Day one of my short trip had a rather inauspicious beginning, since low clouds ruled out a visit to Ridgefield Refuge before my lunch with friends and 2:00 dental appointment. Luckily, by the end of my appointment it was beginning to clear and was considerably warmer than it had been for days.
I’d been reading about several good birding spots in Washougal that I’ve never visited before, and even though this isn’t prime birding season I thought I’d explore them for future reference.
On my very first stop I managed to get several good shots of Purple Martins, a bird I’ve never managed to get shots of before even though they are fairly common locally. Not only was I able to get some great individual shots, I was fortunate enough to observe a family mini-drama as these parents seemed to be urging their offspring to begin flying.
As both parents swooped off, junior walked over to the edge, carefully looked down and, finally, braved the unknown,
at least for a short moment before diving into a hole in the pole directly below the platform he’d leapt from.
It didn’t take long for a concerned mother and father to return to the nest. Since mom was the first to stick her head in the nest they must have been relying on reassurance, not threat to get the chick to make the ultimate leap. Even dad seemed concerned.
Considering the nest is built directly over the water, I’m not surprised a fledgling might be apprehensive about launching into flight for the first time. Thank goodness my first step wasn’t that intimidating or I might still be crawling around on all fours.
It wasn’t a particularly eventful day, but it gave me a good excuse to camp overnight at Beacon Rock state park, a very pleasant place, indeed. I had a few choice words for the new Coleman propane stove with InstaStart that wouldn’t. I finally had to ask nearby campers if they had any extra matches, but since it led to a delightful talk I didn’t have too much to gripe about. I also re-discovered why I always brought gloves when cooking over a camp stove. I found sleeping in the car a little cramped, but the bed was actually quite comfortable and I managed a good night’s sleep.
All in all, it was a good start for an enjoyable trip.