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SW trip part 2


On my first full day in the SW we visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. This is an amazing place to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit the Sonoran Desert and it was high on my list of must-see destinations on this trip. We were there about five hours and could have easily spent two days exploring all the nooks and crannies of the place. There are exhibits of animals of various habitats – including aquatic animals, plants and how they cope with the desert climate, raptor flights, and so on. They had just started a raptor flight when we arrived so we saw a number of trained hawks and owls. I was surprised by the number of hummingbird species. They had their own aviary. I wish there’d been a docent there to help me identify all of them. I’ve tried to guess and I think I got the males right but the females, I just don’t know.

If you’re ever in the Tucson area, it’s well worth the time to see the Desert Museum.

We spent a day visiting Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Six Mile Cypress Preserve. Both places were full of wildlife and exotic (to us) plants and trees. They also feature boardwalks for safe and dry walking conditions. Also lots of good interpretive material to teach us about this exotic place. Much of Florida is developed for human habitation so these preserves represent small islands of what Florida used to be.

 A Red-shouldered Hawk, related to, but smaller than Red-tailed Hawk

We saw lots of kinds of turtles. I think these two are cooters

Watch out for this guy


Somehow the turtle escaped!

I think he was giving the wildlife watchers the evil eye because most of us were rooting for the turtle.

I need to find out the name of this snake. We saw several black racers but this one has a pattern on its face so it must be some other species.

Butterflies are so hard to photograph

I loved seeing the air plants and bromeliads in their native habitats!

Wood Stork

Green Heron

There were lots of kinds of fish. Some are introduced species, dumped out of people’s aquariums.

Another kind of turtle whose name escapes me. Ken will remember.

I think this one is a painted turtle like the ones that live here.

Lizards were always rustling in the brush. Also hard to photograph.


Little Blue Heron

Common Moorhen, similar to an American Coot

Yellow-crowned Nightheron

Small alligator, less than three feet long.

The egret in front was chased all over this pond by the other egret and a heron. We couldn’t figure out why its presence was not appreciated.

Glossy Ibis, very similar to White-faced Ibis

Coming in for a landing


The Anhinga uses its tail as a rudder underwater

White Ibis

Anhinga and turtle in the late afternoon sun

Today was the first day I’ve seen the new pedestrian bridge at Winthrop open and it was a glorious day to try it out! After spending most of the morning at the MVSTA ski swap it was nice to get outside and be reminded about some of the things we like about living here. The clear blue skies, the cottonwoods, the fish in the rivers, the birds flying in the trees and over the rivers, the camraderie of the friendly people who live here.

This new suspension bridge joins the old part of Winthrop with the newer developments to the south. Also it makes it incredibly easier to WALK from downtown to the Town Trailhead and the Ice Rink and other destinations on the west side of the river. Not only walk, but bike or ski. It’s a great place to watch wildlife – birds, fish, deer, rubber ducks…….. I saw and heard American Dippers flying up and downstream. It’s a great place to see Bald Eagles.

The most amazing thing to me is that many people have been and continue to be opposed to it! It is the first and needed step to continuing the trail system down river. Congratulations Winthrop on a job well done.

The new bridge is located slightly downstream from the confluence of the Chewuch and the Methow Rivers

Mount Gardner

Ken enjoyed watching the fish and talking about them. He identified at least four different species – whitefish, steelhead, bull trout and coho salmon!

Coho returning to Spring Creek to spawn. We were able to see numerous redds, the places where the fish lay their eggs.


Looking up Spring Creek on the left

Once we left the interior of Oregon, we headed straight out to the coast and set up camp at Carl G. Washburn State Park between Newport and Florence. The weather wasn’t always nice and we spent one day at the Newport Aquarium. It was a great way to while away a rainy day full of fascinating animals displayed in large spaces with great viewing opportunties. Being near the end of the school year, there were many student groups out on field trips. They were having lots of fun and maybe learning something too.


Some of the displays surround the viewer with water all around. This is looking straight up.




These jellyfish – Sea Nettles – were my favorite.



Moon Jellies


Not all the species were water based.


Tufted Puffin


Common Murre


The seals and sea lions looked like they were having so much fun gliding through the water.



Our neighbor shared some homemade lox with us last year and when I expressed interest in learning how to make our own from freshly caught fish, he volunteered to teach me this year. The first step is having an excellent salmon and he generously provided an Alaskan Sockeye. With a deft hand and a sharp knife he had it quickly filleted and ready to be cured.

Making lox at home


Then we spread the cure of salt, sugar, crushed peppercorns across the bottom filletMaking lox at home


Tom had told me last summer to freeze fresh dill from my garden just for this purpose. Here the dill is placed between the two fillets.Making lox at home


The two fillets ready to be wrapped and cured in the refrigerator for five days.Making lox at home


Wrapped and ready. It needed to be turned every twelve hours. By the end of the five days, it was a sticky mess.Making lox at home


The finished product, cold smoked and ready to eat!Making lox at home


I served it with cream cheese and capers and red onions on thinly sliced breadMaking lox at home


It doesn’t get much better than this!Making lox at home

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