Friday, August 8, 2014

Indian Trees National Forest Campground

I left Hamilton, MT on hwy 93 and drove south of Sula, MT. Now if you are not aware, this is truly in the middle of nowhere. It was fairly quiet here. You could hear some road noise from hwy 93. Mostly you could hear trucks and motorcycles. The cg is less than 1/2 mile from the highway, and of course you drive 1.5 miles to get there.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the campground as it is newly blacktopped. They have several pull-thrus and many long sites. They were relatively level. I decided to stay three nights. Now this is interesting. I went to the Camp Host(ess) and explained that I had reservations for the next night but I wanted to stay 3 nights. She said she really didn’t like the reservation system. She continued on about the valley residents had been paying taxes a long time and should have first rights to camping spots. I did mention that I thought it was a National Forest and I pay taxes too. Oops!

Here is sunrise from my bedroom window.

Road that leads to Porcupine Trail Head. Looks like Bark Beetles at work on the mountainside. They are really devastating the trees in areas that have not been burned in the last 10-15 or more years. It amazes me that the trees are not removed and used for housing or other commercial uses. After all, they permit logging in those very same forest areas. Another…go figure.

Along the road to Porcupine TH is this stream with lovely white flowers.

A little further around the corner are these berries on very very low shrub. Looks like food for wildlife. Did not observe the squirrels or chipmunks gathering these berries.

I was curious from where the name Indian Trees originated. This is what I found out.

How it was harvested.

Now here are a couple of shots of trees that were used ‘back in the day’. Interesting after 100-150 years huh?

I really thought this was interesting looking.

I really should have stayed there longer. The area was nice, the price was right, $5 a night with the pass and it was really nice weather. But, I have things to see, places to go and water to test. And I have past blogs to catch up on and new blogs to post.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge–Stephenville, MT

This is a short story on a bird trip up the highway from where we were staying. It is near the town of Stephenville, MT.

Not a huge National Wildlife Refuge but has some interesting residents. It has a river running through it, some ponding areas, lots of large trees and many many mosquitos!

The most numerous bird was the American Robin. This was seconded by the Western Wood Pewee.

We saw two Great Horned Owls. Both look quite different based on where they were sitting and the sun was spotting them or not.

Our first Great Horned Owl appears to be a young bird. Note the fluffy feathers, it is very light colored, on the ground and the feathers have not reached the adult plumage coloring. A very nice bird. One of the pics shows a side view and you might think it was a Bob Cat sunning itself as it has the right coloring and ear tufts.

This appears to be an adult Great Horned Owl.. A real beauty. Male and female look a lot alike. There are many variations in size and coloring depending on where they reside. The GHO lives year round throughout the North America. Primary food is skunk, rabbits, your kitty if it is out prowling as well as small dogs out after dark or early morning. Basically anything small unprotected that has meat on it an owl will attempt to take.

The Western Wood Pewees were calling but we did not see young.

We saw and heard Cedar Waxwings. Now try as I may and knowing those birds on their winter territory, I am amazed that they fly-catch. Yes! Fly-catch. Amazing to me! Tried to catch the Chickadees but they were too quick as were the White Breasted Nuthatches. As you see, ‘what bird? where?’ Oh, the oriole on the left. Let's see if we can get her closer up.

Female Bullocks or a young? Your guess is as good as mine!

There were ducks in the ponds, but I passed on photos. We also had a calling Osprey. He was having no luck fishing that morning. Spotted Sandpiper was on the river and some other small peeps that flew past too quickly for me. Near the entry were some sparrows one of which looked, sounded and acted like a Song Sparrow. However, remember, I normally see these birds in winter plumage and acting like nothing’s happen. During the summer they are dressed up, singing, primping, feeding young and just not acting like the birds that I know. I should have been traveling north in the Spring/Summer a long time ago. Of course, some sparrows and peeps are hard to ID for me anyway.

Caught this butterfly.

All in all a nice NWR.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wetting the Little Bit

Well, it did finally happen. I got Little Bit wet…okay maybe soaked. I went with my friends Diane and Bryon. They took their home crafted kayaks. After we parked the cars and were walking back to the boats, Diane pointed out some birds on the ground eating. She said every time she has seen Red Crossbills they are on the ground. But, when she goes out with the big birders they are always in the tops of the trees and hard to see. Just go figure!

Red Crossbill

Como Lake south of Hamilton, MT is a nice clean and clear lake nestled in the Bitterroot Mountains. You are surrounded by trees, birds, deer, and other critters. There is a dam at one end and falls at the other end and on the sides when there is snow melt and rain.

Here I am in Little Bit ! ! !   Just gotten on the water.

Diane and myself

Bryon paddling on.

Diane and Bryon.

Some how this heart shows up in the trees. It is a ‘slide’. These happen frequently here in this part of the country. Well maybe often is more descriptive.

The far end….believe me on the way back to the take out point this seemed like forever!

The falls at the end.

Yes, it has a required American Dipper! What a great catch!

Lunching on the rocks.

Here are the boats. Bryon’s is crafted from boards and some kind of waterproof glue to hold it together. Diane’s is crafted from cedar planks. He made them many years ago and of course they are still great kayaks.

On the way back, the wind picked up and it was really strong. Ran into some white caps and then calm places. Didn’t take as long to get back as to get down there, but man I was really tired.

Cleaned up Little Bit and got her back on the car. Ready for the next outing.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Enter Little Bit

Just a quick entry for my friends that are not connected on FaceBook.
My toy is a Canoe that is somewhat like a Kayak so my friend gave them the title of Kayoos (I guess it should be Kayoe). I ordered mine the first part of June and just received it yesterday, July 23. It is a great toy manufactured by a fairly good company, but the Customer Service is perhaps the worst that I have experienced.

Little Bit is 12’ long and weighs in at about 13 pounds. She is light weight enough that I can one hand carry her around. I took the wrapping off from her today and put her back on the car and locked her up. Let me know when you want to meet me at the lake or down at the river!

The wrapping in which she came.

Getting skinned!

Now here she is!!

The way she will be looking!

I am headed up to Montana to visit with some friends. I will be dropping Little Bit in the water while there. Meanwhile, I am just looking at her.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

California Quails Made the Escape

One morning I was sitting outside the RV and doing nothing but enjoying life when I heard the contact clucking sounds of quails. The quails in this area of Oregon are interesting to me because they are not one that I am familiar. However, the clucking contacts sounds are very similar to the Gambels Quail in AZ. The quail went from normal contact to the alert call and they were getting very agitated or excited. Suddenly one quail flew into the Western Cedar tree and it was followed by a second quail and then just a bit longer and a third. Now I had never seen a quail in a tree like that. I had seen them on dead branches on a tree that the 'look out quail' would position itself, but not three into the tree! It was not more than a minute when the reason did a fly by...a nice hungry raptor!

Nice pose for me.