Loren Repeats Himself, Again

After repeated trips to Theler Wetlands and the Port Orchard marina, it’s difficult to post pictures without repeating yourself, often with pictures that aren’t as good as ones I’ve published earlier.

Though I’d prefer not to repeat myself continually I realized that repetition isn’t necessarily a bad thing after following awritersalchemy’s link to Ellen Bass’ poem “Ode to Repetition” which can also be found here.

Despite that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Green-Winged Teal feeding on the mudflats at Theler Wetlands, I find myself taking pictures on our weekly visits. The brightly colored male with its geometric patterns is particularly appealing.

Sometimes seeing a subject from different angles helps us to see it in new ways.

Though it’s easy to identify a female Green-Winged Teal when it’s next to a male, that green stripe in the back is always a positive sign that it is, indeed, a Green-Winged Teal and not a female Mallard.

It’s always seemed to me that feeding compulsively with your head stuck down in the mud/water is awfully dangerous when predators are around despite blending in quite well with the mud. There is some additional safety in numbers, especially in flight.

When an Eagle flies over the wetlands explode with hundreds of ducks flying surprisingly close to each other.

I don’t think I’d want to be an eagle trying to pick out a particular target in the middle of that flock; the chances of accidentally getting struck by another bird would have to be high. Not to mention that it’s nearly impossible to focus on just one bird, as my camera’s automatic sensor pointed out.

I must agree with Ellen Bass that some kinds of repetition are positive forces in our lives or I wouldn't have been walking Theler Wetlands repeatedly since discovering it many years ago. In birding, at least, familiarity is more apt to breed appreciation than to breed contempt.

I’m Not the Only One Anxious for Spring

Although the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival doesn’t take place until May 6-7, I’ve noticed Least Sandpipers on my last two visits to Theler Wetlands, the first time I’ve seen them this year.

Of course, the fact they’ve been there at least two weeks also suggests it’s too cold to keep moving further north. They're in no hurry to move one.

At the very least, these early birds seem to be busily stocking up for the long trip ahead

as it’s nearly impossible to get a shot of more than one of them with their head up.

We sighted a single Tree Swallow in a fly over, but there were several male Red-Winged Blackbirds who were singing loudly, claiming their territory and trying to attract mates.

We’re definitely getting mixed messages about the arrival of Spring, whether it’s early-blooming flowers or early arriving birds.

It’s clear after one of the coldest, wettest winters on record, EVERYONE is ready for some blustery Spring weather, which probably best explains why I keep interpreting these events as signs that Spring is right around the corner.

I need to get out of the house and AWAY from the internet. Despite my better judgment, I'm drawn to the steady stream of stories about Trump and his God-awful administration. I feel like a driver gawking at accident even though he really doesn't want to see what happened, knowing full well that whatever he sees will stay with him longer than he wants it to.

No Thinking Required

I keep hunting for photographs worth publishing here so I don’t have to resort to actually writing something about the books I’m reading, or, worse yet, having to write something about books I finished nearly a year ago and still haven’t figured out what I want to say about them. God forbid I should have to drag some of my political commentary over from Facebook.

Even when birding is slow, and it seems to be, I sometimes come up with a semi-interesting shot, like this one of what appears to be an almost-adult Bald Eagle

that didn’t like me taking its picture.

When we returned an hour later and the tide had risen considerably we found the eagle in nearly the same place but perching on a stump and, having already checked me out before, it studiously ignored me.

I shoot a lot of shots of Northern Pintails, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a better shot of their feet.

I’m not sure I knew their feet were the same color as its beak.

I don’t see a male Red-Breasted Merganser nearly often enough, so I was thrilled when I saw this one at Theler, but frustrated that he stayed on the far side of the Union River.

At Least There’s Always Great Blue Herons

There’s always a let down when I return from an exciting vacation, but it’s hard to complain since I’m retired and at worst I’m stuck in front of a computer trying to decide which of the many shots I’ve taken best reflect the beauty I see every day.

The rain has continued since we’ve returned, but I’ve still managed to get out in the field with camera one or two days a week even if it has been cool and cloudy in the morning. Spring seems to be on the way, but we’re mainly seeing birds that have been here since Fall.

Luckily, I can count on Great Blue Herons standing guard whenever we visit Theler Wetlands

and even on the grayest, drabbest morning the sight of a Great Blue Heron landing in front of me

inspires me to take yet another shot.

Sometimes the fog allows me to get so close I can almost become one with this Chi master,

belonging here as surely as he does.

Subtle Shades of Brown

I’ll have to admit that the photographer in me is attracted to sunshine, but, personally, I’ve always preferred subdued, earthy colors to bright colors. In fact, ex-students used to make fun of my many brown corduroy jackets and brown pants because clothing I’ve always favored muted colors in clothing. Perhaps that is because I was raised in the Pacific Northwest where those colors prevail most of the year.

Who could argue that the male Northern Pintail doesn’t look elegant foraging on Belfair’s mudflats

or that the Great Blue Heron’s subtle blues and grays don’t stand out here?

Heck, the male Green-winged Teal looks positively dapper against the muddy banks when sunshine finally penetrates the cloud cover.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfishers, at least the ones at Theler Wetlands, are one of the most elusive birds to photograph, though I occasionally get close to them in the fog before they fly off.

They must realize any photos you capture will have excessive noise requiring longer to correct than the photo is worth unless you’re nearly out of pictures to put up on your site.

Sometimes when there’s a fish run, though, you can capture them hovering over the river

completely indifferent to anyone on the shore.

Then the only question is if you’re lucky enough to have set a fast enough shutter speed to capture them mid-flight

because there’s certainly not enough time to reset the shutter speed before the Kingfisher flies away.