Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Blue Goes Away

Charleston, Oregon

We've moved about 50 miles north on the Oregon Coast to Charleston, a big fishing community. There is a fish store here that sells oysters and lovely fillets of halibut, chinook and coho salmon. We're right on the beach.


We've been here before. The last time I got pictures of four dead bodies being dragged from the surf by one of those little red Coast Guard helicopters. Even if you're a great swimmer, like me, it's probably a good idea to wear your life jacket in cold weather with very cold water. It's hard to swim with boots and winter coats when your boat capsizes. I watched the life jackets and boat bob up on the beach. The helicopter kept looking for bodies for a long time because no one was left to tell them how many people were in the boat to start with. Every morning you live though is a good morning.

The last campground on Cape Blanco was also a repeat visit. The campsites are big and private, surrounded by lush rain forest vegetation.

We went for a drive along the Elk River into the interior. We came to a recently abandoned US Forest Service campsite with a smouldering fire and lots of firewood so we filled our trunk. There was almost no traffic on the remote road, but five pickup truck stopped as we ate our lunch and ten men walked over to talk to us. They all wore hats that said "Trash Dog". They were Oregon volunteers making a day of picking up trash along the road and at campsites to keep the forest and river beautiful.

We took another long walk on the beach and saw some evidence that the cliffs along the beach are in an active phase of swift erosion with mudslides and other collapses.

There are some odd rocks on the beach.

My sister-in-law in Venice, Italy wondered if this was a Bluebird, based a a previous very poor picture. I would have thought that it was a species of blue jay, but ornithology is not one of my areas of expertise. A reader informs us that this is a Steller's Jay. Steller’s Jays were first discovered on an Alaskan island in 1741 by Georg Steller, a naturalist on a Russian explorer’s ship. When a scientist officially described the species, in 1788, they named it after him – along with other discoveries including the Steller’s sea lion and Steller’s Sea-Eagle. These Jays can interbreed with the more common American Blue Jay, producing a hybrid, like the Japanese Prius.

The squirrels here have orange belly fur. I'll go out on a limb here and identify this as a red Fox Squirrel.

In Gold Beach we dropped off three shopping bags of books for the annual book sale. In Port Orford we hit the library book sale on Saturday. Talk about deju vu all over again...the last time we were here we also hit the annual book sale. We scored 14 books for $11 in a 30 minute raid. They had free cookies and brownies provided by the Port Orford library ladies as a bonus.



Blue Jays aren't really blue. The molecular structure of their feathers reflects light in the blue spectrum, like the blue icebergs that float in Alaska lakes. You can prove this by crushing a jay feather. The blue goes away.





2 comments:

  1. Ok I think your SIL asked if it was a blue bird...after really seeing it in this blog your SIL would say it is from the jay family and called a Stellar Jay.....

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  2. You are correct....

    Steller’s Jays were discovered on an Alaskan island in 1741 by Georg Steller, a naturalist on a Russian explorer’s ship. When a scientist officially described the species, in 1788, they named it after him – along with other discoveries including the Steller’s sea lion and Steller’s Sea-Eagle.

    ReplyDelete