A Quiet Day at Nisqually

I wasn’t the only visitor to remark that the Nisqually refuge seemed to have fewer birds than usual Wednesday, though perhaps that was a misperception caused by increased vegetation offering better refuge for birds and animals from prying birders, which is a good thing, unless you happen to be birding with your camera, which, of course, I was.

At one point early on, I was walking through a large stand of trees listening to birds on all sides, unable to locate a single one. Fixed on the songs, i was suddenly lost in them, uplifted by the sheer joy of it, reminded once again my beloved Canon D20 is nothing more than a tool of awareness, not the holy grail of enlightenment.

Shortly afterwards, I tracked this Goldfinch for several minutes, though it’s much easier to get pictures of them at the backyard feeder. The goldfinch seemed to tolerate my harassment quite well, probably because it was across a stream and didn’t feel threatened. Suddenly quiet, a harrier swept overhead, veering just above my head. Apparently deciding it’d been harried enough for one day, the finch disappeared into the surrounding shrubs and trees.

Nearly two hours and two miles later I saw my only new species of the day, California Quail:

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the little drooping topknot through my telephoto lens. I haven’t seen these quail for many years.

My favorite shot of the day, though, didn’t involve birds at all, but, rather, this shot of a dragonfly.