Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunny Day Adventures

Wow, this week the days we keep having slow cloudy morning starts but then the sun comes out and it warms up and turns just gorgeous! On Monday I went on a jog on the Rexius trail as it began to get sunny and enjoyed listening to an NPR Fresh Air podcast on my Ipod…learning while jogging!

Later I met up with Jordan and we biked out Fern Ridge Trail, which I’ve been meaning to do for days. It follows Amazon Creek which runs west out of the city. Initially we work our way through neighborhoods but then the valley opens up and you look out across a wide expanse of grasslands. The trail heads to Fern Ridge Reservoir but first there is a big marshland, and that’s where Jordan took me for some bird watching! Turns out he was a big birder when he was younger and, since he grew up in the area, he knew just where a good spot was. We were able to get up on this platform overlooking the pondy marsh area and we saw some really nice stuff: cinnamon teal, osprey, marsh wrens belting out their wild mechanical sounding song from the thick cover of marsh grass, and a group of about 300-40 huge white pelicans! Sure didn’t expect that! Jordan told me that when he came here in his early teens, the birders made a big deal when they saw just a single pelican. Well apparently populations are on the rise!

I did notice there was a weird half circle extruding from the middle of the top mandible of some of the birds’ bills. The first one I saw, I assumed it was some piece of trash that had gotten stuck on the bill but then I saw it on several more individuals. Well, I looked it up online and it turns out that it is a natural protrusion called a horn which grows anew every breeding season! It seems like both male and female adults have this feature which is shed after mating. Pretty weird! I was more ready to call it some kind of human caused thing before thinking it could possibly be something natural!

We watched the pelicans shuffling along in groups in the shallow water, heads submerged as they herded and caught small fish. They are huge birds, even from far away, when they take flight they look the size of a crane.

We also heard a great deal of activity in the grasses, including Virginia Rail, Sora and Least Bittern.  Some other spots included beautiful Black Terns which seem silver-lined, Caspian Terns and a Black-Crowned Night Heron. It was gorgeous out and warm except when the sun went behind a cloud for a moment or two. I still need to get use to this completely different climate (and remember a hoodie wherever I go)! The Eugeners tell me this is still quite cold for June, that it really should be much warmer. I’m not complaining!

For Tuesday, I met up with a new outdoorsy friend named Damien. We went up Skinner’s Butte and it was so clear and blue that we had a perfect view of the snow-engulfed Three Sisters; peaks ranging above 10,000ft! It has been so fun meeting new Eugene people, I feel like I have so much in common with a great number of them. I feel really lucky to be enjoying Eugene in the summer while everyone is out and playing sports, cycling and soaking up the sun. I definitely won’t be taking this perfect weather for granted, though!

On my way home, I decided to turn up Fox Hollow and go up into the hills a ways. It’s a definite climb, but once you get up about a thousand feet, it’s just so lovely..the purple lupines and the dark green conifers against a brilliant aqua sky…it’s also very peaceful up there. I road for about an hour and hurtled back down the hill with supper in mind. As I pulled out my fixin’s to make a killer salad, I remembered my lack of carrots and was thinking “Darn, I can’t have my salad without carrots! Wait. I’m suppose to be picking up my local foods produce today. I’m suppose to be picking it up right NOW!” With ten minutes to go, I dropped everything and ran out the door. I drove down to the pickup spot with a minute to spare and there was my nice local foods lady, waiting to distribute the last of the pickups-mine! Whew! They give your food away to charity if you don’t show up, which isn’t the worst thing to have happen but man those carrots just made my salad. Not to mention the Tokyo White Turnips and the sugar snap peas, as well as the farm fresh egg from last week that I hard boiled. Put some greens under it all, throw on some onion and pumpkin seeds and Annies Papaya Poppy Seed Dressing and you’re good to go!


  1. ok, it's official...i. am. extremely. jealous. you are liven' the dream, daughter face! love you and miss you!
    yr mom

  2. you are making me hungry for a salad!! looks so yummy."WCM"

  3. Hey, thanks for reading my blog. Glad you liked my story! I need to make sure I don't fall behind with the updates. I love to write, and I'm trying not to let myself get distracted, because I know I should always make time to write. I hope you are loving the change of location; it seems like you are. You are some definite encouragement for me to keep writing. I might actually pass through Eugene in January on a massive road trip. I will let you know if I do!

  4. Hey Stacey!
    Great to hear what you are thinking and doing - what an adventure, Eugene sounds like a good place to be. I lived in Vancouver, WA for a summer and all your talk of biking and cool people and local food shares is making making me really miss it. Keep the updates coming!


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