I do love my day-long trips to the coast or the even longer five-day trips to Malheur or Sacramento, but it’s still the short trips to Theler Wetlands, Port Orchard, or, even, Ruston Way that get me through the year. Even in the middle of winter I usually find one day a week when it’s not raining. The birds at Theler may not be as numerous or as exotic as those I see on longer trips, but I can’t remember a disappointing walk there. Late winter/early Spring days often bring birds I don’t see in the middle of winter, like this Downy Woodpecker
that I located while trying to locate a bigger woodpecker that was making a much louder banging than this little woodpecker was capable of producing. The woodpecker I was looking for instead turned out to be a Red-Breasted Sapsucker that was amplifying his pecking by pounding on this birdhouse.
I’m quite familiar with Red-Shafted Woodpeckers who use anything they can find to amplify their mating “calls,” but I had no idea that Sapsuckers used the same trick.
Our recent warming has led to an influx of songbirds like this Golden-Crowned Sparrow.
I particularly enjoy trying to capture shots of small songbirds because they are much more challenging than Geese, Great Blue Herons, or most ducks. They constantly flit about; when they’re not flitting, they’re usually perched in shrubs that make it difficult to focus.
Of course, occasionally you get lucky and they’ll land on a single branch just above you, like this female Purple Finch
and this Black-Capped Chickadee both did.
Of course, you hear a lot more songbirds than you ever see; there’s been a virtual chorus of songbirds my last few visits to Theler.