October 03, 2011

Birds and Baking- A complete weekend

Yesterday I met up with my friend Laura for breakfast and a bit of birding (weather dependant). Fortunately it was dry and we made it to Force Lake and Smith-Bybee Lakes. I had never been to Force Lake, although I see the very lucky birder Jen post about it a lot. It's basically a small pond next to a golf course in industrial N. Portland. I think I'll plan to go there again if I am going up
I-5. It's easy to get to and probably hit and miss for species.

I bet it fills up with waterfowl in the winter. We saw an Egret and many Mallards and Canada Geese. And this fella. Can you see him below?

No? Well I wouldn't have either if Laura hadn't brought her scope. She was scanning the edge of the water and found him hunched down. Look to the left of the asterisk below.

That's a Green Heron over there!

At Smith-Bybee we saw many Wood Ducks, Wigeons, Gadwall, and Mallards.
The bigger lake had tons of shorebirds doin' the "sewing machine" as Laura says.

Back in the woods we heard Chickadees and Brown Creepers.

The photographic highlight were a flock of Cedar Waxwings on our way out. We were chatting away and all of a sudden I realized we were upon a flock of waxwings enjoying elderberries.

This Black-throated Grey Warbler was in the vicinity. I was excited to see one of these as it's been many years since my last sighting.

When I got home I put some peanuts out for the jays. I tell ya, they have peanut radar!

I still have some pretty pots of flowers going, but fall is setting in.

As I sat and watched the jays, it got quiet and this guy flew in out of no where!
I usually have two tube feeders on this hook and I took one down to clean it. They have been loaded with Goldfinches...dozens. I think he is using this for easy pickings. He sat and watched, but didn't get anything.

But he must have today. I looked out on the patio and found a decapitated head, wing and part of a torso. I think it was his lunch remains.

The fall weather has me focused indoors today. I made Whole Wheat Bread and Banana Bread.

For dinner I made this Tomato, Delicata, Polenta Casserole. I adapted it from this recipe.

Here is my recipe:

1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 large delicata squash cubed
1/2 patty pan summer squash
many roma garden tomatoes diced
salt- to taste
pepper- to taste
oregano- to taste
parsley- to taste
fresh basil- a handful chopped
Saute onion, garlic, celery. Add squash and continue to saute. Add diced tomatos and herbs. Simmer till squash is tender and the sauce is the desired thickness.

4 cups water
1 cup polenta
1 tsp salt or to taste
pepper to taste
Boil water, add polenta and whisk. Lower heat and cook approximately 10 minutes.

Grate cheese- Fontina was delicious. About 2 cups.

In 9X9 dish layer as follows:
1/3 of the tomato-squash mix
1/2 of the polenta mix
1/3 tomato
1/2 polenta
1/3 tomato

The recipe I used as inspiration recommends letting it sit for 2 hours. The polenta will become firm. Who has 2 hours to wait!? I want dinner now. So I put it in oven at 35o degrees for 30 minutes. It was saucy and not a casserole, but I think it will set up and the leftovers will be firmer. It was delicious saucy though! So good with a glass of red wine!


  1. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST. ♥ Now that is how you Weekend.

  2. I'm glad I was there to participate in your good weekend!!

  3. What a great weekend! The last time I was at Smith and Bybee Lakes was on a birding class with your friend Laura! A Great-Horned Owl was perched on a tree limb down low and the whole class took photos before it flow off low through the trees. Pretty cool.

  4. Glad you got to visit Force Lake! I know it's not much, but it's close to me and sometimes holds nice surprises... Must be cool to see a hawk in the yard, but less cool to find its lunch remains... All of your food looks delicious! I like the comment "now that is how you weekend!" Agreed.

  5. Nice Black-throated Grey Warbler pics! For some reason I have not seen any this year.

  6. I'll say that is a complete weekend! Look at all that yummy food after all those deliciously beautiful birds!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.