Thursday, September 13, 2012


Over labor day weekend, Casey and I took a trip up to Portland to visit some friends.  Between the two of us, we know about six people there and we were overdue for a visit.  

The plane up and back was pretty small and by far had the smallest overhead compartments of any plane I've been on.  But, the flight was shorter than a drive to Sacramento and in no time we were hanging out with our old friends.  

The first night, we went to watch the Swifts.  It sounds like an awesome band, but its actually an amazing, natural phenomenon that occurs in September at this elementary school:

To set the scene, we got there in the late afternoon and set up a little picnic dinner with snack and drinks.  There were kids playing everywhere, with a soccer scrimmage of 10 year olds, which I admittedly got a little too in to.  Its been a while since I've watched live sports...

Anyhow, kids were sliding down the hill and having some well-supervised fun.  All the while, these tiny birds called Swifts slowly started to arrive and fly around.  Everyone now and again, they would collect in large groups and form a spiral.

Its hard to tell, but these little guys are about 2.5 inches long and probably weight a few ounces.  During this time, they migrate and this chimney at this elementary school is where they seek shelter for the night on their way south. 

By nightfall, there was a nice vortex of birds spiraling into the chimney while an outer circle protected their own.  It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, and that is saying something since I've got kind of a phobia of swarms.  I think this helped.

The next day was Casey's birthday, so we got our group together and headed to the "beach."  It was on an island that sits between two rivers and separates Oregon from Washington.  We soaked in some sun, ate some cheese and got a bit wet.  The water wasn't the cleanest, so most of us opted to not get too far into the water.

Here is Casey, Liz, and Shelly.  Old and new friends, but close nonetheless.  

Here is Casey wearing Shelly's sparkly cape and sparkly glitter.  It was a perfect day for some reflective accessories.  

After we had our fill of sun, we picked some blackberries to munch on for dessert before heading back into the city.  

Of course, we couldn't go to the City of Roses without seeing some beautiful roses.  Man, were they pretty!

If I were a bee, I'd feel my life was complete if I'd have seen this.

A short flight back, and we were back in our city.  At first I was a bit disappointed with the quality of this picture, but now I kind of like it.  It feels like an old, 35mm print.

1 comment:

celia said...

Jon, what an intriguing thing the swifts do. I really am impressed with how you notice the natural light. So glad you and Casey got away for her birthday and that you both got together with your friends as well as met new ones. Your aerial pix of SF is very cool.