Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Very Good Year to Ponder Memorable Images

Looking at Personal Photos

August 2, 2015

I often trundle through my massive photographic troves at and I apparently enjoy reminiscing over where Darlene, Nora the Schnauzer and I have been.
Then I scroll through the images collected on solitary dog walks over the years with Nora and Sadie the Dalmatian before her.
We have bumped into many interesting sightings along Mill Creek, primarily between the Community College and Rooks Bark, as well as frequent trips on the Bennington Lake area trails.
Interesting wildlife sightings have been slim this summer, however.
No mink pairs, no raccoons, no otters, no pelicans, few hooded or common mergansers, etc., for moons.
I pondered and blamed record  hot weather and low water. And perhaps goat grazing cleared too much protective cover from along the stream banks, which allows the water become too warm.
Anyway, I spotted one mink and a beaver in the spring near Rooks Park. Briefly in both instances. One person saw a badger headed downstream, racing toward her on the service road, before disappearing into a south-side pasture. I have never seen a badger along Mill Creek.
In good news, Great Blue Herons raised a batch of young in the nests within sight of the bridge at Rooks Park, on the north side of the stream. I captured many images of  them.


 Now, however, Nora seriously pants and slow-moseys along during walks beneath blistering bright sunshine along the creek. And we don't tromp around the lake.  I find it convenient to be a couch lizard with her on the stifling days.
If we go a photographing at Mill Creek at all, early morning almost works.
Mountain truck trips, with today's air conditioning and the usual high-country breezes, work for me and Nora. And Darlene seems inured against hot days.
So, during one really scorching spell, we left the valley early and drove Summit Road from Highway 204 to Interstate 84, with a stop at Mission for a late-late lunch.

Shortly after that, our granddaughter Bailey, whom we had not seen in 10 years or so, visited from Florida to stay with her dad (my son Jon) for severeal days. Bailey, John, Nora, Pugsley the mutt (Jon's pal) and I hiked along the South Fork Walla Walla River Trail. It has good shade and water for dogs. We walked  about three miles up and down the trail.
I enjoyed visiting so much that I didn't take a single photo.
I corrected that by taking a ton of photos when Darlene, Bailey, Jon's wife Rena, and I,  along with canines Nora and Pugsley, spent a day visiting  Wallowa Lake.
Darlene, who prefers not to ride the tram again,  managed the mutts. The rest of us sought cooler climes atop Mount Howard. Wrong. We ended up shucking sweaters, sweating rivulets and growing weak from hungar by the time the reached The Embers in Joseph for a late lunch along with the dogs in the patio shade.

We had a really nice day, and Bailey said she loved the scenery.

Lately, when we need an outing to assuage cabin fever, I drive to the McNary National wildlife Refuge, near Burbank, to photograph Ospreys in a nest (two adults and three young). I have the faint hope that I will catch one adult landing on the nest with a fish dinner
Air-conditioning cools the drive, and a breeze often makes shooting from the truck with all windows down bearable, for a couple of hours at a time.
And, as I said, Darlene thrives on triple digit temps.

Once, after leaving the Osprey nest, I stopped at Hood Park for Nora to sniff around in the shade, and saw a Ross’s Goose, apparently a double rarity in Walla Walla County. mixed in with the regular old Canada geese and other water birds.

Recently, however, on a rare cool early morning trek to Rooks Park, I watched a Great Blue Heron catch a crawdad (crayfish) near the dam. It tossed the crustacean away, perhaps fearing indigestion.

Anyway, I have more images bearing pleasant memories to ponder when I tire of working out esoteric string theory constructs.
For example, I have a fondness for  2014 when, one morning in August, I stumbled across two moose crossing Mill Creek. That may never happen again, but I will walk Nora there again just in case when the weather cools, perhaps in August.  And that's NOW!

  And I cazn't forget another unusual visitor to Mill Creek this year, a Muscovey Duck, which may be a domesticated mix of some sort, but at least one website source calls it a native of the Southwest U.S. and South American countries. It sure is a handsome bird.

And who could resist pondering that.