Love is In the Air

Tuesday was our last day of “sunshine” so far this week, and I tried to take advantage of it by going to Port Orchard and Belfair. Unfortunately, it was still fogged in when I got to Port Orchard, and remained overcast the entire time I was, though it was still much lighter than most days around here have been. With the help of Aperture and Photoshop and RAW files, I’m usually able to pull out some semblance of color.

I’ve really grown to love Port Orchard because by walking out onto the pier I’m able to get close to a number of birds I’ve only seen at a distance in other places. I consider the “reflections” of boats an added bonus.

I had a hard time deciding which shot of a male Breasted Mergansers I liked best,

male Red-Breasted Merganser

but ended up choosing this one because the reflections didn’t overwhelm the bird’s subtle colors as much as in some of the others. This merganser, like most I saw, is in the midst of changing to breeding colors. Hopefully, they’ll still be around when they’ve completely changed colors.

This Pelagic Cormorant is less dramatic, but it’s already in full breeding colors with it’s red face and white flank patch:

Pelagic Cormorant in Breeding Plumage

The highlight of the day for me, though I would have needed a video camera to capture it, was the courting ritual of this pair of Western Grebes.

Grebe Dance

They approached each other from quite a distance. When they got close to each other, they suddenly raced across the the water parallel to each other, and then dove at precisely the same moment. Only they know what happened in the considerable time they spent under the water before emerging considerable distance from where they dove.

I doubt that birds realize Valentine's day is nearly here, but there was definitely love in the air.

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