Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2007 Vacation with friends - Part 3

3 July 2007: A visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. This woodcarving was done by Brian McEneny, and I've admired it everytime we have visited the aquarium. It's made from big leaf maple burl.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium has several rooms of inside exhibits and outside enclosures for sea mammals and coastal birds. One of the main attractions is the aquarium with sharks where you can walk through a tunnel and see everything in the tank on all sides.

It's hard to take photos of the inside exhibit, but here's a tank with shrimp that was interesting in the lighting they had for the exhibit.

I always enjoy seeing the various jellyfish exhibits.

My favorite exhibit is the seabird aviary.

This is a pigeon guillemot.

The tufted puffin is my favorite coastal bird. The ones in the aviary are always showing off and just begging to be photographed.

Common murres look a lot like penguins, except they can fly.

This is a rhinoceros auklet. We saw this species and the tufted puffin during our ferry ride out to the San Juan Islands later in the week. I'll post photos from that trip soon.

What the heck is this? Aquarium staff members were checking on the nests. It's nice to know that the birds in the aviary are producing young.

Another favorite exhibit - the sea otter enclosure. This sea otter was quite comfortable snoozing in the window. It's sleeping with its paws on its mouth.

My dad got a kick out of the sleeping otter. Meghan was up there in the window trying to get the perfect snapshot.

One of the other sea otters was playing and swimming out in the open.

Not far from the sea mammal exhibits is an enclosure hosting snow plovers. What a treat to see this rare bird being cared for so well.

I didn't take any photos of the exhibits in the walk-through tunnels, but the light playing off the top of the tube was interesting.

After visiting the aquarium, Steve, Dennis and Gigi wanted to walk across the bridge crossing Yaquina bay. I took my dad and Meghan back to the beach house and then drove back to Yaquina Bay lighthouse to park the car.

I walked the bridge from the lighthouse side to meet them in the middle.

They just don't make things the way they used to. Some of the architectural details on this bridge are very interesting.

Here's a picture of Gigi taking a picture of me taking her picture.

This is the Highway 101 bridge that crosses Yaquina Bay.

It looks like it's in good condition.

All of the pilings below the bridge are covered in birds - either perching or nesting.

Most of the nests here were cormorant ones.

The Yaquina Bay lighthouse is no longer an operational one, unlike the Yaquina Head lighthouse I posted earlier. It is a beautiful building, though, and it's worth taking a tour through the interior.

It's not all that large, but the keeper and his family must have been comfortable here.

Everything is paneled in wood and there are hardwood floors throughout the structure.

The stairs are narrow, as are the hallways.

Every window has a beautiful view - especially the ones in front with a view of the ocean and bay.

This was the master bedroom.

This Hair Display was in the parlor. You can read about it by clicking on the next photo.

The details are pretty intricate.

I can imagine the amount of time it took to weave the hair strands into these shapes.

2007 Vacation with friends - Part 2

3 July 2007: A visit to Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The pathways leading to the lighthouse have some wonderful overlooks onto the rocks surrounding the head. One of the first bird species we spotted was a new lifer for me: Surf Scoters.

I wish we had a spotting scope along with us to get a better look, but we had to be content with the view from our binoculars.

Cormorants were in abundance, nesting on the rock faces.

Most of the cormorants were Pelagic and Brandt's. There were also some double-crested ones mixed in.

Cormorants and Common Murres dominated the tops of the rocks.

A better look at the surf scoters.

Another life bird - the Black Oystercatcher.

There were two of these working the rock around Yaquina head.

The Oregon coast is certainly scenic.

Gigi, doing some birding.

All the rock is white with bird guano.

Ahhhhh - I love this kind of scenery.

Most people come to this place to view the lighthouse. There aren't as many birders as tourists, but, since we were already here, we did take in the lighthouse as well. My Mom and Dad were with us, but didn't attempt the climb to the top. Steve, Meghan, Dennis, Gigi and I all climbed up to the top to see the view from there.

It's a beautiful lighthouse. The steps to the top are fun to climb, too.

If you climb to the top, you get a button to commemorate the feat.

The view is pretty spectacular, but it is a bit warm up there in the light tower when the sun is shining.

Here's the light mechanism.

That's my mom. Some of the woodturners reading this blog have heard me talk about my mom's influence on my artistic development.

Mom is now 81 and has some short-term memory loss. She still has strong opinions about things, but sometimes she forgets what she's said about something 10 minutes ago or so. That means you get to hear her opinion again (and again, and again. . .). That's ok - she's a character who's worth knowing, and we had fun teasing her about the gingerbread cookies. ("I don't like them. . .")

Sunday, August 26, 2007

2007 vacation with friends - Part 1

Monday, July 2, 2007. After the AAW symposium the Laidlers joined Steve, Meghan and me for a week of travel along the Oregon coast and up to Seattle. We drove over to Lincoln City and headed south to Newport.

Lincoln City is home to the "D" river, which is touted as the shortest one in the world. The source is Devil's Lake and the total length of the river is about 1/4 mile.

When we drove over the bridge we saw someone kayaking down the river. Why bother? I wondered.

We didn't have kayaks so we hiked or waded the length of the river instead. Meghan was especially keen to wade the entire length. Dennis hiked.

You can see the headwaters there in the background.

It's a short retaining wall that was built to keep in some exotic carp species that was brought in to eat the invasive aquatic weeds.

Devils Lake isn't all that big either, but there are a lot of homes built along the shoreline.

Gigi's down there photographing it all.

This sign made me a bit worried about Meghan wading down the river, but it didn't look like too big a problem after I read through the info.

If you click on the image you can see the topo map of the area surrounding the lake and river.

Some info about the restoration project for the lake.

Western Gulls liked the driftwood out in the lake.

Here are a couple of adults. . .

and some juveniles. I always find it interesting to see how different the juvenile plumage is from the adult plumage. It sometimes takes several years for young birds to change to the adult pattern.

Several crows were hanging about as well.

This one had just taken a bath and was shaking out the water.

Wow - Meghan made it to the beach. That's the first river she's travelled in its entirety.

We traveled southward and stopped at many of the scenic overlooks. Here's a friendly reminder that this coastline isn't always as peaceful as it seems. All along the coast are warning signs that you are entering a tsunami zone, and, usually, there is a map with an evacuation route.

This is a typical scenic view of the Oregon coastline. The landscape is dominated by basalt rocks that are the legacy of the immense sheet lava flows from eastern Oregon volcanoes.

Pigeon Guillemots are very abundant all along the coastline.

We stopped in Depot Bay for saltwater taffy and to visit the whale watching information center. The bay is full of harbor seals and seal lions. This is a harbor seal.

The whale watching center is right next to the bridge that crosses the outlet to the bay. A family of Western Gulls was in full view of the underpass to the bridge.

I think the parent had a small crab that it had already deshelled. It was hard to tell what it was from where I was watching.

The nest site was pretty exposed to human viewers, but probably was sheltered from most predators.

The chicks didn't seem to mind being watched.

Common Murres are also abundant along the Oregon coast line. We saw them by the thousands at some spots.

The sign is no reflection of the wonderful company Dennis and Gigi are as traveling companions. It was a lot of fun to show them the Oregon coastline.

No comment needed, but you wonder about the citizens of Depot Bay, or the tourists traveling through town.

Next stop was Cape Foulweather. Click on the image to read a bit about Oregon history. The name is pretty descriptive, though.

The view is beautiful despite the gloomy name of the place. This viewpoint overlooks the Inn at Otter Crest. I stayed there in the late 1970's when my mother and I took a short trip together to go see the King Tut exhibit in Seattle.