Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sunday 2/6: Wahkiakum County

Woke up to a Great Horned Owl Sunday morning - perched on the roof of my friend's house near Hockinson, Clark County.  I wanted to get to Wahkiakum County kind of early, because I wanted to get home - it'd been a long weekend!  So I packed it up and made my way towards I5.  Sean was kind enough to pass along a Garmin GPS gadget that he hadn't been using, and this proved to be very comforting, as I made my way back towards the big road.  I'd been using a simple hiking GPS the previous night... um... it did a nice job of telling me where I was, but not where to go.  Had an interesting pair of events Saturday night where I successfully figured out exactly where I was on the map, then went the wrong way. 


The locals discuss the possibility that the lights up in
the hills were UFO's - not making this up! :)

Stopped in the Riverview Restaurant and Lounge in Cathlamet for coffee before tackling the day.  Decided my first stop would be West Valley Road, west of Skamakowa.  As with owls, game birds can be hard to find without a little planning.  Heading along this back road, I thought for a moment that I had some grouse, but they turned out to be Wild Turkeys on a lawn set back a ways from the road.  They disappeared into the brush fairly quickly.  As the light grew, I got pictures of the trees at left.  Did not realize at the time that nearly every tree I would see that day had a least a little bit of lichen on it!  Continued up the road until it turned to gravel and beyond.  Eventually I stopped at a clear cut - stopped the car, got out and listened.  Hardly a bird to be heard, except the occasional Song Sparrow.  Fog rolled over the hills, and I could have been just about anywhere at that moment.  Enjoyed this for a good few minutes before deciding to head back down the hill.


Ravens have a private conversation - Skamakowa Vista Park

My next stop was Skamakowa Vista Park.  The vista was a little reduced by the fog!  Couldn't quite see across the Columbia.  In the water nearby were Surf Scoters, Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup.  Not the last I would see of Scaup for the day - nearly every duck I saw seemed to be one kind of Scaup or the other!

Sharp-shinned Hawk - Julia Butler Hansen Refuge

The final big stop of the day was the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the White-Tailed Deer.  I actually saw some deer here, which I guess isn't always the case.  What I really had hoped for was a White-tailed Kite, but none was to be found on two runs through the refuge on Steambout Slough Road.  In addition to the deer, I also saw elk at one point.  Oh and some Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup.  Oooh - and trees with lichen on them!  Final three stops - The Covered Bridge at Grays River, Central Valley Road looking for Kites - nope - and Cathlamet again, where a Western Scrub-Jay made 50 species for the day.  Then it was off for home.  Some of my other favorite pictures from the county are below.  Just a beautiful place!


Again - You've got to love small towns! :)

House and boat on the river

Covered Bridge

Church in Cathlamet

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