Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beers, Bridges, and Birds


Our President's Day Weekend began in Pacific City, where Sarah and I had been holed up for the week.

 On Saturday, we took part in Zwickelmania, Oregon's statewide brewery tour event, at Pacific City's own Pelican Brewpub. Our helpful brewer/tour guide explained the production method and poured us some generous samples of their high-caliber beer.

A day later, we drove North to Astoria, where we enjoyed epic stouts at the Fort George Brewery and took in great views from our riverfront motel. I am a total geek for Columbia River infrastructure, so I was sure to take some time to sketch the boat basin and the huge Astoria-Megler bridge, visible from our back deck.

 
I am also fascinated by the massive container ships that sit in Astoria's anchorage while awaiting orders from upstream ports.

It takes about 8 hours to transport their cargo from Astoria to Portland. Seems like a great way to spend a work day.

 
On Monday, we drove across the huge bridge into Washington and explored some new country along highway 4 between Ilwaco and Longview.

We stopped near the tiny village of Grays River to check out their covered bridge. Driving through it felt like visiting a car wash that had been stripped of its scrubbers.

 
Next, we toured the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge, near the town of Cathlamet. This refuge is a splendid mix of sloughs, creeks, spruce forest, and Columbia River beaches. The land was set aside to protect a small population of white-tailed deer.

We didn't see any of these deer, but we did see a lot of waterfowl, as well as our first Eared Grebe of the year.

 This white lumps above are Tundra Swans

The Greater Scaup was the duck of the day. We found large rafts of them in the area's creeks, sloughs, rivers, and ponds.


I could have spent the entire day at this refuge, but we had to return to reality in Portland. We're looking forward to our next wildlife refuge trip, however: a walk we are leading at Tualatin River NWR for Portland Audubon on Saturday.


2 comments:

  1. Yes! Love that the birds didn't even enter this post until halfway through...so much good beer in Oregon.

    Good luck with the river walk on Saturday. I bet you'll find an Eastern Phoebe!

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  2. Excellent title- a few of my favorite things! I visited that refuge once years ago and I remember finding it strange but can't remember why exactly. I hope the weather improves for your walk tomorrow morning!

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