When is a birdhouse a ‘home?” Oh, that’s easy! It’s when feathered residents move in and build a nest.
“Birding” is a popular outdoor recreational activity for many Oregonians– whether it’s watching for varied species, filling a feeder or even building the songbirds a home! Today, I visit a man who makes sure native songbirds get more than a simple roof over their heads: they get a backyard resort for a home.
There’s quite an outdoor show for those in the know as Oregon’s wild places are prime at this time of year – rain or shine – places like Sauvie Island Wildlife Areaare at their showy best. ”No better time of year,” I like to say as eagles soar or waterfowl dive and it gets even better at places like Smith–Bybee Wetlands when you’ve an expert who shows the way for a walk on the wild side:
“It t may be wet, it may be cool but it’s not freezing and there’s lots of food for the birds,” noted James Davis, wildlife author and teacher. Davis works for Metro and he is a an accomplished wildlife expert who wrote the comprehensive “Northwest Nature Guide.”
He said folks don’t have to travel far to find wildlife at this time of year.
“There are hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese and swans and hundreds of raptors coming to and thru the heart of the Willamette Valley.” It’s hard to imagine a better place to watch the show, but Davis added that there are many easy to reach sites that could be considered “close to home,” like the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood.
It offers a wonderful visitor center and two miles of easy trail that combine to put you in touch with wildlife that’s practically as close as your own backyard. “This is ‘the south’ for half a million birds. We have a warm, mild, wet climate that is great for them. But many people think, ‘Well it’s cold here, why would they come here?’ Well, just imagine what it’s like in northern Manitoba right now? Brrrrr!”
Don’t forget Ankeny Wildlife Refuge near Salem. It offers visitor friendly boardwalks and viewing platforms that give you a front row seat to wetlands and feeding waterfowl that also keeps you out of foul weather. US Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist, Molly Monroe, keeps a sharp eye for the many wildlife species that use the refuge and said it’s a perfect place for newcomers to “stop in and visit and hike the varied trails.”
“It is a wonderful thing when you can sit somewhere, observe the finest little things, and enjoy an outdoor spectacle – a great way to come out and enjoy the refuges.”
Spectacular shows are easy to come by in winter; not just the huge flocks of waterfowl or solo raptors like hawks and eagles, but also the smaller songbird species. In fact, consider attracting wildlife species like songbirds into your own backyard.
Hillsboro resident, Dennis Frame, loves the sights and sounds of the wild – so he builds feeders and houses for native songbirds. Frame’s structures aren’t really homes – but his elaborate wooden abodes are more akin to – well, bird resorts.
Washington County resident, Irene Dickson, has two of Frame’s beautiful yet functional – feeders and each is firmly planted in the ground on fence posts – 6 feet off the ground in her yard. She said that they “really work.”
“They add such pleasure and peace,” said the avid bird fan. “They’re real de-stressers too. Plus, the resort detail is fabulous and impressive with the little rock walls, benches and other details. It looks like a little cabin by a lake.”
Frame is a builder of human homes by trade, but in his cozy and well organized carpentry shop, he said his greatest pleasure comes from crafting the elaborate “bird resorts.” “This is my little getaway and I can come in here and get away from it all and get creative too.”
He’s always been a fan of simple, rustic log cabin homes and will often scour the countryside for “models” that he can reproduce on a small scale for the birds. “I’ll drive and spot one and ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ Maybe snap a photos or make a mental note and then recreate it in a bird house.”
Frame has been ‘chippin’ away’ at his hobby for 15 years and said it ‘s the tiny details that impress most people.
The resorts sport stone and mortar chimneys, decks with handrails and small pieces of character that set them apart from ordinary store-bought models – including a wooden front door.
“The door actually opens. I do that because you must clean out the resort following each nesting year. In fact, the birds seldom return the following year unless you do that. I try to make it an easier job.”
Frame also trades, barters and salvages for everything – recycling for the birds! On top of that – he rarely sells a house; instead, through the years he has given them away to non-profits like his local Rotary Club and the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Education Center. The groups then sell Frame’s bird resorts and raise hundreds of dollars to support their educational programs.
“This is my way of giving back to the community. I believe in community; they help me out so I help them out. And getting people out of their houses and learning more about the outdoors is a positive way to go in my book.”
