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Birds Nisqually NWR

Beauty is Where You Find It

It hasn’t been a very good week for birding here in the PNW. Though some summer residents seem to have left, the winter migrants haven’t arrived yet. I did manage to get a few bird pictures, but my best pictures weren’t bird pictures at all, but simply the result of paying more attention to what’s happening around me.

My best photo as far as birding goes has to be this one of a Wood Duck:

Truthfully, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting when I took this shot, but took it because the duck stood out so distinctly. If I hadn’t taken it myself, I’m not sure I’d really believe that a Duck could look like this. No wonder this species is endangered; it’s impossible to miss the males while hunting.

My most embarrassing moment of the week was misidentifying this Giant Blue Heron when I saw it from the front and didn’t recognize the breast colors, which are much softer and duskier than I’d ever noticed before:

Most of the shots of Giant Blue Herons I’ve seen emphasize the blue feathers and are taken from the side. Still, as much as I’ve been observing them, you’d think I would have known better.

My favorite shots of the week, though, is this one of a butterfly I’ve sighted several times but haven’t managed to get a picture of before. This one landed close enough, and far enough away, that I could use my 400mm lens to get a relatively clear picture of it.

I suspect if there were more butterflies out there I would have become a butterflier, not a birder. I’m a sucker for a good butterfly shot, often spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get a picture of one that’s flitting from here to there.