Sunday, June 28, 2015

Nature Continues at her Best

Yesterday I visited Jenn at her campsite and while sitting on her deck, a beautiful deer walked by.  Here the deer are black-tailed deer.

Nature and wildlife are in full swing on the island.  Everyday we hear the squawk of great blue herons in flight. The call is prehistoric-like; I always think of dinosaurs when I hear it.  Ravens are plentiful here and their call sounds like someone yelling who is in trouble!

Song sparrows are around, but their song has a Pacific Northwest sound to it, a different dialect if you will from the east coast.  Although black-capped chickadees are here, so are many chestnut-backed chickadees, with a different sound to their "dee dee dee" call.

Where it was uncommon to see brown creepers on the cape, here we see them in good numbers, working their way up a tree trunk.

At Jenn's campsite, several spotted towhees were present under the seed feeder we had hung there; at the county park where we're camping they sing at the top of bushes and trees, not under the seed feeder we have hung there.  They have a buzzy call, different from rufous-sided towhees.

We also hang a nectar feeder and suet where we camp.  Can't get away from feeding birds!  On the suet, Oregon juncos feed, black heads with brown bodies and the familiar white tail flashes.  At the nectar, three hummingbirds fight for a seat!  They are rufous-sided (unless there's an Allen's mixed in).

In addition to American crows, there are smaller Pacific Northwest crows that we have seen.  Belted kingfishers and killdeer call from time to time.

Well, that's the latest on bird (and deer) news! Would post photos, but I haven't been able to get any decent ones of birds.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Moved Slightly On!

We've been in the private campground for over a month while our host, Jenn, has been traveling in her own teardrop.  As she was returning yesterday, it was time to move on.  Our other friend, Bear, left to travel yesterday in his teardrop.  These little trailers really get around!

So,  we have found another beautifully wooded site, a county park, still in Coupeville, still on Whidbey Island!

I still can't believe that this is the life we have chosen.  Each morning we wake up to have a cup of coffee outdoors.  This is one reason we love what we are doing;calling the outdoors our living room!

We hope to stay at this park through the July 4th holiday, and then we will head a bit east toward the Northern Cascades and Mt. Baker.

Oh, we saw a beautiful pileated woodpecker this morning -- another reason to be outdoors so much!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ebey National Historical Reserve

A couple of days ago, we decided to check out Ebey National Historical Reserve.  Much of the middle area of Whidbey Island is part of the Reserve.  It has much history in its past. Isaac Ebey first settled here in the 1850's.

The location we visited featured a one mile trail that overlooked an impressive and beautiful prairie. Ebey's Prairie is one mile-long and remains relatively unchanged since the 1850's.

This prairie was used by Native Americans going back to the 1800's.

The wind was blowing the wheat to and fro, a soft rhythm of swaying to its own music.

As we walked we encountered honey bees (yay!), ladybugs, flowers, berries, and the ever-present stinging nettle (not our friend!).

The trail took us out to a point where we could see the Admiralty inlet and the Olympic mountains.  Gorgeous!

Our friend Jenn will be back soon and we will need to look for another campsite, hopefully free.  A small campground in Greenbank, here on Whidbey, has a small number of sites, so we may try for that.  Greenbank is in the southern part of the island and we haven't explored there yet.  If no sites are available, we will leave Whidbey and continue on new adventures!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stinging Hike!

One thing that has amazed us about this area of the country is the short dark nights!  There is light in the sky to some degree until close to 11:00pm!  The photo below was taken around 9:30am.

On Sunday we hiked around five miles at Ebey State Park and the adjacent Kettle Island park.  It was another glorious day here and we loved walking on the excellent trailways.  We didn't run into a soul until we got to one of the kiosks.  Michael found this trail network using Google earth.  But, he also saw a trail here at the campground that led to route 20, the major "highway" on Whidbey Island.  As we started our hike with this trail, we discovered wooden signs by the Nelson family who evidently created this trail.  Benches were named and so on, but loved the sign that warned us of a pending climb!

