Westport Brown Pelicans

Hard to believe that it has taken over a week for me to download these pictures I took at the beach a week ago Monday. With all the cement blocks and tiles in place, I decided it was time to see if the Fall Migration was still going on at the coast. Though birders we met at Bottle Beach said the birding was great on Saturday, it was painfully slow on the day I was there.

It was hard to complain, though, and perhaps to be expected, because the weather was awesome. It was sunny with temperatures in the low 70’s and little or no fog. For me, seeing the Brown Pelicans, which we hadn’t seen in our early summer visit, made the trip worthwhile.

On our early visit, we only saw four Brown Pelicans but I managed to get some decent shots because the lighting was great and I could use a fast shutter speed.

Despite deep shadows, I loved how crisp these shots were.

After talking to another birder at Bottle Beach who informed me that there were more Pelicans at the east end of town, I headed back to Westport after a disappointingly slow showing of shorebirds.

He was right and I got another chance to photograph Brown Pelicans

in a variety of poses.

I even captured a shot of a juvenile Brown Pelican.

The Pelicans made my day.

A Bloedel Break

If you’ve been working steadily in your backyard for nearly three months and decide you need a break, what do you do? If you’re Leslie and Loren you return to Bloedel Reserve to see what’s in bloom. We were surprised to see for more visitors than we’ve ever seen before even though the gardens didn’t seem quite as beautiful as it is in other seasons.

Which is not to say that it wasn’t a delightful respite from moving cement blocks and laying cement tiles in our backyard. Huge hydrangea took center stage on this visit; this one was a personal favorite.

Small purple flowers along the trail contrasted with the dazzling hydrangea.

With so few plants in bloom, even this simple white flower attracted attention.

If this was an azalea,

it stood out not only because of its brilliant orange color but because it was also the last one in bloom.

I’m Missing the Fall Migration

I’ve been so focused on finishing my backyard project the last two months I haven’t even managed to get to the beach to see the Fall migration. Instead, I’ve settled for an occasional visit to Theler Wetlands where I can see some of the shorebirds that are moving South.

These Dowitchers seemed particularly golden in early morning light.

I’ve seen more Least Sandpipers, but this Western Sandpiper was a better shot.

Strictly speaking, I think this Spotted Sandpiper has been around much of the summer,

but this is the best shot I’ve managed to get despite several sightings.

Luckily, Leslie, I, and the grandkids are nearly finished with the backyard, and I soon should be able to load up the camper and finally get out.

A Favorite Distraction from Yardwork

I’ve spent the last month and a half transforming my backyard into a garden that I really like and not a nondescript, weed-infested lawn I’m forced to mow regularly. It’s been a tough job made easier by the help of grandkids, particularly Lael who has spent nearly a hundred hours helping us.

The worst part of the job, though, has been missing so many opportunities to birding. I’ll admit to having cabin fever. Luckily, throughout most of that time hummingbirds have been constant visitors, ignoring the clutter to visit their beloved Red Lucifer Crocosmia.

Luckily they were persistent enough that they would stay around when we took a break and I could go get a camera.

Heck, when the Crocosmia was nearly done blooming, a male would sit on the plant refusing to leave his cache.

Nothing lasts forever, of course, so when the deer had finished eating the outside flowers and the rest had stopped blooming, the hummingbirds switched over to the sage plant, which will bloom until late Fall.

Osprey Catching Fish

When the tide is too high to see Virginia Rail, visiting shorebirds, or, even, Killdeer, you’re forced to look for other birds. This time of year, it’s a good idea to watch for Osprey hunting closer to shore than usual. We actually had three different Osprey circling overhead

at one point.

Of course, inevitably they moved further offshore before sighting and diving for a fish.

Unfortunately photos can’t capture the excitement in watching these superb hunter repeatedly diving

and emerging with a catch.

I’ll have to admit that if I could count on seeing Osprey, I would carry my tripod and 500mm lens down to the boardwalk and spend the morning waiting for a shot.

Unfortunately, you can’t count on seeing osprey on most visits, and if you’re carrying a long lens and a tripod you are going to miss all the other shots I love so much.