Can You See What I See?

There are days when I’m reminded that I still have a long ways to go before I become a really good birder. After the slow morning at Ocean Shores we headed to Westport to see what we could find. If it hadn’t been for Leslie, I’m pretty sure I would have missed this mixed flock of Brown Pelicans and gulls.

PlcnHunt

Heck, I have a hard time seeing them even on my computer screen. How many pelicans can you count?

Luckily, I do better at spotting singletons or I would probably give up birding altogether. I managed to spot this Common Murre in non-breeding colors at a considerable distance, while just a speck on the horizon. Considering how seldom I’ve seen these birds, this was a good sighting.

CommonMurreNB I

f it hadn’t been for two seasoned birders, however, I would never have seen this even rarer Pectoral Sandpiper at Midway Beach. In fact, I stared blankly in the distance nearly five minutes before noticing the bird standing right in front of me, much closer than I ever thought it would be.

PectoralInGrass

Apparently my combat training has trained me to first scan the horizon; I ALWAYS scan from the horizon in. Of course, if this had been an enemy combatant, I would have been dead long before I ever saw it. More often than not, though, I find birds when they move, another skill I practiced in the Army. If they would simply stay put, I’d miss most of them.

Luckily, once you spot birds it’s relatively easy to get pictures. If you’re patient, and quiet, often they’ll simply go back to finding food once they’ve decided you’re not a threat, like this bird did, coming so close I had a hard time keeping it in frame.

PecSndppr

Of course, it helps if you know where to find birds. It’s hard to miss Marbled Godwits

1Godwit

if you show up where they are foraging. They’re one of the larger shorebirds and seem relatively indifferent to people, at least at Tokeland. I haven’t seen them for nearly a year, though,

3MrbldGdts

so this helped to make the day seem complete. After a large lunch, Leslie wasn’t particularly hungry, so we stopped at the Dairy Queen in Raymond where I had my usual chili dog and cola, not quite as satisfying as a Guinness and fish special, but it’s one of my go-to comfort foods that I seldom indulge in any more and a good way to end a nice outing.

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