Monday, April 22, 2013

birding on the high desert

I always look forward to visiting my brother's place in Bend. 

Seeing my family, of course, is the high point.  But I also enjoy the setting of his home on the high desert. 

The groves of Ponderosa pine.  The series of Cascade peaks more glorious than the next.  The expanse of plain rolling off to the horizon.  You almost expect the whole scene to be accompanied by a Jerry Goldsmith score.

I have long been a hobby birder.  That is one of the reason I chose to live in Mexico.

But Darrel's ranch house is one of the best bird blinds around.  I can sit in his family room and watch the birds come to me.

Like this little Downy Woodpecker that entertained all of us yesterday afternoon.  Flitting from trunk to trunk of dying Ponderosa.  Rapidly tapping his head in search of a buggy meal.

He reminded me of the tale Walter Lantz would tell of the woodpecker that would tap every morning on his vacation cabin roof.  Giving us the rascally Woody Woodpecker.

But my favorite has been Butterball -- a female Wild Turkey that makes her rounds through the pasture almost every morning.

Her ancestors are not native to Oregon.  The Rio Grande strain was introduced into southwestern Oregon in 1975, and proved so adaptable that the birds now live in most regions of the state.  Including my brother's spread.

And, even though barnyard turkeys are relatives of the wild variety, it is hard to believe that the silly farm turkey could be related to such a clever and wily relative.  It is almost the difference between Billy and Jimmy Carter.

Today is my last full day in Bend.  Tomorrow I will fly to Portland for the night, and then on to Manzanillo early on Wednesday morning.

Where I will trade the ranch for the beach.  And a new vehicle.

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