Down by the Riverside

Mike, Erik and I had a wonderful day out on the Willamette River yesterday. There were some high clouds which kept us from getting too hot...although sunscreen was still advisable. There was a swift current, and so we put the boat in the river at the Boones Ferry Marina in Wilsonville, Oregon, cut the motor and then just drifted along quietly. I was hoping we would see some ospreys and boy, what a treat! I couldn't wait to get on this morning to show you the pictures.

Now, keep in mind that these were taken with my Olympus E-3 DSLR camera, using a 70-300mm telephoto lens together with a 1.4x teleconverter (for you camera types). And if you're not a camera type, then all you need to know is that it is difficult to hand-hold such a lens set up and still get your pictures in focus. And since I was on a rocking boat...well, all the worse for focus. Nevertheless, I'm still happy with some of the images I got. They aren't going to win any photo contests, but they still gave me a thrill.

Right out of the box, we passed under these power lines and noticed this osprey nest.

Knowing focus was going to be a problem, I just snapped, and snapped, and snapped. Isn't digital great? And I was able to catch the osprey just as it lifted off the nest.

Jonathan Livingston Osprey...please tell me you're old enough to get that reference. 

We thought this next one was another osprey until I took the pictures off the camera and realized it was a Red-tailed Hawk.

And this next image truly does thrill me. The focus is good enough to see the eyespot on the hawk, and look at that chick! All the birds we saw were raising offspring...a testament to the health of the habitat. There must be plenty to eat.

This next one is a Great Blue Heron just as it gets ready to take off...

and fly to the other side of the river. They have a tremendous wingspan.

The Great Blue Herons always make me think of that line from the poem, Richard Cory, by Edwin Arlington Robinson:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim

"Imperially slim" is how the Great Blue Herons look to me.

We drifted right past the nest on this piling. I only saw it because one of the adult birds took off in flight.

It's another osprey nest.

And they are also feeding offspring.

So, not the best pictures ever, but you can at least get the idea.

Here's the path we took. We only fired up the motor when we got too close to the river bank. Mostly we just drifted a distance of about five miles. I've marked where Interstate 5 (which goes from the Mexican border to the Canadian border) crosses the river. We put in at a marina just west of there. The red dots in this image mark where we saw the nests of birds. Also, I've marked the Canby Ferry, which I'll say more about below.

We could have gone farther. The pink line in the image below shows where we went. Where the line changes to green is where we turned around. If we continued on the green line, we would go over (literally) Willamette Falls (marked in the upper right). There are all kinds of warnings there, and the river gets a little squirrely at that point. Just the same, usually at least one boat goes over the falls per summer. Very ill-advised, and nearly always fatal.

So, here's a picture of the Canby Ferry. (Click on that link to read more about it.) It connects Canby with the Wilsonville/Stafford area, and it has been in operation for 100 years this year. Cool, huh?

There are just a few ferries left operating on the Willamette River. Most have been replaced by bridges now.

Here are the intrepid sailors.

Yep. We were stressed. Totally.

So that was our day. It was a terrific first outing. The water was 60°F...too danged cold for swimming, but just being out on the boat always feels wonderful.

This morning I hit the ground running. If you missed my post from yesterday, you can read what's on the menu right here. So far, I've brined my chicken, slathered a mustard-thyme butter under its skin and now it's just sitting in the refrigerator uncovered. That's how you get the nice crisp skin. Also this morning, I picked some chive blossoms to start the chive blossom vinegar. I needed some chives for the chive pesto, and so I figured I'd just pick the chive blossoms while I was at it. Next I'm going to make the topping for the cheesecake and try my luck at the chocolate curls. We'll see. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Also, I need to make the parts for the salad and also some cocktail sauce for the shrimp. Oh yes, and there's the matter of the apricot sauce for the asparagus. Just a few little things to do, so I'd better get going.

I hope you have a lovely Saturday. I'll tell you all about dinner tomorrow. I'm kind of excited to be giving the Intel Underneath quilt to Matthew today. He hasn't quite reached graduation yet, but I'm too excited to wait any longer. Wouldn't you be?

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

carol l mckenna said...

Barbara ~ absolutely beautiful nature shot despite not using support for the camera ~ Wow! ~ Wonderful nature journey ~

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Thank you for sharing your photos and outing with us - just super! Enjoy your family time today.

Dana Gaffney said...

Wow, I'm very impressed with those pictures, the boat does me in every time. Those are all birds we have here, so for once I'm not jealous :)

Marei said...

Sounds like a great day out on the water. I'm thinking Mike and Eric were definitely a little stressed out...or not! Have a great day today.

Junebug613 said...

Looks like a lovely day! Hey, your Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, and Red Tailed Hawks look just like ours! LOL I thought maybe since a lot of your "yard" birds are so different from ours, that maybe the bigger ones might be a little different too. The pictures were great! And even though we're a little apart in age, I got the Jonathan Livingston Seagull reference! Have a fantastic evening and it's totally understandable that you can't wait to give him the quilt.

WoolenSails said...

What a great place to go out on, lots of wonderful photos of the birds in the area and getting the mom feeding her baby was a bonus.


Kirsty said...

What a wonderful outing! Great pictures. Thank you for sharing.

Soma Acharya said...

I so agree with snapping many photos with DSLR when focusing can be an issue. You did really well with that set up and handheld. Sometimes it's really about capturing the moments rather than fussing about award-winning photos. Beautiful outing!


Martha said...

What a wonderful day you had!!! Thanks for sharing :-)

quiltzyx said...

What a lovely float along the river! You did great with the telephoto lens, I know what a bugger it can be to focus that when hand-held...not to mention on a boat!!!

I can't wait to see the giant grin on Matthew's face when he's holding his quilt!

I didn't end up stopping for bacon on the way home. I, erm, forgot to go before I went, so to speak...BUT, I called called in to work tomorrow, so another chance! LOL

Diane Wild said...

Your photos of the birds are awesome. The birds on the boat look a bit relaxed, as well. Thanks for the ride.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

It's nice to have a relaxing day watching the wildlife. We go to the rivers here and watch the hawks, vultures circling, the heron nests in the tree tops and we also have egrets. Your photo where she was feeding her young was great.

Brown Family said...

That looks like a fun day floating down the river. YOu got great photos of the birds.

Kate said...

Love the photos of the birds. Birds are hard to get in focus when you are standing on the ground, you did well since you were on a boat.