often in the park because they are nocturnal and they blend into their preferred habitats along the edges of meadows and forests. The females nurse their kits during late spring and this may have been a female out looking for food. Foxes usually use dens created by other animals.

Fox kit, Yellowstone National Park

We were fortunate to see a female with kits on another spring visit to Yellowstone. Litter size averages four to eight kits. Vixens gives birth in late March to April.  Both parents care for the young through their first few months of their life.

When wolves were introduced into the park, many coyotes were eliminated by the wolves and this may have caused an increase in the number of foxes. Coyotes prefer sagebrush and open meadow habitat and hunt more by day so they don’t compete as much with foxes.

Red fox, Yellowstone National Park 1June2018

 

The red fox is the smallest dog-like mammal in the park. The males weigh 11-12 pounds and the females weigh 10 pounds. They average 43 inches in length. Most foxes live 3-7 years but in Yellowstone can live up to 11 years.

Red fox, Yellowstone National Park 1June2018

Foxes can have a wide variety of coat colors–from red to black. Their thick tail aids in balance and they use them to signal to other foxes. Foxes wrap their tail around themselves in cold weather to help them stay warm.

Red fox, Yellowstone National Park 4June2015

Red foxes have a varied diet. They feed on voles, mice, rabbits, birds, amphibians, eggs, carrion, and some plants.  Animals that prey on foxes include cougars, wolves, and coyotes.

Video of a flying red fox

Here’s a National Geographic video of a fox hunting in the winter. They have extremely good hearing and listen for animals beneath the snow. When they sense prey, they pounce or “fly” to catch it under the snow.  Flying Red Fox 

Lens-artists Photo Challenge – Action

 

 

Bison coming right at you: TWI – Action

Up close and personal with bison

Bison coming at you in Yellowstone National Park,WY 30May2018

I was glad I was inside my car when I saw these bison coming right at us. Some people think they are calm and tame like a domestic cow. They’re not! Bulls weigh up to 2,000 pounds and cows weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Since they can run up to 30 miles per hour, it’s best to keep your distance.

Here’s another post on them plus a link to more information. Bison Celebrating 4th.

Travel with Intent Photo Challenge – Action

 

 

Marmots Playing: Tuesday Photo Challenge

Pups playing

I had fun watching these yellow-bellied marmot pups playing while their mom kept a watchful eye on them. A mother’s work is never done!

Yellow-bellied marmots at play in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018

Yellow-bellied marmots at play in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018

Yellow-bellied marmots at play in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 1June2018

Dutch Goes the Photo! Tuesday Photo Challenge – Play

Grand Prismatic Circles: Travel with Intent – Circle

Circles within circles at Grand Prismatic Spring

Circles of varying size dissected with cracks and surrounded by steaming mists arising from a rainbow of color at North America’s largest hot spring. Oh the wonder!

Grand Prismatic Spring Circles, Yellowstone National Park, WY 3June2018

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”     Ralph Waldo Emerson

To see a photo of this spring as a thunderstorm approaches, see An Artist’s Wish.

Travel with Intent – Circle

Baby bunny: Tuesday Photo Challenge

New life in the form of a baby bunny

Last night my dog was shaking with excitement looking at something right outside the sliding glass door. A baby bunny! However, it wasn’t just any rabbit. This one was a tiny “kit” that was just a few inches long.

Baby bunny in Bend 17June2018

I have seen jackrabbits and cottontails in the shrub-steppe High Desert habitat where I live. This could be a cottontail or maybe even a pygmy rabbit. It’s hard to tell when they are young.

Yes, the background is not the best for this shot. But sometimes nature comes to you and you have to take advantage of it and grab your camera. The sprinkler head is just over an inch across so this gives you an idea how small it was.

Needless to say, my dog did not get to go outside for a while. The bunny went back to its burrow which is probably under our porch. Life goes on for this little cutie.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – New

Delicate Arch – Beloved Icon: CFFC

A treasure in stone

There it is. The view of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park I was waiting for. What a sight!

Delicate Arch 3May201:

Now here’s “the rest of the story.” Lines of people wait to take pictures of their loved ones or themselves under the arch. That is the life of a beloved icon like Delicate Arch.

It’s great that so many people treasure our natural resources in national parks. Just be quick if you want to get that perfect shot! 😉

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah 3May2017CFFC: Arch, Dome, or Half Circle

 

 

Clear Lake Underwater Worlds: WPC

Life Beneath the Waves

I saw strange sights while out kayaking on Clear Lake in Oregon. Moss-covered creatures live beneath the waves waiting to enchant you and take you into their liquid world.

Clear Lake Underwater Oregon 30August2016

Weekly Photo Challenge – Liquid

View from the Caldera

Hiking on a caldera

Today I took a hike up Gray Butte, northeast of Terrebonne, Oregon. It was a nice hike with lots of wildflowers and spectacular views. This view is from the edge of the Crooked River Caldera looking west to Mount Jefferson, on the right, and Black Butte, on the left. The rocks in the foreground are splattered with messages left by lichens.

