A Day in Port Townsend

With another sunny day and school back-in-session, we decided that it would be a good day to go to Ft Flagler and Port Townsend. I hoped that we would see some Harlequin Ducks and various Grebes, but, as it turned out, we saw extraordinarily large flocks of Glaucous-Winged Gulls like this one.

There were so many gulls that the cormorants usually seen on this perch had gathered offshore.

Though I assumed that the Harlequin Ducks had probably not arrived to their wintering grounds yet, I’m not sure we would have seen them even if the had returned because this Bald Eagle

was patrolling the shoreline.

In fact, the only shorebirds we saw at Flagler was a very small flock of Sanderlings.

Perhaps my favorite shot of the day was this one of yet another Yellowlegs

taken at the lake in Port Townsend.

Things didn’t get better in town where found a lot of our favorite shops, including our favorite restaurant, were closed on Wednesday. Our consolation was that we discovered a restaurant we liked nearly as much at half the price. Life doesn’t get much better than a great meal after a long walk on the beach.

Fall at Theler

We managed to sneak in a Sunday morning visit to Theler Wetlands between grandkids’ soccer games this weekend. Although it’s still been relatively clear and warm here so far this year, it was clear that Fall is upon us this visit.

Enveloped in clouds and dark skies, it was nearly impossible to identify this as a Merlin until I’d tweaked it on my computer,

Merlin

and nothing says Fall clearer than the honking of a flight of Geese as they pass.

It was glad to see the Green-Winged Teal return to the refuge, but knowing there will be plenty of time to get shots of them in the next six months I focused, instead, on the less-often-seen Yellowlegs.

It looks a lot brighter in this shot than it actually was thanks to RAW, but I was a little frustrated about how far away they were on our first trip through the refuge

I got much closer on the return trip and the sun had finally burned through the clouds.

Actually, I managed to get so close that I had a hard time keeping the Yellowlegs in the frame but the sun wouldn’t cooperate.

Hard to beat a day where you find beauty coming and going.

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.