I’ve been trying to plan a trip to Malheur for a couple of weeks now but I’ve been frustrated by the low temperatures, not to mention the snow and freezing rain. C’mon, they’ve had a drought all year. Why does the rain and sleet show up just when I want to visit? There’s been lots of rain here, too; those days I work out at the Y. Still, when it’s sunny I’m not about to spend my time walking around in circles in a building.
My go-to place has been Theler Wetlands and Port Orchard most of this winter, and I manage to always find something that makes even a poor-birding day a good day — it just means I have to look a little harder. On my last trip I noticed that some of the red-purple flowers are starting to join the Skunk Cabbage and Trillium in celebrating Spring’s arrival.
They’re not very spectacular, but they certainly stand out in the shaded forest where they grow.
These low-growing purple flowers would probably be overlooked by pollinators mid-summer, but they stand out now.
Even on days when you’re struggling to get pictures of anything new, you occasionally see something that makes your day. On this day, it was my first-ever sighting of the river otters that frequent Theler.
I’ve long observed their scat and their slides on the riverbank, but I’ve never actually seen them before. It was a quite a treat to watch them scampering in the river.
I would have been happy with just that sighting, but I wasn’t displeased when this little Song Sparrow sang his heart out in search of a mate or staking a claim to his section of the reeds.
Even though the Tree Swallows still haven’t appeared in large numbers and aren’t showing up on the boardwalk as they have in past years, I did manage to get quite close to this one before it flew off.
I still feel blessed every time I’m able to walk the boardwalk with swallows feet away, others whizzing around me, so close I feel I should duck, but never have to. I would come to Theler just for that experience.