Birding Fort Worden

After browsing a few art stores and indulging in another delightful lunch at The Fountain Cafe, we headed to Fort Worden. We were greeted by the Belted Kingfisher on it accustomed railing who allowed a few shots before he flew away in a huff.

I suspect it is the Kingfisher that inevitably draws me back to this place because it’s one of the few places where I can count on seeing one close-up.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that at times I spot other birds here that I hardly ever see anywhere else, like this Red-Necked Grebe in winter plumage

and the even-lesser-seen Rhinoceros Auklet.

To cap the day off, we stopped at Edensaw Woods on the way out-of-town and rekindled my lust for some quality wood-working tools.

Birding Fort Flagler

I couldn’t resist spending a day at Port Townsend during this beautiful stretch of weather no matter how guilty I felt. After all, there will be plenty of rainy days coming up when I can finish all those chores I’ve been putting off for years. Christmas cookies are a mixed blessing, anyway.

Luckily, we were rewarded for indulging ourselves. Birding was good, and the sun made for near perfect photographic conditions. These Pelagic Cormorants

were exactly where they were supposed to be.

Attracted by a dead harbor seal, this Bald Eagle

refused to leave, standing its ground as we gave it a wide berth.

It took me a while to identify this lone shorebird as a Dunlin

in winter plumage. Its breeding plumage is so distinctive that I’ve always tended to ignore its other characteristics.

There’s no mistaking a Brant for anything else when seen at this range.

Raptors at Theler Wetlands

It’s not just the Great Blue Herons that have returned to Theler Wetlands. Winter is a good time to find raptors at Theler, though there not nearly as common as herons. They aren’t nearly as willing to pose for the camera, either, which is why it seems special when you manage to catch a shot like this one of a Northern Harrier backlit by the morning sun.

Unfortunately, more often than not harriers fly low to the ground, blending in with the background.

Rarely do you get lucky and catch a shot of a Cooper’s Hawk basking in the sunshine on a rail seemingly indifferent to you or your camera.

I thought I’d managed to capture a great shot of this Kestrel, but half of it was underexposed while the other half was overexposed.

While it was great fun to watch this pair of Bald Eagles courting, they were soaring so high in the sky that I had to radically crop the shot even to get this.

Photos or no photos, birding is my favorite way to exercise and to bring harmony back to my life.

Farewell to Capitol Reef National Park

We didn’t have enough time to walk much of Capitol Reef NP, but the two hikes we did manage were quite different from our earlier hike in Goblin Valley.

We were constantly amazed what waited us around the corner on our walks.

It was only from the road, though, that we caught glimpses of the park's varied topography.

Though I wanted to get to get to Ogden on the day we left, I couldn’t resist the temptation to pull off the road and get yet another shot.

It was probably no accident that the park headquarters was built directly across from this view.

It was a fitting conclusion to a delightful trip.

More Pictures from Capitol Reef

I took so many pictures at Capitol Reef I’ve had a time narrowing down which shots to post here. The fact that it is really impossible to convey the size of these rock formations hasn't made the process any easier. Unfortunately, images that demanded to be captured don’t seem nearly as impressive flat on the screen.

That said, I’ve enjoyed reviewing the images and processing them. Most of these shots were taken as we entered the park from the East side, before we entered the heart of the park. Although we were glad to see the fall foliage, I suspect these shots might have been even more spectacular with green trees contrasting with the cliffs.

Navaho Dome is an easily recognizable landmark.

I’ll have to admit, though, that the mesas were my favorite landmark,

possibly because they remind me of all the John Wayne westerns I saw as a kid.

Really, though, it was virtually impossible to turn around without discovering startling beautiful structures

The Colors and Textures of Capitol Reef

As I process all the HDR scenics I took at Capitol Reef, the beautiful colors and the beautiful textures stand out. I don’t remember ever seeing as much orange rock as we saw in Capitol Reef.

As if the reds and oranges weren’t enough, the rock cliffs reveal layer after layer of sedimentary strata.

There is a stark beauty here that is hard to find anywhere else.