My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Thursday, May 17, 2012

R & R at Delintment Lake

I've been needing to take a little camping trip for a long time and finally got a large enough block of time to make it worth while.

After finishing loading up all the stuff I thought I'd need, I headed up into Malheur National Forest after making a few stops in Burns. By mid afternoon, I had found solitude on the shores of the little Lake Delintment.

The first thing I did was to hang my hammock and take a nap to the sounds of birdsong and breeze. Then I set up camp, made supper and checked out my area. I was the only tent camper around, although there were two trailers about a quarter of a mile away. I had lots of robins but couldn't find the calling birds in the tall Ponderosa pines. Cut chipmunks raced away with their tails up or popped up on a rock or stump to check me out.

Camp under Ponderosa Pines
I ate supper, read a while, and then went to sleep listening to the frog chorus. All too soon, the sky was lightening and birds were singing. 
Dawn View

View over my table
 I got up and fixed breakfast and then drove off to explore the area. In a few miles, I found a gurgling creek with blooming shrubs - they looked like some kind of berry with bell-shaped blooms - covered with several species of bees.  I had brought my bee net and kill jars with me, as well as enough materials to run one 14 cup transect. I caught 7 bees and found I had 6 species. I also set up my cups and  left them while I did further explorations and then back to camp for lunch.  I also pinned my netted bees.  I think I have at least one new species and perhaps two. I took several logging roads and found some beautiful scenery and a little wildlife.

Curious golden-mantled ground squirrel

A curious pronghorn antelope watched me run the bee transect

Coyote Willow Catkins
Yellow flowers
Part of a huge boulder outcropping
 My afternoon was drowsy with reading and dozing. In the evening, I retrieved my drowned bees and stored them in ethanol in my cooler before cooking supper, which included a piece of carp. Three deer visited my camp and one ate my apple core. After another short walk, I was ready for bed.

This morning I was cleaning out my tent and hanging out all my stuff to dry or air out by 5:15.  Then I made breakfast and finished breaking camp. I even had time to read a while before taking a hike around the lake. It was a lovely walk with lots of birds.  I got to see a pair of Canada geese with downy yellow babies, as well as ring-necked ducks, mallards, ruddy ducks, and coots.  There were a few red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds, a hairy woodpecker, 6 spotted sandpipers, one of which had a red bill and sang a song that sounded like he was calling his dog. I saw a few juncos, heard chickadees and several birds I couldn't identify and couldn't locate in the tall trees.  There were several kinds of wildflowers, most just getting ready to bloom. After walking four miles, I still didn't have any aerobic miles so did another quick mile around the camp before heading out.

Pink flowering shrub that drew lots of bees, flies, and butterflies
More spring flowers
 I came back via a different route and enjoyed views of Emigrant Creek and more open spaces as I left the forest.
Roadside View

Emigrant Creek
New Leaves and flowers (Manonia repans)
Out of the forest