Many people must agree with Dennis! His wildlife work is “red hot” popular and he can’t make them fast enough. In fact, Dennis created a special edition that’s a one of a kind dandy home that he has named the “Grant’s Getaways Bird Resort.”
He has donated the avian abode to one of my favorite non-profits: the Banks Community Auction. The popular and annual Washington County event raises money to support programs in the local schools. In addition, I’ll contribute two of my “Grant’s Getaways” books to go with Frame’s wonderful bird resort.
So, consider attending and bidding on the package to help the birds and local children. This year the auction will be held at the Banks High School on April 28.
Cheese and chocolate lovers mark your calendars for a sweet and savory March!
The Oregon Chocolate Festival takes place March 2-4 at the Ashland Springs Hotel and will showcase the sweet creations of more than 50 Oregon chocolate makers and other specialty food vendors. From traditional candies, to chocolate-covered bacon and lavender-infused truffles, the festival has a taste for every palette ($20). Southern Oregon winemakers will be on hand to provide wine pairings, and a Chocolate Makers dinner will be held on Friday ($59) along with other special events through the weekend.
March 16-17, members of the Oregon Cheese Guild and select cheesemakers from surrounding states will gather for the Oregon Cheese Festival. A Cheesemakers Dinner will be held on Friday at the Ashland Springs Hotel (limited seating), where diners can visit with cheesemakers and enjoy cheese-centered courses paired with wine from Southern Oregon wineries ($90). Margo True, Food Editor of Sunset Magazine, will emcee. On March 17, visitors can sample the goods of 80 cheesemakers, artisan food vendors, wineries and breweries in a farmers market setting at Rogue Creamery in Central Point ($15).
Extra slice: There’s a new face in the Oregon cheese world: Portland Creamery, the newest licensed creamery in the state, will be on hand at the Oregon Cheese Festival with fresh goat cheeses. Look for Sweetfire (with habañero and marionberry puree), tarragon mustard (a spring offering) and herbes de provence (elegant!). If you’re lucky, owner Liz Alvis might bring some of her coveted cajeta — goat’s milk caramel.
Just ask your Oregon neighbors and you’ll find out: “What’s so special about Oregon’s Birthday?”
When you reach 153 years of age, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. With Oregon celebrating its birthday this week (Valentine’s Day), I checked out a few local sites that offer lively lessons linked to the Oregon celebration dating to the U.S. Congress approval of Oregon’s statehood in 1859.
If you decide to learn more about Oregon’s road to statehood 153 years ago, start your adventure at Champoeg State Parknear Wilsonville and discover that Oregon’s early pioneers felt exactly the same way:
Champoeg is where the first provisional state government formed in 1843 and it set the stage for statehood that followed on February 14, 1859. Oregon State Park Ranger, Dennis Wiley, said the Champoeg State Park holds on to the Oregon story that began in the 1840’s. He added that the park’s visitor center can show you how it happened:
“The early arrivals started the “Oregon way.” Those folks wanted to do things a little bit differently and they built the townsite with their own hands because they knew this was remarkable place.”
The nearby Robert Newell house has been standing just as long and while it’s a private museum now, it’s interior furnishings arrived on the Oregon Trail and reflect the success that Newell found in Oregon. “You can see the wealth in the formal layout of the rooms,” noted Park Ranger Mike Niss. “The clothing, the bedding – everything was a little better quality than the average citizen would have had at that time.”
Fifteen miles away, there’s a bigger than average reason to stop in at Willamette Mission State Park where Jason Lee built the first Methodist mission in 1834.
The park is also home to a gigantic cottonwood tree that was here long before the church was built according to Park Manager Ryan Sparks: “We believe this tree was here before the mission was built, so this tree has seen some of the earliest settlers come to the Willamette Valley.
Wilson Park, Capitol Park and the Capitol Mall are all part of the Capitol State Park in Salem.
“You can see statues here of Jason Lee, Dr John McLoughlin (the Father of Oregon) and the Circuit Rider statue – we even have a replica of the Liberty Bell on the mall outside the capitol building as well.”
Several water fountains and a gorgeous show of flowering cherry trees that bloom each spring compliment the State Capitol State Park’s statues. Ryan Sparks added that a visit is perfect cap to your day’s adventure, so consider it a journey of discovery to learn more about the place you call home.
“It’s really important for all of use to know where we came from and I think it helps put perspective on what it was like for the early settlers. When you travel between these parks you begin to see how they compliment each other.”
