Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where is summer?

Depressed Meadowlark
My trip to the beach last week produced some good bird sightings. By that I mean that I saw some birds I hadn't seen for a while and that I was delighted to see. What I didn't mean was that I saw these birds very well. I felt like I needed a flashlight to go birding at noon.

Well it is winter. At 45 degrees latitude you subtract 23 degrees (tilt of earth on axis) in December. At NOON the sun is only 22 degrees above the southern horizon. Add layers of dark drizzly clouds. Make it damp and foggy. It always feels like dusk in winter. Not dawn--that implies that if you wait it will get lighter. No, dusk. You better look now because it will be too dark to see if you wait.

I love Oregon--the ocean, mountains, deserts, fields, and forests. I live in western Oregon in the verdant valleys below the temperate rain forests. I love it especially from May-July, when it is sunny and warmer, yet not too hot. Later September and October are nice, too. Frankly, though, even though it is the winter rains that make the rest of they year so pleasant and green, I feel like the depressed-looking meadowlark above... I can't wait until summer!


  1. I hear you! I'm not much into summer myself, but the inbetween seasons I think are perfect here. Only a couple days till the days start getting longer!

  2. Or at least spring, when the daylight increases.

  3. Got out for some birding today in preparation for Saturday's Forest Grove Christmas Bird Count. Went to Hagg Lake early to listen for owls. 35F and wet snow coming down. No owls. Didn't find the Red-throated Loon that was there last week or the Red-necked Grebe that was there yesterday. Then over to Fernhill Wetlands. 42F and 30 mph winds and spitting showers. Birds were hiding. Didn't see or hear the Black Phoebe that's been hanging around since mid fall. Lot's of raptors, though. Then over to Jackson Bottom. Nearly at flood stage. A White-throated Sparrow is coming to a feeder there, but I was unable to locate the Black-crowned Night-Heron reported a couple of days ago. The good news is that my new boots don't leak!

  4. Just found your blog and what a delight it is! We have had an exciting winter so far as we have a lot of pelicans visiting our inner harbour and have had several rare birds on our island so a busy birding season here.

  5. Just found this site tonight when I was trying to identify new doves in my back yard. To my surprise your site identified them and you are here in Forest Grove too! I am pretty new to identifying the birds in my back yard but am really enjoying it.

  6. I have found one advantage to that low winter sun. If you are lucky to have a clear day, you have good low-angled light for photography all day!

    1. So true, Rick. I went out Monday to Commonwealth Lake Park in Beaverton. Despite the dogs and kids enjoying the sun I took almost 200 shots and kept 75 of them to go through later. Seems the birds were enjoying the sun, too, and didn't seem to mind the crazy human activity at the park. Only a Bald Eagle circling over got them riled up and a group of Greater White-fronted Geese harassed the eagle and escorted it out of the area!