Bill's Hill - Feel the burn

After the climb, we got intimate with stinging nettle.  There was a dense patch of this plant and we cleared it as best we could, but both of us felt the sting.  The leaves have little needles that stick into you stinging like "icy hot", feeling cold and hot at the same time!  Then little welts appear and it stays around for about 24 hours.

Stinging nettle patch

Indian pipe fungus

Mystery mushroom

Lyndesay's bench

Fuzzy little bell flowers everywhere

A really fun and active day!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another Whidbey Island Day

This life of teardropping isn't too bad!   Life travels slow on teardrop time,  as it is referred to!  Although we love being on Whidbey Island, there is a part of us that wants to be on our way!  But no looking at this opportunity to be here as a negative.   It is free and lovely.

Let's talk hummingbirds!  As we sit here and drink our coffee we watch the antics of Anna's hummingbirds, before they settle down to drink at the feeder!  I can't seem to get a photo of one as they move too quickly!  But their gorget (throat) is a very pretty red/pink.  And when I wear my red fleece, the birds will fly to me and hover for a few seconds!

A very cute squirrel visits regularly for ground seed is a Douglas squ
irrel. A soft brown with orange underparts.  We've had a tiny vole scurrying to grab a seed and then run off.

Douglas squirrel

Even on teardrop time the laundry needs to get done!   Meet our Wonderwash!  It works well.  All we do is fill it half way with water, add detergent, stuff in several articles of clothing, screw the lid on, and turn the handle to get it spinning.  Crank it for two or 
three minutes for clean (or cleaner!) clothes!

Yesterday, a black-tailed deer walked by us.  She was a beauty.  And then a pair of mating moths landed on my leg...for awhile!  When they were done, they separated and they went their separate ways!

A day in the life...

Monday, June 8, 2015


With our decision to stay on Whidbey Island for the month,  we aren't moving too fast each day!  For example, we arise and get out of the teardrop around 7am or 8am.  We make coffee and sit outside drinking it and watching the bird feeders. We recently moved from the meadow where we were camping to Jenn's woodland campsite.  Jenn has left to travel and generously offered her site to us while she is gone.  We have this beautiful,  lush view of a duck weed covered pond.

I tthink I wrote about the beautiful Native American flute Michael gave to me for my birthday.  It is made from Alaskan white cedar and has a lovely deep sound (the key of G for any musicians out there.)

We had been using our 100 watt solar panels while in the meadow, we now have electric hook-up for our electricity needs ('fridge, and charging the trailer).   The panels did a great job charging as well.

Today, like most days, is sunny and clear and dry.  We are so spoiled by it!  Although there has been some rain, the days are mostly glorious.

We've gone through the "big" town of Oak Harbor a few times, and the charming town.of Coupeville.  Some days we just drive around and get lost!  The island is part coastal and par forest and part farmland, with mountains in the background.

So, it is time to move from the shade to sunshine!  Have a great day!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Birds "r" Us!

I slept in.  It gets so comfortable in Katie and sometimes it is hard to leave that craziness!  I typically start my day by sitting under our tent and watching the birds at the feeders we set up, a seed feeder and a suet feeder and a nectar feeder.

Here, American goldfinch are a dime a dozen!  At our Cape feeders we were happy to see a few.  At the seed feeder, we have feeder fights and regularly see 20 or more at ant one time.  The other regular visitors include pine siskin, another bird that was a nice surprise on the Cape, and red-breasted nuthatch.

But, here are the "special" birds we are seeing with some regularity: black-headed grosbeak,   red cross bills, chestnut-backed chickadee, red-shafted flicker, Oregon junco, spotted towhee and rufous-sided hummingbird.  Great horned owls call at night.

We've seen black oystercatchers and western gull and pigeon guillemot too!  So a nice variety of birds.  We hear hermit thrush with their gorgeous flute-like call.  And we've seen both mourning and Eurasian collared doves. So we are happy in this campground for now.

Birds 'r' us!