Wintertime in Oregon offers a weather roller coaster ride of sorts when the gray shaded days of wind and rain are quickly followed by breaks of soothing warmth and sunshine. There’s never a dull moment this time of year. Winter is the perfect time to check out the powerful natural drama that is found along Oregon’s coastline when he heads outdoors for a winter storm watch.
As winter surf floods and ebbs, beachcombers wander…seeking secrets from the tides. Along the beach near Cape Meares, Don Best uses his camera to find the secrets that many of the beach strollers miss. The longtime local has a passion for pulling out the best in a winter scene and his Best Impressions prove it.
“Sometimes it takes quite a few pictures to get the right one,” said Best. “There’s a lot of dynamic action; wave movement, breakers hitting the rocks or logs. Shooting the wind and the waves with a camera is exciting.”
That much is true on a day when sparkling sunshine clears away the gloomy gray as a powerful east wind stirs up a show on the ocean.
Best says those are the days to watch for “Spindrift” or “King Neptune’s Horses:” “The wind blows the tops of the breakers back out to sea,” said Best. “It is stunning and the spray is like a white sheet that even has rainbows if you get the right angle.”
His photo collection of stormy coastal moments provides a unique angle to Oregon coastal life that many people never get a chance to see. Many shots from Best’s collection of coastal photographs date back nearly a century and show that winter storms weren’t always so nice. In fact, they were terrible.
Like the winter of 1915, shortly after the Tillamook North Jetty was built and the Barview community was flooded by giant ocean waves. Best’s album shows off images of railroad wreckage and homes that were lost as people watched helplessly when sweeping waves wiped out the town during a disastrous storm.
What were folks thinking about at the time?
“An escape route, where to run!” noted Best with a chuckle. “That’s what I would do too.” Robert Smith, Oregon State Park’s Beach Safety Manager, said that when you head to the beach in winter it’s critical to stay alert because huge logs are often washed ashore. He said that just 5 inches of water can move a five-ton log.
“It’s such a big powerful ocean and we enjoy looking at that power, but people have to recognize that power can also prove dangerous and turn a log into a weapon.”
Smith added that rocky jetties might seem inviting because they offer a front row seat to the ocean’s action, but people should stay in their cars to enjoy the show and not walk out on the jetty rocks.
“The jetties are designed to protect the channels for safe shipping traffic and not designed for pedestrian use. The rocks – as large as they are – shift and can have caverns and sinkholes that you never see. Plus, you’ve got poor footing because it’s slippery. It’s just a recipe for disaster.”
Smith added that even the popular coastal hiking trails require caution:
“The amount of water and rain that we get here – coupled with the amount of sea spray – adds up to increased erosion on our trails.”
“These sites are a little higher up, a little further away and definitely safer,” noted Smith. “You get a bird’s eye view of the power of the ocean. Perhaps the premier location for storm watching along the entire coast is Shore Acres State Park. It’s simply amazing when the surf crashes along that shoreline.”
There are many amazing places to watch nature’s drama play out along the northern Oregon coastline too – and if you’d like to enjoy a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide to show the way, check out Oregon Storm Tours in Seaside.
Darren Gooch and Patricia Murphy joined an ‘Oregon Storm Tour’because it’s a safe and educational option and importantly; they “weren’t sure where to go.” OST’s David Posalski said that his driving tours stop at many north coast sites, but the Columbia River South Jetty viewing tower at Ft Stevens State Parkis a favorite among the visitors who join him each winter.
“Usually it’ll be a single couple, like Darren and Patricia, and we decide what they want to see, what they want to do depending on their time and how active they want to be.
The wonderful thing about the tour is that David can present varied location options and you can tailor the trip to suit your time and budget and interests.
“We are the least touristy tour anyone has ever been on,” noted David.
St. Patrick’s Day rolls around just once a year, but Celtic pride reigns around the state during all seasons.
If you are looking for a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration, take part in the 30th annual “A Wee Bit O’ Ireland” in Heppner, Oregon. Located southwest of Hermiston, Heppner doesn’t look like the Old Country, but the Irish spirit will be alive and well at the March 15-18 event. Enjoy food, drink, music, arts and crafts, sheep dog trials and amateur boxing. “The Gothard Sisters,” a popular Pacific Northwest fiddle and dance trio, will perform Saturday night. Visitors will enjoy the welly toss, the Great Green parade and road bowling.
