Sunday, September 30, 2007

2007 Idaho trip - Day 4

21 August 2007

Our second day in the Idaho panhandle was spent birding, of course. We went to a couple of lakes and walked trails or just found good spots for viewing.

The first stop was a glacial kettle lake called, "Round Lake." The highlight here was osprey watching. There must have been some good osprey target fish in this lake because the pair of ospreys we watched were very successful at catching them.

We were also hoping to see some eagles, but I don't think we did at this particular location. Steve's watching the osprey fish.

There was a huge patch of skunk cabbage along one of the trails we walked at Round Lake. It's aptly named.

We saw a couple of other interesting birds at Round Lake. One was the red-breasted nuthatch. The other was the chestnut backed chickadeee - a life bird for both of us.

Our next stop was an old growth grove of Western Red Cedar and White Pine. This sign tells you a little bit about the site.

Even though the trail was only a short loop, there was a place for signing in.

The trees are majestic. There's just something magical about being in an old-growth patch of forest. The sounds are different as are the scents. The ground is covered in a deep layer of duff and you see plants and animals here that don't occur together in frequently logged sites.

The area was named for one of the original settlers to the land. You can click on this image to read the sign.

Magic - simply wonderful!

The bark has a very interesting textural quality.

We had the grove to ourselves for about an hour and then a group of noisy people arrived and spoiled the setting. Sigh.

The white pine was the tree commercially logged in this area. Some of these escaped the 1926 fire as well.

White pine bark.

White pine cone.

Some eye candy. I love the contrast in colors and textures one finds in this type of forest.

More eye candy from the architecture of this fern frond.

The air was very still and you could see small bits and pieces floating in the air where the sun broke through the canopy to shine on the forest floor below.

The nutrient cycle in full swing as these fungi are breaking down a standing dead tree.

Walking on the forest floor is like walking on a deep carpet of springy foam. The duff layer must be a foot deep or more.

After the noisy people arrived, we left and drove over to Priest Lake. I got a kick out of this sign reminding drivers to drive slowly.

The island across from where we stopped has a campground, which is accessible by boat and kayak.

It sure was a beautiful setting. I'd like to come back here again someday and do some camping.

I'm not sure what this little bird was -perhaps a western wood peewee? Anybody recognize it and want to leave a comment to tell me what it is? We saw this bird at Albeni Dam - our last stop of the day.

We walked down below the dam because I had spotted some waterfowl that needed a closer look. Here's a yell0w-rumped warbler giving us a good look, too.

The waterfowl turned out to be common mergansers. They always seem to swim in this kind of formation. On our last day of the trip, we watched a group of them working the Boise River - they'd all dive in formation and all came back to the surface with a fish in their beak.

And, of course, the ubiquitous osprey. We saw dozens and dozens of osprey in Idaho.

The big treat of this day was the rainbow at the end of our travels. We were driving in rain as we returned to Sandpoint and the double rainbow appeared as the sun broke through the cloud layers near sunset time.

We drove over to the sandy beach area of Sandpoint to take it all in. It was such a spectacular rainbow.

You can see the double here.

This is a view of part of the Sandpoint marina.

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