This Land is OUR Land

I took a   road trip in August for a day, the purpose of the trip was to see my   current favorite band: The Paul Thorn Band. I went and met some dear friends there, and had a more than fantastic time! I’ll post some pictures, video and thoughts on that later. The following day, I was heading home when I saw a sign for a National Wildlife refuge, I had nothing but time so I decided to take a detour, the scenic route, the road less traveled. The temperature the day before was 106 degrees, and shooting for 100 again on this day, it was already in the 80s so I didn’t have too long to go in the “cooler” morning air so I pulled off and parked. I grabbed the camera, a bottle of water and started walking through the sage and sand of the high desert.   It is located along a beautiful waterway , the Walla Walla River, a feeder into the Columbia in the spot where 3 rivers meet , the Snake and the Walla Walla draining into the mighty Columbia. It’s an amazing place, and I hope to someday make a longer trip to explore the beauty. For now I   will just share   some thoughts and    photos of the couple hours I spent in the Madame Dorian use area of the Wallula unit in th   McNary National Wildlife Refuge

In my,   too short, visit at the height of summer, I still saw so much nature and wildlife, but also signs of man, some litter & a highway but also a giant wind-farm across the valley, sadly the turbines not turning on this sultry dog day of summer. But mostly I saw beauty, the calm, peaceful beauty of nature. I was alone in the reserve, I felt like an interloper being out of my normal rainforest wilderness, here in the high desert of far eastern Washington. But I got over that when the first great egret flew overhead… left and right, herons, egrets, pelicans, osprey, kingbirds, grosbeaks….the list goes on and on… there were plenty of bugs, snakes and even fish jumping in the morning calm. Some of the water was stagnant with a film of algae atop, but I was able to get some reflective photos despite the   conditions.

The friends that I had attended the concert the previous night with, had recently lost a very special member of their family. A symbol of the precious life of their loved one is a dragonfly, I saw many on my visit and was able to get some , what I think are nice reflective photos  and dedicate those to them.

After I left the   refuge, as always I had one eye on the road, and one on the sky and scenic landscape I was passing through. I spotted several   man made osprey platforms with nests, and then I saw another nest atop a phone pole. It was occupied, and I knew it was fledge time of year so I took the next exit, and a service road. I backtracked to where I had seen the nest, pulled off the road and   grabbed the camera.   The nest was on private property so I couldn’t get to close, but honestly I didn’t need to, the parents were actively coming and going bring fish after fish from the Yakima river below, the fledglings were constantly screaming for more. My pictures didn’t   turn out that well, but it surely was a site to see a full nest, 3 healthy young’uns and 2 adult osprey in a nest   makes for crowded quarters. I was very sad to see the nest material though, it was full of baling twine. I had horses for many years, and would make trips with my trailer over to this area to get hay and alfalfa, I understand it’s business for the area, but the irresponsibility of man is so sad to see when it’s so dangerous for wildlife…   keep the park clean… one of my “mottoes” …… and with that I’ll   just move on to sharing some photos with you,   you can click HERE to see the full album of photos, but I’ll share a few here with you:

As you can see from this picture it was a perfectly calm morning, with the reflection of the high desert foothills and the wind turbines at all stop…




The river slowed to what seems to be a stop, though it is draining into the Columbia further down stream.


A series of photos of a great egret in flight

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Great Egret

And in the water


A first for me was the Eastern Kingbird they were very active and fast! But I guess if you’re in the flycatcher family you have to be!


There were Mourning Doves and many other species.

Mourning Dove2

My local to that area favorite, the Black-billed Magpie, were fun to see and hear, but sadly I wasn’t able to get photos.

Not a bird, but a fascination for me for a few minutes was a tumblebug dung beetle, I watched him roll up some deer droppings…. A cute little critter helping to keep the park clean!

tumblebug dung beetle2 tumblebug dung beetle1

The Dragonfly photos for my friends.




Now for the Osprey & the sad nest….




Many more photos are in my album here:

My  friends,  I’ll leave you with a classic  song  that  while it  had a different meaning than  I’m using it for, it  still resonates  so well to  go with  my “keep the park clean”  mantra –   Originally written  by the great  Woodie Guthrie:

This Land Is Your Land
This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

of course my favorite version is  by Bruce Springsteen.  Take a  minute and  listen to the intro … but   take the  title words literally for this  post  my friends,  THIS LAND,  IS YOUR LAND… take care of her,  enjoy her, keep her clean,  treat her like a queen the only one we have  EVER  in our lifetimes…


and of course as always,

Stay Safe, Be Kind, Keep the Park Clean, Pay it forward, Make a Difference and One Love –

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