A Little Sunshine Falls

It rained hard all weekend in the Pacific Northwest, and yesteday started out exactly the same. I came back soaked from my morning walk with Skye.

Right after lunch, though, despite the forecast, the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly. Inspired, I grabbed camera and headed straight for the beach.

I was greeted by my old friend the Kingfisher sitting on the railing at the Pt. Defiance Boathouse. Last time I tried to take pictures of him it was so dark that I had to use an ISO of 800 and 1600 and the pictures turned out grainy. Today it was so bright that even at ISO 100 sections of the white on his chest were burned out. Still, I considered the fact that he was there at all rather auspicious since I haven’t seen him for quite awhile:

As it turned out, it was a great day for birding. I saw a number of birds I’ve never seen before, and even more that I have seen before but never tire of, such as this Red-Necked Grebe feeding on a crustacean:

But most of the time at the beach was spent stalking a male Red-Breasted Merganser, a bird I first noted last week while identifying a female Red-Breasted Merganser, as opposed to the more common Common Merganser, though I’ve never personally seen a male Common Merganser, and the less common Hooded Mergansers, which I have seen.

The first time I spotted him out at quite a distance I thought it looked like a bird I hadn’t seen before, but I couldn’t be sure until I’d downloaded the pictures and saw them at screen size. I spent nearly a half hour waiting for him to move closer, but he never did. Finally I spotted this female Red-Breasted Merganser swimming nearby:

Knowing a little about male nature, I figured if I stayed close to the females that the lone male would soon show up, and sure enough he did, looking quite dapper:

Nothing quite like a day spent with old friends and a new acquaintance to start the week.