Oregon Lifestyle – what to do?

A clear and bright winter day is precious since Oregonian’s slogan is ‘rain or shine, business as usual.’ We packed up our cameras and went on a birding drive. Within a 25 mins drive distance from home, we had great fun ‘capturing’ various flyers.

In Oregon, when you are out of the house, you are quickly stepping into nature. When the birds sing, you can hear it. When they fly, you can easily follow them around.  Western Meadowlark is about, but they are usually too far away for a clear shot. Just when I thought I finally grabbed him standing in the perfect light (and close enough), he suddenly turned his head, and my click sound scared him away. Luckily I was able to record their songs.

Spring lambs are out running after their Moms. The adults are hairy enough to be sheared.  The bird buddies enjoyed being cushioned on their backs. Here I see not only nature but also harmony among the creatures. Very often, I feel I am inspired and touched by mother nature. It is the life in Oregon that drives me to observe all these amazing things behind nature.

I live in the 3rd largest city Eugene where there might not have abundant job opportunities like Portland, but the work-from-home folks and people who are in public services still have plenty of jobs to pursue. Many private small businesses offer a family-like working environment where the task becomes a pleasure and co-workers like your family or friends.  With its central location, you can travel north or south to other big cities. Go west to the Pacific Ocean (the famous Oregon coast) and east to Central and Eastern Oregon, the high desert area where you go for recreational activities, e.g., hiking and skiing. *Oregon is unique for its versatile geological features, you see it all in one state. In addition to the 50 hiking trails within reach, there are 100 miles of biking trails. Imagine biking along the river…

Portland, including metropolitan areas, covers a significant ground. Obviously, it is the business and career central. However, unlike other big cities, Portland is beautiful, natural, and has easy access to the nature-enhanced living.   Columbia River Gorge, Willamette River, Mount Hood, and countless scenic sites by the river, on the mountain top, or solely around the city.

Salem is the 2nd largest city with the typical capital city ambiance, clean and organized. If you like to have steady government jobs, this is where you want to be. In fact, you can commute from other smaller towns with short driving distance. Usually, ‘downtown’ does not translate the pleasant feelings, but it’s enjoyable to hang out downtown Salem classic neighborhood and riverfront.

Eugene is a college town, cultural and intellectual. It is also a center of artists who create unique artwork and art pieces. I like the ‘just right’ population size, the easy and fast access to nature and the friendly residents here.

(Oregon Lifestyle – 3)

Killdeer

It was at least four years ago when I first saw Killdeer on a farm field. Its calling song and the swift move on the ground is unique. It is hard to miss them when they are around. I was thrilled to see at least half dozen of them at Ridge Field Wildlife Refuge soon after.

I presume it’s the mother (male and female look alike) who is always very protective of their babies (or eggs). They would try to mislead you to a different location away from where their eggs really are.  If the secret hide-out is unfortunately broken, they would fluff their full display of wings on alert position and ready to fight you off.

Love in the Backyard – Flickers

Aside from technical aspect, bird photography puts me in training for my patience and persistence. I heard Flicker’s calls and saw them flying by for years without taking a good picture. Credited to a ‘woodpecker delight’ suet I randomly picked up at the store which suddenly becomes a hit, my backyard has been busy. Flickers came numerous times a day this summer, and they seemed to become less intimidated by the people around.

At first, I love how they hang (bashfully) on the tree trunk, half hidden. Later I was thrilled to see them come to drink the water (getting closer to my camera). I am no bird expert, but a bird with his mouth wide open tells he is waiting to be fed, a newbie. Thinking ‘patience’, I waited and waited, and was able to capture the feeding scene. However, not until I looked at the picture carefully, I did not realize that Dad was doing the feeding.

FYI. Flicker male has a red mark under his chin.