Friday, May 20, 2011

Sights East

Three weeks ago I didn't know Cove Palisades State Park existed. Now I have been there and deliver you, both readers, the following images:

western tanager  (it was in focus in real life)
Golden-mantled ground squirrel. It will thank you not to call it a chipmunk.
western fence lizard (fence not shown)

View down a cliff over the convergence of the Crooked and Deschutes rivers

Nearing sunset over the Billy Chinook reservoir. "Billy Chinook?" Yes.

sage aplenty

Gopher snake that wants humans to think it's a rattlesnake.

The park and vicinity features, among other things, the weirdly-named Lake Billy Chinook; western tanagers who love dropped pieces of pasta; bald eagles who love staring out commandingly over the lake and soaring above it all alongside golden eagles, osprey, turkey buzzards, red-tailed hawks, and other raptors; western fence lizards who do adorable push-ups to prove their rock is their rock; golden-mantled ground squirrels who are a little too willing to allow human photographers to sneak a little too close; gopher snakes who appear from nowhere and scare the parks service employees more than they want to admit; and very, very cold nights, especially when experienced within a tent that doesn't quite want to close.

In short, it offers spectacular and varied high desert scenery.


Sheldon said...

We got them thar Western Tanagers here in the four corners, perty burds theyrrrr

Dale said...

Sheldon, they're beautiful birds, aren't they? And such personality. I like birds that are smart enough to be assholes (within reasonable limits, of course).

Mandy said...

God's country! (wink wink nudge nudge)
Seriously, beautiful pictures.

Jeff Goob said...

Uhh, I think that bird is actually a Bullock's Oriole. Not like I'm a expert birder or anything, but I have a special place in my heart for Western Tanagers. One accompanied my sweetie and I on one of our first hikes together down the North Fork of the John Day. It's kind of "our bird". We saw quite a few at Smith-Bybee lakes last weekend.
I do like that country very much.