Almost a Flop

Since we were out of town during most of the Spring Shorebird Migration, I have been trying to see the Fall Migration, but I’m not having much more luck than I did in the Spring even though we haven’t gone anywhere recently.  

Since we had seen some shorebirds on our walks at Theler Wetlands, I thought I would drive to the Washington Coast July 13th and see what we could see.  We started at Ocean Shores where we saw some Cormorants way out on the point, but they’re year-round residents so they hardly count.  We walked nearly two miles on the beach and all we saw were a few Seagulls, 

and, somewhat surprisingly, a small flock of Turkey Vultures that took off as we approached

except for a single one that refused to leave a dead Harbor Seal.

Luckily, the trip wasn’t a complete waste of time as we had some Delicious Sushi at Umi Sushi and finally got to visit Elissa Whittleton and her husband’s art exhibit at the Gallery of Ocean Shores.

We had slightly better birding at Westport where we spotted several Brown Pelicans fishing right outside the harbor.

A few even flew overhead, giving me a chance to practice my tracking skills.


We saw another small flock of Brown Pelicans at Tokeland — and an even smaller flock of shorebirds feeding on the mud flats.  

If our sole purpose of going to the beach was to get shots of birds, this trip was a FLOP, but a sunny day at the beach is always a treat, especially in the Pacific Northwest where such days are rare.  

My Favorite Photo of the Year

When I’m not on vacation, my favorite place to bird is Theler Wetlands.  Birding often seems a little slow during the summer, but I usually see enough birds to thoroughly enjoy the day.  We weren’t seeing many birds on June 7th, so I was excited to spot a small flock of Cedar Waxwings flying back and forth.  Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to want their picture taken.  So, we ended up spending a lot of time standing, waiting for them to settle down.  

Cedar Waxwing

While standing there, we heard a Common Yellowthroat calling right in front of us.  I quickly switched to hunting for it, fully expecting that it would be long gone before I ever located it.  After all, we commonly hear them but seldom actually see them.

Common Yellowthroat

Amazingly, instead of ducking back into the vegetation, its normal behavior, it flew right in front of us, 

Common Yellowthroat in flight

landed a few feet away and made louder calls than before, definitely attracting our attention.

As I stood there capturing multiple poses, another bird flew into view, a female Common Yellowthroat with a large bug in her beak

female Common Yellowthroat with insect

Clearly, there must have been a nest nearby, which made me assume that the male must have been trying to get us to move away from the nest.  

I took one more shot before quickly leaving the area.

I was thrilled by the whole experience and am convinced that this is the best picture I have taken so far this year.

Common Yellowthroat

I’ve fallen behind and I can’t get caught up

Perhaps I was wrong; maybe you can take too many photos.

Hard to believe I’m still posting about Spring when Summer is half over.  I’ve been so busy enjoying summer on Mt Rainier I haven’t had time to sit down in front of my computer and work on photos of things I’ve already done.  

The most time-consuming part of posting photos is deciding which photos to post and which to discard, especially when the camera is set to shoot rapidly.  I have to delete at least nine photos for every photo I post, and often the differences are so subtle it takes a while to decide which is the best — at least in my mind.

If I had any pride, I might be embarrassed by how far I’ve fallen behind. Instead, I’m reminded how much I enjoyed Spring long after the Oregon Grape flowers have faded, 

Oregon Grape

and the Yellow-Rumped Warblers


Yellow-Rumped Warbler

and Hermit Thrushes

Hermit Thrush

have headed North to their breeding ground.

The  Marsh Wrens haven’t gone anywhere, but they have retreated to the sedges and reeds rather than boldly advertising for mates as they do in Spring.

Marsh Wren

Spring is probably my favorite time of year and with Summer seemingly arriving earlier every year in the Pacific Northwest, Spring has become even more precious, too beautiful to be gone so soon.

Spring’s Gone

I know at times I sound like a broken record, but, as in years past, I truly believe that Western Washington is the most beautiful place in the world during Rhododendron season.  You can’t drive a street in the city without being struck by their beauty, but I never settle for just seeing them in neighbors’ yards.  

Rhododendrons are at their best in woodlands,

Rhody in Bloom against forest

and, luckily, the Point Defiance Rhododendron Garden is just a short mile away. It’s an added bonus that the walk is a gentle way to start getting ready to hike on Mt. Rainier once the snow has receded.

I always end up taking a lot more pictures than I’m ever going to process and post; so the hardest part of posting them is deciding which ones I like best.  

Do you  prefer pink and white, 

Pink and White Rhody

purple and orange, 

Purple and Red Rhody

seen from above

Looking down on Rhody

or a deep red?

Deep Red Rhody

Or do you prefer some of those I’ve posted in previous years (the ones in the links down below) ?  

Luckily, you can never have too much beauty in your life.

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