View from the Caldera 9May2018

My place in the world is out in the wild places of central Oregon. From dry sagebrush steppe in a caldera to lush meadows bordered by pine forests. There are so many special places to explore…

Weekly Photo Challenge – Place in the World

 

Shooting Stars: Friday Flowers

“Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.”     Jeremy Bentham

Shooting Stars at Zion National Park, Utah 7May2017

Shooting Stars at Zion National Park, Utah

Have no fear, killdeer here: WPC

Every time I see a killdeer, it brings a smile to my face.

Killdeer at Summer Lake, Oregon 30March2018A bold bird

They are a bold little bird. Yes, you usually hear their distinctive kill-deer call long before you see them. Their black and white banded markings, and cinnamon-colored rump and tail feathers, make it hard to mistake them for something else.

Their bold personality is another thing I admire about them. They are a small bird, but they are fearless if you are near their nest. They assume anyone nearby is a potential predator. Killdeer bob up and down and call if you get close. If that doesn’t discourage you, they’ll drag a wing, feigning injury. The birds flap their wings on the ground while leading you on a wandering path away from the nest. Courage in the face of adversity.

Nest and young

The nest is a scrape in the ground containing three to five speckled eggs. It’s easy to overlook so watch your step if you hear an adult nearby in the spring or summer months. The young birds are covered in down and ready to run right after they hatch. They are one of the cuter birds I have seen in the wild. Watch this short video to see a chick with a vocal adult.

Killdeer baby finds Mom

Food

They eat eat a wide variety of invertebrates. Killdeer eat crayfish and aquatic insect larvae in the water and grasshoppers and beetles on land. The birds are often seen following plows in farmer’s fields hoping to catch some recently unearthed worms or insect larvae.

Killdeer at Summer Lake, Oregon 30March2018Range

Killdeer’s range covers a huge area in the Western Hemisphere and they can be found in a wide variety of habitats. You can find them around open areas such as mudflats, fields, lawns, parking lots, golf courses, and airports. Killdeer live in many areas year round. Do you have them where you live?

A group of killdeers is called a “season.” It’s a treat to see them, no matter what the season.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Smile

Many moods of my muse: WPC

In my backyard, an old western juniper tree serves as my muse. Hope you enjoy these pictures that show the many moods of my muse through the seasons. The moods in the sunsets range from a quiet blush to a loud show of anger.

My cover image shows a rainbow of emotions surrounding the tree.

Juniper sunrise 2Feb2015

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rise/Set

Yellowstone Favorite Places: WPC

I have so many Yellowstone favorite places it’s hard to choose. Here’s a collection of photos of things that make the park special. I start this post with a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt who was known as the “conservation president.”

“The only way that the people as a whole can secure to themselves and their children the enjoyment in perpetuity of what the Yellowstone Park has to give is by assuming the ownership in the name of the nation and by jealously safeguarding and preserving the scenery, the forests, and the wild creatures.”

Theodore Roosevelt, April 24, 1903 at the laying of the cornerstone of Gateway to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Favorite Places Mammoth Hot Springs 2017Yellowstone National Park, with its larger-than-life landscapes, dramatically changing weather conditions, amazing menagerie of wildlife, variety of plant life, and geology in action, is one of my favorite places. It also has a rich history as the world’s first national park.

A park is born

Evidence shows ancient peoples lived in Yellowstone Country 11,000 years ago. European Americans began exploring the lands in the early 1800’s. Teams of explorers brought back tales of wonder of this unique environment. Their work was supported by images created by artists Thomas Moran and Henry W. Elliot and photographer William Henry Jackson.  The park was established in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant. Additional protections for the park and its wildlife were instituted in 1894 when congress passed the National Park Protection Act – now known as the Lacey Act.

President Theodore Roosevelt had a love of the land and he was instrumental in making sure many natural areas were preserved. His quote above reflects the importance of preserving wild places so that all may enjoy them “in perpetuity.”

Landscapes – large and small

Here are photos of some special landscapes.

And more of spectacular hot springs and other features.

And don’t forget to notice the tiny landscapes beneath your feet.

Wildlife

And of course the wildlife.

Visitors

Yellowstone National Park gets visitors from all over the world. 4,116,524 people visited in 2017.

Yellowstone Favorite Places 3June2015

May we all continue to safeguard and preserve its scenery, forests, and wild creatures.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Favorite Place

A Bluebird Day? : WPC

A bluebird day in Bend, Oregon 13March2018

A bluebird of unhappiness

The mountain bluebird perched on the snag for a long time in a drenching rainstorm. While all the other birds sought shelter, he stubbornly remained on his perch. He wondered if it really was a bluebird day. The bird thought his brilliant blue plumage would attract a mate by reminding her of the sky on a sunny day. No such luck!

