Reflections on Fernhill Wetlands

June 15, 2013

Back on President’s weekend Carla and I headed out to Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove. We had great light and dramatic clouds; my posting of that day, which includes a couple of pictures of eagles, can be found here. The wetlands is about 30-45 minutes west of Beaverton

Now that spring has sprung we wanted to go take another look. In the morning, Herb and I explored some garden railroads; later in the afternoon we got together for an outing with Herb and Dianne. As soon as we pulled in, we saw a Great Blue Heron nearby.

Great Blue Heron

He (she?) put up with our paparazzi routine for a while but tired of it after a bit and flew off.

Great Blue Heron looking for some peace and quiet.

We also saw a big white heron (?) but didn’t get close enough for a picture.

With hardly any wind, the water was very calm, allowing me to get some reflections which is something I’ve been working on these past few months. These are the trees that housed the nesting eagles in February. Compare this view with that in the dead of winter. Nothing rivals the Willamette Valley in summer.

View across the wetlands

My bird identification skills are definitely rudimentary. I can traverse down the taxonomy from Animal –> Bird. When Herb identified this as a Red-winged Blackbird I thought it certainly describes it well. Hmmm, maybe bird identification isn’t as hard as I’ve imagined. Naturally I forgot the name in the intervening week and needed a remedial class from my pal Jay who is a bird expert.

Red-winged Blackbird

We also saw this pair of Cedar Waxwings. The name is somewhat descriptive, but not as much so as the blackbird. Jay identified this for me this morning.

Cedar Waxwings
With some birds I can go down a bit farther on the taxonomy; I successfully identified this as a “duck”. However, I haven’t seen ducks this dark colored before. I’ve asked Jay for help in further classifying it; I’l update the post when I hear back. It was right in our path and couldn’t be bothered to moved out of the way as we approached, allowing a nice close shot.
I guess I’ll need to put forth more effort in this bird identification, or make sure Herb or Jay are always around. Jay takes part in the annual Christmas bird count. He and MaryAnn recently returned from a trip to Europe where they visited Amsterdam, Normandy, and Scotland. Jay got a couple of lifetime “gets” in his on-going birding.
My son, Jeff, is an environmental attorney and noted the “Wetlands Mitigation Site” sign below. This means the site was developed as a wetlands to compensate for some other nearby wetlands that was filled in for development.
Wetlands mitigation site.

After getting back to the car we headed south to McMinnville for a stroll down Main Street and dinner at Nick’s Italian Café. McMinnville has upped its game when it comes to dining; Nick’s is an especially nice place. Eleven years ago the four of us started our “Four For Breakfast” escapade with a trip to Wildwood Cafe here in McMinnville. It is a great little breakfast place where they coat the French Toast in corn flakes. I love French Toast and these guys do it as good or better than others I’ve tried over the years.

A great day with our great friends.

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