Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Klamath Basin: Part II

Part II of our Oct 12-15, 2011 trip to the Klamath Basin
Friday: A lone raven puts on quite a show for us this morning. I first spotted it talking to itself up on a telephone pole crossbar. We turned the radio off and rolled the windows down listened to a lot of ‘soft talk.’

The raven soon flew to a perch high on a charcoal snag .. more soft talk. Lots of soft talk. I wish I knew what he is saying!

This raven’s upper mandible is overgrown. He (?) looks very much like the raven we photographed about three miles from here five years ago. I sent a photo of that one to a researcher who is studying beak deformities. I suspect the researcher will appreciate another photo.
We stopped near Lava Bed’s entrance booth and got side tracked for about two hours by insects: bees, butterflies ,bugs, … caught my attention first. Before long I spotted a jumping spider, but my movement made him pop out of sight. Dale and I have a special fondness for jumping spiders so I alerted Dale when he got back. The spiders have eight eyes, two especially large – “better to see you with, my dear!” If we move slowly the spider just might stay put

The warm sunshine has brought jumping spiders out in droves. Most are tucked in the tops of rabbit brush. One has caught a small wasp and feeds on it. Then I notice several spiders are on the tall stems of bunch grass, higher than my head. At the very tip of a couple of grass seed heads is a little mess of cobweb. From the jumping spiders? While I’m watching a jumping spider climbs to the very tip, where there is a cobweb platform and sticks his abdomen into the air. He is releasing strands of cobweb into the sky! Is he going to ‘balloon’ off to a new location? No. He goes partway back down the long strand of grass and appears to have returned to hunting mode. Some spiderlings disperse to new locations by ballooning, i.e. letting out strands of fiber and letting the breeze carry them off. It can be quite beautiful when lots of them are on the move. They drift about like ethereal kites that got away from their fairy friends.

Saturday: It was supposed to be sunny today, but we have light overcast instead – actually good light. It will hold off the heat waves which can severely limit our chances for photography.
I’ve looked hard for a great horned owl and finally find one tucked in a shady crevice. He is a sleepy fellow.

While sitting here Dale suddenly spots a weasel! It pauses on a rock near the water’s edge. Soon crosses the road about fifty yards in front of us and I get two quick glimpses as he comes back on my side of the road. The sweet little imp peered at me briefly both times. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph him even though I had camera in hand, waiting.
Aspen are turning color in the Basin. Most groves are still green, others yellow green and a few in full color with tints of orange. Sunshine, Indian summer temperatures , and gold aspen -- a good mix, though I must admit we only had a dab of sunshine. Soon back into overcast.

We listen to Ravel’s Bolero as we wind our way along the Umpqua River, heading home. Still light when we pass Tokatee.


  1. I can just hear your music as you wind up along the River....perfect...:)) as are your drawings as usual. Always fun to come here.

  2. I am not sure why but the crow family are one of my favourite birds. They have a sense of intelligence. The portrait you have drawn is especially nice as you have caught a personality without making it human.

    We are having unseasonably warm weather here in England too right now. I am making the most of it; as we all know, it changes as quickly as you blink.

  3. I learn about nature from your travels. I love reading and seeing sketches of your travels.

  4. Thanks for sharing again. I so admire your ability to travel and stop and watch at the same time. I love the sketch of the owl in the corner, he looks so sleepy.