Weekly Photo Challenge – I’d rather be…

Mill A Loop – Deschutes River Trail

Short and sweet hike

Mill A Loop Deschutes River Trail 13August2016

Mill A Loop Deschutes River Trail

The Mill A Loop is a short and easy hike that starts on the flag bridge in the Old Mill district of Bend. This 1.1 mile trail is paved and mostly flat. You walk along the Deschutes River for most of the hike.  At certain times of the year, kayakers, stand up paddleboarders, and innertubers will float by you on the river.

 

Iconic attractions

The Flag Bridge is a well-known sight in Bend. The flags are changed to celebrate different holidays and events. I am always impressed by these flags of many colors fluttering in the breeze. They also fly over a smaller pond near the restaurants.

You will walk past a few notable landmarks. Yes, you start out in a shopping center, but you’ll also go by the Les Schwab Amphitheater, Deschutes Brewery, and the Bend Whitewater Park (adjacent to McKay Park). The amphitheater is where many concerts and outdoor events take place here in Bend. Deschutes Brewery, founded in 1988, was one of the first craft brewers in the region. The brewery has a nice tasting room and guided tours. The Whitewater Park was completed in 2015 and it divides the river into three channels. One channel is for wildlife, one is for innertubers and rafters, and one is for whitewater surfers, kayakers, or paddleboarders. I have seen people out surfing in wetsuits in all kinds of weather. See my post Bend Whitewater Park for info about the park and a few videos.

 

Outdoor art

There is a lot of artwork on display along this route. Look for a large metal sculpture of a horse outside Tumalo Art Company close to the Flag Bridge. Be sure to take a closer look at this piece. A tall sculpture that incorporates steel wheels from one of the old lumber mills is just outside of Anthony’s restaurant. The Colorado Avenue Bridge has artwork inside and outside of the pedestrian tunnel.  The amphitheater has beautiful murals on both sides of the stage. On the east side of the Whitewater Park, there is a tall metal sculpture that was designed as a perch for kingfishers. There is a sculpture of a group of Canada geese on the west side of the river.

Flora and Fauna

I have to mention the beautiful flowers in the landscaping along this route. I really like the blooming border plants on the west side of the amphitheater. They are gorgeous in the spring and summer months. Watch for the occasional hummingbird when the flowers are in full bloom. There are also some delicious smelling hops plants near the amphitheater.

I walk this trail regularly and the types of wildlife seen varies by season. Ospreys and bald eagles can be seen near the river. Common waterfowl include Canada geese, mallards, mergansers, and American coots. You may see songbirds such as red-winged blackbirds, scrub jays, robins, cedar waxwings, and goldfinches. Swallows drift over the river in pursuit of insects. There is a beaver dam a little ways south of Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe and you may get a glimpse of them in early morning hours. I have also seen river otter and muskrats. A small population of the Oregon spotted frog breeds in this vicinity.

There is also a one-of-a-kind 12-station fly fishing course here.  You may notice circles on land and in a couple of the smaller ponds. Each station has a sign nearby and you can try your hand at various casting challenges.

Mill A Loop Deschutes River Trail 27August2017

Smokestacks from the Old Mill

A little history

This district was named Old Mill because there used to be two lumber mills located here, one on each side of the river.  The three iconic smoke stacks you see were part of a powerhouse that ran 24/7. The stacks were preserved when REI took over the space.  This spot was very important for the economy of Bend in the early 1900’s. Timber was hauled into Bend and floated in the river until processing at the Brooks-Scanlon or Shevlin-Hixon mills. The Oregon Trunk Railroad had a line that went to the mills to pick up lumber.

To see a map of this hike and others nearby, look at this brochure from Bend Parks and Recreation. The Mill A Loop is the yellow trail on the inset map. I think you will enjoy walking this easy trail, no matter what season it is.

To find out more about the Old Mill District, click here.

 

Pronghorn herd in the High Desert

Last fall, we saw a pronghorn herd on the drive to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeast Oregon. This herd consisted of about 100 bucks and does.

You can see Hart Mountain peeking out in the distance. A storm was moving in. Here are pictures of the storm as it developed. Storm Clouds over Hart Mountain.

Pronghorn herd near Hart Mountain, Oregon 1November2017

Can you find a big buck watching over his harem in this picture? Both bucks and does can have horns, though the does’ are small or sometimes absent. Males have short black manes, a neck patch, and black markings across their forehead.

Weekly Photo Challenge – A Face in the Crowd

Purple penstemon: Flower Friday

The desert produces a profusion of colorful wildflowers at certain times of the year. Here is a stunning penstemon plant inside the Fort Rock volcanic tuff ring.

Purple Penstemon at Fort Rock, Oregon 10June2016

Tour of Bend

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Tour Guide. This will be easy!

Enjoy some pictures of beautiful sights in and around Bend, Oregon. Can you see why I love living here?

JanuarySunrise 6January2018