March 16-17, the town of Lakeview in southern Oregon remembers the history and heritage of its 19th Irish immigrants with the annual Irish Days Festival. Friday evening features a corn beef and cabbage dinner along with traditional Irish step dancing. Saturday will see unique competitions like potato hockey, a bartenders race and outhouse races, along with various food competitions and a parade, music and a barbeque.
Portland Highland Games celebrates its 60th anniversary on July 21, 2012, at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. The event showcases world-class pipe bands, Celtic entertainment, and top competition in heavy athletics, Highland dancing, solo fiddling, piping and drumming. The kilted mile run, sheepdog demonstrations, caber toss, and parade of massed bands are among traditional favorites. Bring the kids for games, a fun run and a tug-o-war.
Head to the village of Yachats on the central Oregon Coast for the Yachats Celtic Music Festival Nov. 9-11. In its 11th year, the festival features Celtic music from world-class musicians from Ireland, Scotland, Asturias and Galicia as well as dancing, food and spirits. The weekend usually includes whiskey and beer tasting, Irish step dance classes, and fiddle, flute and whistle workshops.
Fittingly close to Valentine’s Day, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) opens this month with plays about star-crossed lovers, unrequited passion and magical romance.
Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” takes the stage on Feb. 17. Director Laird Williamson offers the familiar and timeless tale of two young lovers and their feuding families in a new setting — California in the 1840s. Bringing this tumultuous period in American to the foreground adds a modern twist to a beloved story.
Feb. 18 will see the world premier of “The White Snake,” a play by Tony-award winning director Mary Zimmerman. Based on a classic Chinese fable, this is the story of a snake spirit disguised as a beautiful woman who falls in love with a young scholar. She must use magical powers to defeat dark forces and win her lover.
Libby Appel’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s, “Seagull,” opens Feb 23. Set in 19th-century Russia at a lakeside estate, “Seagull” tells the tale of four passionate artists each in love with someone who does not return the affection. “Seagull” is a story about theater, art and unfulfilled desire.
Making room on the dramatic stage for comedy, OSF opens “Animal Crackers” on Feb. 19. Originally created for the Marx Brothers, this slapstick musical recounts the adventures of Captain Spaulding, African adventurer and wise-cracker, at a posh Long Island party. High jinks meet high society and mayhem ensues.
These four rich plays are just the beginning of a packed season for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which runs through early November.
If you’ve got a case of the mid-winter blues, we have the perfect cure — retail therapy on Alberta Street in Portland’s northeast quadrant. With dozens of unique storefronts and plenty of options for great food and drink, you’re sure to find just the pick-me-up your spirits need.
For a morning start, Fuel up at Helser’s on Alberta. Might we suggest the smoked salmon hash? If lunch is the meal in question, stop in at Pine State Biscuits (also good for breakfast, dinner and late night snacks on the weekend). Try the McIsley — fried chicken on a biscuit with pickles, mustard and honey. Wow.
Feeling crafty? Check out Close Knit for the yarn of your dreams and Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique for colorful cloth to inspire your next sewing creation. Collage is the place to buy arts and crafts supplies as well as a creative space to get down to work.
Wind down from your shopping adventure with an espresso at Barista or a steaming pot of tea from Townshend’s Teahouse. If dinner is on the horizon, try the delightful Italian fare at Ciao Vito or much lauded, recently reopened Aviary and celebrate your victory over the winter blahs.
It’s going to sound clichéd to say so, but you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Tony Smiley play music. Also known as The Loop Ninja, Smiley is a one-man band who singlehandedly puts most multiple-member bands in their places. Using loop technology, which stacks musical segments on top of one another, Smiley builds an entire, totally rocking musical world, live on stage weekly in Oregon and around the Pacific Northwest.
Smiley grew up in Hood River, and his approach to music is very “Oregon”—independent, open-minded, spirited and personal. The lifelong musician and former member of many bands endured the break-up of several groups before deciding to just do his own thing—lucky for all of us. I saw him for the first time a year ago and was instantly hooked.
