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Posted at 5:17 pm in oregon

After crossing western Canada and traveling south through Idaho and Washington, I visited with friends in Oregon for about two weeks. On most days my friend, Paul, and I took Sabrina and wandered along secluded streams in the Cascades. Creeks and rivers have always figured largely in my life, from growing up along the shores of the mighty Ottawa, to paddling the waterways of eastern Ontario with Don, to camping beside the Smith and other rivers of the Pacific Northwest. Without hesitation, I can say that the most memorable hours of my life have been spent on or within a stone’s throw of moving water.

The cold, clear waters of the Cascades hold a special place in my heart for I came to find peace next to them after my father’s death, so it was there that I returned during this journey. I was not disappointed. We sat beneath the eroded basalt of waterfalls while water tumbled overhead (mp4 video clip). Beside fast moving streams, we found Water Ouzels, also known as American Dippers (Cinclus mexicanus). Of these birds, John Muir wrote:

He is a singularly joyous and lovable little fellow, about the size of a robin, clad in a plain waterproof suit of bluish gray, with a tinge of chocolate on the head and shoulders. In form he is about as smoothly plump and compact as a pebble that has been whirled in a pot-hole, the flowing contour of his body being interrupted only by his strong feet and bill, the crisp wing-tips, and the up-slanted wren-like tail.

No matter where we went, we found a Water Ouzel or two to keep us company. The sight of them brought back memories of the hours that Don and I spent watching ouzels along some of these same rivers watching ouzels. This time, I shot a few short movie clips of the ouzels just with my still camera. I’ve made a one minute movie clip of an ouzel hunting for aquatic invertebrates in a clear mountain stream. It’s not really very good, but gives some idea of how these little birds dive into the fast-moving water, walk about on the bottom, then climb out to bob on bent legs while singing a few notes before diving back in. Listen for the chirps and warbles which can barely be heard over the rushing of the stream in the final seconds of this clip.

Written by bev on November 27th, 2008

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