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.

4 comments:

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.