It works like this. Smiley gets on stage, surrounded by a mess of instruments and wires, a couple of microphones, and a Boss Loop Pedal, which looks simply like a few levers at his feet but is actually the portal to Smiley’s unique brand of musical magic. He starts to lay down some rhythms, one instrument at a time, eventually looping them all on top of each other. Totally adept at guitar, bass, keys, drums, and beatbox, Smiley masterfully builds a song before your eyes. Smiley plays a fun mix of rock, world fusion dance, old school 80s/90s and new wave, as well as songs he writes himself. Half of the fun is trying to guess the track before the loops are all in place. Before he even begins to sing, the audience is a sea of bobbing bodies, tapping feet and happy smiles.
Then Smiley throws in the vocals.
His awesome deep growly voice rocks any house he plays, and he plays many. Smiley tours around the Pacific Northwest weekly, regularly appearing at Portland, Oregon, locales Buffalo Gap, Doug Fir, The Woods and The Bagdad, as well as around the state at Astro Lounge in Bend, San Dune Pub in Manzanita, and McMenamins pubs all over. Wherever he goes, a dance party ensues.
I last saw Smiley play a few weeks ago at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend. He’d played two incredible sets and had easily paid his dues to the venue, but the audience was far from finished with that awesome Smiley vibe. Leaving his many instruments and mics behind, he leapt from the state directly into the crowd, launching into a utterly fantastic sing-along rendition of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” supported only by his un-amplified acoustic guitar and his own voice. The totally blissed-out looks on the faces of the audience made me think I’d better see as much as Smiley as possible while he’s still touring the Pacific Northwest, because I believe this man is bound for bigger and better things.
This week, I visit northeast Oregon to visit a family who risked it all for the promise of a new start at a place you can visit called ‘Hot Lake Springs.’
Outdoor moments in Northeast Oregon’s Grande Ronde Valley are stunning and spacious with scenery that takes your breath away – When you step inside David Manuel’s art studio, it’s clear that it’s the little things that keep the past alive. Manuel is an artist who owns a love affair with Oregon’s past – like his latest sculpture of the ‘William Price Hunt Expedition.’
Hunt led a group of rugged explorers through this part of Oregon 200 years ago. They were on assignment for John Astor and determined to bring an American presence to the British-dominated region at the mouth of the Columbia River.
“I want to make sure everything that I do tells a story – it’s so important that way – that’s what keeps me interested.”
For Manuel, the journey’s truth is etched in short strokes with a sharp blade across soft clay.
“I spend a lot of time on each buffalo hair too. I don’t like the sharp edges because you can cut your hand on some bronzes with sharp edges. So I create them to overlap and it’ll really shine that way too.”
You may have seen Manuel’s work before – at Portland’s Chapman Square where “The Promised Land” shines as a monumental bronze statue.
Now, his new gallery and studio provide a glimpse to his genius as one of America’s finest artists.
“I love history and that’s what keeps me going! That is why it’s so hard to go home at night too because I get so involved in these pieces.”
But Manuel doesn’t have to go far when he goes home. That’s because he works where he and his family have lived for nearly a decade: Hot Lake Springs. It is a 60,000 square foot hospital turned hotel that rose above the Grande Ronde Valley floor more than a century ago. In fact, at one time Hot Lake was center of a ‘good health movement’ that drew people from across the country.
They came by train seeking cures for what ailed them in the mineral hot springs that bubbled up from deep in the earth.
But the place hit hard times – capped by a devastating fire in 1934.
By turn of the last century, the building was ready to fall: holes in ceilings reached to where there should have been a roof, all but two of the 350 windows were broken out and floors falling down and the locals thought it was only a matter of time:
“Everybody thought it was dead,” said John Lamoreau, a former Union County Commissioner. “There was no hope, no chance and some people were skeptical because so many had tried to restore it before and failed. To me, the Manuel family looked like the best hope.”
It wasn’t just a mess, it was dangerous and bulldozers waited in the wings to tear it all down.
It was against this dramatic backdrop that the Manuel family bought Hot Lake in 2003.
Despite a personal cost that would rise to more than $10 million, the Manuel family was ‘all in’ for the enterprise.
David’s wife, Lee Manuel, explained that they risked everything because ‘holding on to Oregon history’ was something they could not let go.
“It was as though this ol’ lady, this ol’ building, this history rose from the ground and spoke to us and then it took on a life of its own. We were drawn into that.”
Today – the transformation is nothing short of magnificent!
The successful Hot Lake Springs Bed and Breakfast boasts 22 stunning rooms, a restaurant and the new Restore Spa that is sure to please any woman interested in rest and relaxation.
