May 9, 2008

On to Idaho - Nampa!

Kim's friends Sally & Marve Howe were generous enough to allow us to stay in their guest cottage on their beautiful place just outside of Nampa, a quaint town that is an extension of Boise. The ranch style home sits on seven acres, complete with a barn, mancured lawn and colorful flowers.

The front yard showed the previous owner's love of golf, with a large "green" at it's center!

The cottage opened onto a rear patio with splendid views in virtually every direction....

The highlight of our stay was a day spent at the World Center of Birds of Prey, which is a non-profit group committed to the breeding and release of endangered species. To our surprise, everything here looks so, so green due to the hundreds of miles of superb irrigation canals that weave through the entire valley allowing residents to water daily through the growing season.
In stark comparison to this lush agricultural landscape is the surrounding desert, complete with thousands of prairiedog-like Townsend's Squirrel dens sprawling across the earth in endless profusion! (yes, every one of those light patches is a mound)

Unlike their "dog" cousins, these very wary critters pop up only occasionally, and are most often seen at a full run zipping across the country roads. A pair of hawks seemed to have found the ideal nesting spot.....a lofty perch just above one of the most populated areas. Watch out boys, you just might be tonight's supper!

Dedication Point is the favored vantage for birders, offering an I-Max like panoramic view which is the scene of an early volcanic crater....

The wind atop this lofty bluff was fierce, leading to a brief stay but not without an appropriate encounter of the fast & thin kind, Striped Whipsnake. As we drove down the Canyon, one couldn't help but notice Nature's geology lesson, outlined in the walls. Countless cycles of eruptions followed by eons of erosion by the River have left a complete geological profile of the area's history.

Our greatest surprise of the day came on a lunchbreak when we began to notice hundreds of migrant birds in the willows along the streambed. Here's a couple of pix of the Lewis Woodpecker and the Townsends Warbler that were two of several "lifers" earned today!