Posted by: atowhee | August 20, 2017

WINE, WINGS AND A WONDERFUL FLIGHT

Yesterday afternoon I took our first pair of eclipsophilic visitors for a look around the area. We went up to the Dundee Hills. Stopping at Red Ridge Farms we visited the olive press, the wonderful plant nursery, the olive oil dispensary and shop. Then we walked toward the west edge of the hill top for the views next to the tasteful tasting room. There were dozens of people chatting, eating and drinking at a spot where ten people is the usual crowd. I had convinced myself that is was simply a convergence of many pre-eclipse tours at this scenic spot. As we approached the tasting room I stared at the four people seated around the first outdoor table we came to. Three were drinking the Durant Vineyards vintages, with some snacks before them as well. The fourth person was a woman wearing a live Peregrine. The falcon tightly gripped the leather glove on her left hand. pere-winepetre-wine3The woman was describing to the other three how she fed her bird and how often. She then turned to another woman who was working with her and explained that the owl might go toward the road and so that area had to be watched.
We got to the edge of the slope facing west over the Willamette Valley and the smoke-choked slopes on the western foot of the Cascades. Dozens of folks were gathered, nearly all facing over the view. But they weren’t just there for the scenery. Some had binoculars, all of the type that indicate a non-serious birder. No $2000 optics in this crowd. Cameras were slung over shoulders. Gradually it dawned on us that we’d stumbled into an event, a release of a rehab bird about to go wild. A Great Horned Owl was being released to take up residence at the vineyard. Grapes draw rodents, and that is a preferred food source among owls and many raptors.
The owl soared downhill with its long, soft wings flapping soundlessly. It headed to the nearest line of large conifers and disappeared into the foliage. To sleep before his first night’s hunt back in the wild. This bird had been rescued as an owlet that fell out of a nest in January and then was raised with other owls prior to being released.
So this owl was a proud graduate of the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center near Salem, Oregon. Great work, folks. The crowd was there to witness the release and donate money to the center. Wine and wings and wonder.
OWLL1OWLL2OWLL3OWLL4OWLL5OWLL6OWLL7OWLL8OWLL9OWLL10
Here are the trees wherein the owl came to rest on its first freedom flight, Cascades in the background.DURANT VU
BEE-ATIFIC
Earlier in the gardens of Red Ridge we had been happy to see all the busy bees. A clump of seven-foot tall Joe Pye weeds were thick with blooms, those in turn were probed and prodded by plenty of bees. Just a couple yards away was a single Russian sage. Its blossoms were always bee-ing buzzed and nectar imbibed, pollen packed into pollen packets. Later, at White Rose Vineyards, atop the highest swell of the hill, dozens of blooming Russian sage formed curving hedges. There, again, the bees happily out-numbered all the other visible creatures including wine-tasters.

Dundee Hills, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 19, 2017 3:30 PM. 9 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 4
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) X
Great Horned Owl (Great Horned) (Bubo virginianus [virginianus Group]) 1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group]) 4
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) X

MY MCMINNVILLE-BASED FALL BIRDING CLASS IS NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION. CLICK HERE FOR THE PARK 7 REC PROGRAM GUIDE. THE BIRD CLASS IS ON PAGE 24. OCT, 7 THRU 21. THREE TALKS, THREE WALKS.


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