It may sound weird to someone who doesn’t bird, but at times it almost seems that there is an affinity between me and a particular species. Just before I started birding a local newspaper reported on local birds and stated Belted Kingfishers were often seen in Pt Defiance Park, the place where I went on most of my walks before I took up birding. I couldn’t believe it. I’d spent most of my life in the Puget Sound area, and I’d never seen a Belted Kingfisher. Strangely enough, the next time I walked the five-mile loop at Nisqually I say a Belted Kingfisher. Right after that, I saw another at the Boathouse a few blocks from my house. Later that year I started walking Belfair and it was rare that I didn’t see a Belted Kingfisher.
In 2011 I suddenly started seeing Western Grebes, a bird I only occasionally had seen on the Puget Sound, everywhere I went. The biggest thrill of 2011 was seeing a a Western Grebe carrying babies on her back. It wasn’t the same this year, but I was still excited to see this mother feeding her two chicks this year when I went back to Malheur.
However, the bird-of-the-year in 2012 would have to be the Pigeon Guillemot. I’ve seen quite a few of them over the last few years, but usually at quite a distance. This year I saw them regularly on the Puget Sound and at Westport. I could have sworn this one was actually trying to talk to me when it swam up to the dock where I was shooting.
I managed to get so many great shots this year that I ended up deleting nearly all the photographs of them from previous years.
I’m not sure either of these is my best shot of the year, but are both quite special and aren’t likely to be forgotten soon.