Plus, there’s David’s gallery and the bronze foundry where you can watch artisans transform his work into lasting bronze art. Plus, David’s uniquely impressive collection of American Indian artifacts and US Military memorabilia that date to the war of 1812.
Still – for many people it is the promise of rest and relaxation in the “Valley of Peace” while enjoying the mineral hot springs. It is all so hard to resist.
Lamoreau observed that it is a place to soak up one of the most remarkable Oregon pioneering stories of the 21st century.
“Not only do we in Union County give thanks to Dave and Lee, but I think the whole state needs to give thanks for what they did here. They brought this place back to life.”
Some call it the ‘rugged edge of the Oregon coast’ where the sun and surf meet to leave you spellbound and breathless. This week, I escaped to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area where in winter – except for surf and wind, the coast slows down – that’s easy to understand – few distractions, few folks around…especially along Oregon’s rugged edge of life.
It’s more than forty miles of central Oregon coastline beginning at Waldport and continuing along a southerly stretch of Coastal Highway 101 marked by steep headlands, jagged volcanic outcrops and jaw-dropping scenic drama. In fact, it is so significant and prized a place that 2700 acres of massive Cape Perpetua is designated a National Scenic Area. Two miles south of Yachats, Oregon you will find the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and it is open daily.
Oregon State Parks Ranger, David Weisenback, said that the sheer beauty of the place surprises many first timers:
“It is such a beautiful and unique area – you can hike to the overlooks, the viewpoints, across the rocky shorelines. No matter where you travel in the world, this is still one of the most scenic areas.”
USFS Manager, David Thompson, noted that atop Cape Perpetua you can turn in any direction for views that surprise and amaze:
“Certainly the coast is the most dramatic the part that captures your attention first,” noted Thompson. “And yet if you turn and look the other way, you’ve got this unbelievably green sitka spruce forest with a wealth of moss and ferns and giant trees – it’s all special.”
The Visitor Center provides a wealth of hiking choices too: over 11 different trails for a total of 27 miles and the wonderful thing is that at one point or another many of the trails inter-connect with one another.
The Captain Cook Trail is wheelchair accessible, leads you from the Visitor Center to skirt the shoreline. At low tide, the trail puts on quite a show as waves crash into rocky crevices and cracks at a place called “Spouting Horn.” If you wish to wander longer consider the astounding collection of Oregon State Park Waysides with names like Neptune, Ponsler or Strawberry Hill where tide pools invite closer inspection during the ebbing tide.
Nearby, Washburne State Park Campground invites you for an overnight stay where winter campers are welcome in a tent, trailer or r-v. For those who love to camp, but lack the right gear, Park Ranger Deborah Edwards said to consider renting a yurt:
“Camping in winter can be just as exciting as the summertime, you just have to deal with a bit more rain and a yurt is perfect. You get a bunk bed which sleeps two on the bottom and one on the top, a futon, table and a couple of chairs, plus heat and light.”
Little more than five miles away, another site requires you to take a short stroll on a paved trail and then a quick ride down the face of a cliff for 208 feet in an elevator to reach Sea Lion Caves.
Sea Lion Caves has been an Oregon coastal icon as far back as most folks remember; more than 100 acres of the adjacent land has been in private ownership since 1887.
It’s been a drawing card for the curious,” said Manager Boomer Wright. He explained that the massive cave is largest along west coast and where 250 stellar sea lions are a raucous, rowdy crowd.
“They are very social animals with their barking, crawling over each other and even nipping one another. They are very social animals.”
Wright added that up to 1,000 stellar sea lions use the cave from November through late summer: They are often seen lounging, loafing or just plain sacked out on the rocky interior cliffs or boulders.
Of course, there is the large center rock that we call ‘King of the Hill,’ noted Wright and there is usually quite of a bit of fighting between sea lions to see who gets to rest atop it.”
The stellar sea lions are not the only wildlife species that are easy to spy at Sea Lion Caves. Back atop, keep eyes out for soaring raptors like hawks and eagles that are often seen on the hunt – or flocks of shore birds that dance and dazzle and skirt the surf.
David Thompson said that it is a remarkable scene and one that is often overlooked in winter:
“Without a doubt, it’s the most gorgeous stretch of the Oregon coast with the collection of rocky shores, so the geology, the geography and certainly the forest add up to a wonderful place to relax and wonder and wander if you want a place to decompress.”