You Know You’re Paying Attention

when you manage to sight a Virginia Rail. You’re just plain lucky, or patient, if you manage to get a decent shot of them.

The highlight of one of our recent trips the Theler Wetlands was finally managing to sight this Virginia Rail

as it wove its way in and out of the reeds searching for food. Even more exciting was seeing the chick following it.

I’ve never seen one this young before and was a little shocked that it appeared to be jet black.

Normally I move on after I’ve sighted a bird, but having seen the chick that I’d never seen before, I stuck around awhile longer until both of them were in better light.

The adult colors seemed quite different in full sunlight,

and the mud provided a nice contrast to the chick’s black feathers.

Pretty clear why they stay in the reed’s shadows most of the time.

One Good Bird Weasel

When I started birding with Ruth Sullivan when birding was slow she would always say, “One good bird, that’s all we need” to make our day successful. The Green Heron we saw on our first visit back to Theler would have been enough to make my day, but then Leslie spotted this weasel

at the main bridge while I was gazing into the distance. It was so close that I had trouble finding it even when she pointed it out.

I have seen a weasel several times but never this close. I was surprised when it climbed up onto the bridge,

ran forward a couple of feet,

and ducked behind a post,

all the time staring intently at me.

Though I’ll admit to being a tad nervous when it ran toward me and not away, it made my day.

Still Beautiful

Although it had been nearly three weeks since we visited Theler Wetlands after our trip to Bear River, some things hadn’t changed at all. We were greeted at the bridge closest to the Salmon Center by the same Barn Swallows on the same branch where I had last left them,

though it was joined by some younger barn swallows that hadn’t been there previously.

I even spotted an old friend, one I hadn’t seen at Theler for several years, this Green Heron.

I found Theler in 2005 while in search of my first Green Heron. A fellow birder told me it was the one place he could count on seeing a Green Heron. I didn’t see one for quite a while, but I fell in love with Theler’s quiet beauty and have returned regularly since, as revealed in 207 posts. Ironically, the Green Herons have disappeared since the dike was breached several years ago.

Even on a slow day and roses have faded into distant memory, there’s always beauty to be found if you’re open to seeing it.

Loren Ain’t No Stick-in-the-Mud

The worst part of going to places like Bear River is that it's a let down when you go birding the next time. With a dental appointment in Vancouver, we made our traditional stop at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Though it can be a great stop during Spring and Fall migration, it is as slow in the summer as the Puget Sound area.

Judging by this trip, it was even slower. The only bird I managed a shot of was this Great Blue Heron scratching itself.

With few birds in sight, I had to shift my focus to Painted Turtles

and Bullfrogs,

though I’ll have to admit I was actually excited over these sightings.

No use being a stick-in-the-mud because your vacation is over.

An Odd Duck

This is obviously a male Northern Shoveler,

but I’ve never seen one that looks like this before. Somebody, or something, has really managed to ruffle its feathers. The head lacks the green sheen I’d expect to see, particularly in such bright light. If it weren’t for the bill I might have had a hard time identifying it at all. I’m guessing this must be transitioning from its Eclipse Plumage to its breeding plumage.