Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Warm January Visit to Wenatchee WA...

Wenatchee Washington, named after the Wenatchi Indian tribe in the native language of Sahaptin means "river which comes from canyons". And appropriately so as Wenatchee is located along not only the banks of the mighty Columbia river for the entire city length, but a northwest portion of “The Apple Capital Of The World” is at the mouth of the Wenatchee River Canyon.
Downtown Wenatchee looking from the Columbia River across town to the
Mission Ridge Ski Area located above this Eastern Washington City.
Population for this Eastern Washington City was at 32,520 at the 2013 census. The 'Wenatchee Valley Area' refers to the land between two of the Columbia River dams – the Rocky Reach (upstream) and the Rock Island (downstream) including East Wenatchee, Rock Island, and Malaga. These local environs sprawl across portions of Chelan and Douglas counties (divided by the Columbia River).
Looking upstream across the Columbia River to a portion of
Wenatchee from the Kirby Billingsley Hydro Park

Not only does Wenatchee have the moniker of "Apple Capital of the World" (due to the valley's many orchards) but the city is also referred to as the "Power Belt of the Great Northwest". This is a metaphor for the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Rock Island Dam is located nearest to the middle of this "belt", and so was labeled the "Buckle". This saying is printed at the top of every issue of Wenatchee's newspaper, the Wenatchee World.
Great blue heron off Walla Walla Point on Wenatchee waterfront
with Pipeline/Pedestrian Bridge in background.

The historic Pipeline/Pedestrian Bridge, opened in 1908 as the first road bridge over the Columbia River south of Canada.  It also accommodated pipelines for irrigation of orchards east of the River.  It is a steel truss bridge over one thousand feet in length connecting the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. And now serves as a pedestrian / bike path bridge while still carrying irrigation water across the Columbia River.
During our January, 2014 visit to Wenatchee we lucked out with hitting the weather window - four days reaching fifty degrees Fahrenheit with one of those tagging 55*. Believe me, coming from the Canadian border area a few days in the warm sunshine in the middle of winter was welcome.  
January full moon rise over East Wenatchee

The view from Wenatchee to East Wenatchee across the Columbia River with January's full moon rising.


The Confluence of  Rivers
Geographically the confluence of rivers is the meeting of two or more large streams of water. This designation refers either to the point where a tributary joins a larger river, called the main stem, or where two streams meet to become the source of a river of a new name.

The forty mile long, east flowing Wenatchee River, with it’s headwaters on the east slope of the Cascade Range, is a variable waterway tumbling thru cleft wall canyons, winding through basined wetlands, in a combination of rapids giving way to backwaters. While this image is primarily of the Columbia River the location is at the confluence with the Wenatchee.
Confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers - mouth of the Wenatchee is on left of image.

Wenatchee's Waterfront Sculpture Park
Photography displays lead me to research the various images I create, thus continually expanding my knowledge of the region, environment, culture, and topography that I live in and visit. Often I enjoy the research as much as the photography itself, well almost…

This impressive sculpture entitled WELCOME can be found in Wenatchee in the Sculpture Garden along their waterfront park. It stands approximately 10 feet tall, created in bronze, stainless steel, and copper by artist Jim Johnson of Salem Oregon. The plaque with the sculpting states that it is part of “Arts on the Avenue – Visiting Sculpture” and is for sale for $10,000. I caught this image with the January full moon rising behind the sculpting and incorporated the moon into the artwork itself.
Another image from a recent trip to Wenatchee, back in the warmer weather of January (50* on the 5th). This is a sculpture entitled WINGS. Here is the dedication on the base: WINGS by Gary Lee Price – dedicated by Art on the Avenues in 2012 to honor the Wenatchee School District recipient of Art on the Avenues 2012 Adele Wolford Founder’s Award for over support of the arts.


To Be Continued...




Friday, February 14, 2014

Winter Birds...

If you have a home feeding station in a winter-like environment chances are your already familiar with Nuthatches, members of the bird family Sittidae. Apparently the moniker of ‘nuthatch’ is, in part derived from an older English name of “nuthack” due to their habit of wedging nuts and other food in tree crevices before hacking them open with its long, sturdy bill.
(Click on image to see a larger version)
Red Breasted Nuthatch
The first bird pictured here is a red-breasted nuthatch, one of the four members of the family that reside in North America, the others are the white-breasted, brown-headed and pygmy nuthatches. Worldwide a total of 22 types of nuthatches have been identified.

Red breasted nuthatch climbing downward
The nuthatch is a cavity nester that often filling it’s nest with twigs, moss, mammal hair and feathers. Both sexes help with the nest construction. Once eggs are laid incubation lasts 12 to 14 days and is mainly the female's chore.

These are a thickset, stub-tailed, active little birds often seen scurrying down tree trunks headfirst. When climbing down tree trunks, nuthatches depend entirely upon their claws. The stance shown in this image is a classic nuthatch stretch, one foot forward under the breast and the other back under the tail. This movement allows the birds to travel nimbly down the trees, digging in with their strong hind toes. The strategic advantage for these birds to climb downward is their ability to find food in bark crevices overlooked by birds that climb upward like tree creepers and small woodpeckers.
Red breasted nuthatch clinging to the bark of a Ponderosa pine tree

Mountain Chickadee
At -5* the morning this image was created, this small mountain chickadee is all fluffed up to keep what little body heat it has in place. For this diminutive creature to survive these frigid nights, it can put on fat equal to 10% of its body weight in one day, and burn it off using selective muscle shivering by the early morning hour. Go figure that formula out for your body size. The smaller the bird, the harder it is to stay warm, and the more food it requires for its size. These winter foragers frequent my feeders daily for oil-rich sunflower seeds and nuts. While I enjoy feeding and having the birds here during the winter months, the research of Dr. Thomas Grubb of Ohio State University, shows that these small birds get through the winter season in better nutritional condition if they have access to bird feeders. Works for me... 
Mountain Chickadee on Ponderosa Pine Branch