Oregon Bound and Down... travel blog

Bull Elk showing velvet in tall grass

You don't like my new lawn ornament?

Yuck, I didn't like THAT grass!

Mama and calf

Proud Papa

Barn Swallow surveys his domain

Winchester Bay

Date: June 19, 2012

Tonight’s Location: Bullard’s Beach State Park, Bandon, Oregon

Weather: am clouds, pm sun

Temperature: start 50º

High 61º

Wildlife count: Roosevelt Elk

Birds: Goldfinch, White-crowned Sparrow, Marsh Wren, Female Mallard, Tree, Barn and Cliff Swallows, Redwing Blackbird, Crow, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Canada Geese, Rufous Hummingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwings

We enjoyed a relaxing morning and then drove up to Reedsport, to the Dean Creek Elk Refuge, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There is a resident herd of Roosevelt Elk, living on the refuge, and they are almost always visible.

Roosevelt Elk are the largest of four species of Elk in North America. They are the Elk that Lewis and Clark used for food when they crossed the Cascades, and were named for Theodore Roosevelt. These animals were hunted very close to extinction – some estimates as low as 126 animals! Conservation measures have brought them back to sustainable numbers in the thousands.

They are magnificent animals, with the bulls all together grazing. We watched for quite a while, even getting the scope for better views. Driving down the road, we found the family units – about 8 new calves with their mothers and a few proud papas. All I could think of was the song, “We’re Walkin’ in High Cotton!” They were in grass that almost completely enveloped them!

We came back to Reedsport and had a great lunch at the Harbor Lights Café. John had a delicious Rueben, and I had a cup of the best clam chowder ever – the waitress said that thyme is added – it was great!

We attempted to get to Bolon Island, but the parking was right on the main highway in a very precarious spot, and the trail looked like it had not been used in a long time, so we gave up and rode up the Smith River for several miles. It was a lovely drive. We also stopped at Winchester Bay and watched for birds – a beautiful spot.

On the way home, we stopped at Fred Meyers and purchased a few Citron candles – some of ours are empty. Dinner was a marinated steak that we split, a huge salad and garlic bread.

After walking the loops, we attended Bill Binneweis’s program on seabirds, which was excellent. We also met Bill’s sister and brother-in-law. A great day.

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