Wonder What’s Going on Here

The more I bird, the more I run into “what-the-heck” kinda moments like the one I observed the other day at Theler Wetlands. We have been seeing Cedar Waxwings for a couple of weeks now, so I was looking for them on this visit. As it turned out, these two were right in the middle of the trail and impossible to miss. The one on the left seemed quite upset

and expressed that dissatisfaction when the other Waxwing flew off.

The second Waxwing flew back with a berry in its beak and seemed to offer it to the first Waxwing.

When the second Waxwing still didn’t actually give it to the first Waxwing, the first Waxwing became even more demonstrative.

About then the second Waxwing spotted me on the trail, turned, and flew off.

The first Cedar Waxwing didn’t fly off immediately. It sat there as if waiting for the second one to come back with that berry.

I’m still not sure what was going on, but I assume it was a courtship ritual (gone awry ?) though I haven’t been able to confirm that yet from anything I’ve found on the internet. It is possible that the bird demanding the berry was last year’s offspring and it is still demanding to be fed, but that seems less likely to me than the idea it is part of a courtship ritual.

Marsh Wren

While on my way to visiting the Tree Sparrows that fly the boardwalk at Theler several years ago, I encountered a Marsh Wren singing his heart out. When I stopped to take a picture, it ignored me and continued singing. I ended up getting the best shots I’ve ever gotten of a Marsh Wren. It’s been several years now since I first sighted him, but I still look for him every time we visit there.

He’s been a little harder to find this year and hasn’t yet struck the classic Marsh Wren pose I love, but he’s not shy about letting you know that this is HIS patch of reeds

and you best give it a wide berth.

I suspect he’s not yet ready to advertise for a mate, that he’s too busy still building nests and lining them with fuzz to start advertising quite yet.

His neighbor at the other end of the preserve is apparently further along in construction and is trying to stay ahead of the competition in attracting a mate,

but I’m sure my little friend can’t be far behind.

Birding Theler

It continues to rain here, but we still have managed to get out to Theler Wetlands about once a week. We’ve been seeing Tree Swallows since the first of April, but they’ve now returned in full force, and it’s easy to get a great shot of one resting on the railings

since they’re accustomed to rather steady foot traffic.

The Barn Swallows have also returned, but they’re so busy gathering mud for their nests under the boardwalk that it’s harder to catch a shot of them resting on the rail.

It’s pretty “birdy” at Theler with Redwings

and Song Sparrows

advertising for mates, but I’d continue visiting Theler all summer just for the pleasure of walking the boardwalk with Swallows swooping overhead.

A Zip a Dee Doo Dah Kinda Day

On Sunday’s visit to Theler Wetlands I went out on the boardwalk to see whether there were any Tree Swallows resting on the railing as there usually is in late Spring and in the Summer. I only saw three birds on the railing, and, as it turned out, only two of them were actually Tree Swallows. The furthest bird looked too big to be a Tree Swallow, but it wasn’t until I looked through the lens that I realized that it was a Western Bluebird,

a bird I’ve only seen once before, and that was in Santa Rosa.

John had told me that his birding group had seen a small flock of Bluebirds before, but I hadn’t seen them on previous visits and really wasn’t expecting to see one.

It didn’t look like the Bluebird was particularly happy to see me, perhaps because we hadn’t been formally introduced.

Like the Tree Swallows, though, it wasn’t about to leave. It kept flying up ahead and landing down the boardwalk.

Finally when it ran out of boardwalk it flew off to some nearby residences.

It looked like it was really trying to make itself at home. If so, perhaps I look forward to seeing it again in the near future.

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.