A friend cruised through town and we took to the road. Mosier to The Dalles via the Old Columbia Highway through the Memaloose Hills and Rowena Plateau. Up over to the Tygh Valley and down to Maupin where we parted ways as he headed to Bend and i to Portland.
Faraday Reservoir to Little Crater Lake.
The local chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO) headed up into the wildfire region of east central Washington to Conboy Lake NWR and hiked the Willard Springs trail. Evidence of the wildfires was everywhere once we crossed the river. Burned hillsides and lots of smoke.
The peak of wildflower season is on the wane but there were still lots of flowers about. We spent quite a bit of time studying the water plants in the channel. Bladderworts, duck weed, Burr-reed, and Pondweed. One thing that i didn’t know is that the Bladderworts are parasitic, feeding on aquatic insects — pretty cool!
Birds were pretty quite. A couple of interesting birds was a calling Northern Pygmy Owl and a small group of Wild Turkeys seen on the road back down to the river. There were lots of dragonflys out and about. The Autumn Meadowhawks were landing on everybody.
I need to update the Ecoregion pages to cover Washington but we traveled through Level IV 9c and 9b which is the same as Oregon.
I don’t have a page up for 9b yet.
Page for Level IV 9b is now up.
Level IV (9c) Oak/Conifer Woodlands
One of my favorite places in Oregon is the Oak – Pine woodlands stretching from the Columbia River around Hood River south along the eastern flanks of the Cascades.
So, i headed out for the last wildflowers of the year. The fires had the sun rising in a deep orange-red but i was still on I84 so i didn’t get any photos. I pulled off at Mosier and drove the old Gorge Hwy to the Dalles and then over to Heritage Landing. And this is what i found:
Ok — i give up. What’s with the Camas Prairie? I have now hiked both trails and have only wound up in covered canopy forest. Are there any paths that border this prairie that i am missing? Do i have to just keep going on one of them?
Anyway, i took the south trail out of the corral, and while i did get to cross the far eastern fringe, i just about broke my dog’s legs on those f’n open slatted boardwalks. This place just frustrates the heck out of me due to my expectations of being able to travel the edges and have open views across the fens. Crap!
I did get some nice shots of a few bog flowers and some new woodland flowers were in bloom this time. And as a consolation, way up in a tree that i had to stand directly underneath to see, was a Black-backed Woodpecker. Not a new bird, but not one i come across often. I also had a calling Northern Pygmy Owl, but i couldn’t see it because, well, i was in a closed canopy forest with sightlines of about 40 feet! Prairie my ass.
After that nonsense i headed straight for the Umatilla Plateau and took the White River Canyon Road over to Wamic. Nice open country on a beautiful day. I came across a small patch of Blazing Stars, a flower i haven’t seen in a long time. A covey of Mountain Quail was a treat. Three to four adults and a whole passel of chicks scurrying in the grasses below camera level.