A Little Color for a Drab Day

It was a rather drab day at Nisqually today, but since this is the last chance I’ll have to visit for the next two weeks I decided to go rather than pass up the chance. At times it felt more like fall or late winter, but there was certainly a lot less people than usual.

What color there was provided by the wildlife, this American Goldfinch,

American Goldfinch

this wild rose

Wild Rose

and, my personal favorite, this Rufous Hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird

Who needs sunshine?

More Rhodies

Most of the three-day weekend was devoted to family, so I had no time for reading or birding. I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for rhododendrons today. Debbie is a master gardener, so it was a no-brainer to take her, Jeff and Max for a long walk through the Pt. Defiance Rhododendron garden, even though I usually avoid going there when there are so many people.

I noticed that some early bloomers have already lost their flowers and a few others seemed past their prime, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. There were even a few new rhodies blooming:

Salmon-colored Rhododendron

and several of those that were beginning to bloom when I was there a week ago are just now in their prime:

Pink Rhododendron

Since I’m heading to Colorado for a week this Friday, it might well have been the last chance I get to visit them this year.

Virginia Rail at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

I didn’t manage to get out and take any pictures last week because of the rain, and I had to spend our sunny day today working in the yard getting ready for guests, so I thought I’d post pictures taken at Nisqually a little over a week ago and never got a chance to post.

I had been standing in the same spot for quite awhile, waiting for the Canada Goose family to get off the trail, and, later, trying to take a picture of them as they trailed away from me.

Canada Goose Family

Standing, gazing intently into the distance, I noticed a sudden movement right in front of me. I caught a glimpse of brown as it ducked behind the cattails, so at first I assumed it was a female blackbird since there were many nearby. I refocused on the geese, until I glanced down again and realized whatever it was it was too big to be a blackbird.

Once I actually got a look at the bird, I was sure that it was the Sora that I’d been hearing about for over a year but had never seen. In fact, I didn’t know what a Sora looked like until the day before which I had spent helping a well-known birder print some of her pictures. What I had seen, or almost seen, certainly seemed like a Sora. In fact, a much more experienced birder than me confirmed that it was, indeed, a Sora.

It wasn’t until I got home and looked up Sora that I realized the bird I’d photographed wasn’t a Sora at all, though it’s virtually the same size and occupies the same kind of habitat. I’d actually gotten a picture of an even less common bird, a Virginia Rail walking through the reeds

Virginia Rail wading through reeds

and “swimming.”

Viriginia Rail in water

I’ll have to admit I was a bit taken aback by my initial rush to judgement. If I hadn’t taken photographs, I’d have been positive of my original identification of the bird. After all, a self-declared “bird nerd” confirmed it was a Sora.

Since I’ve taken up birding I’ve seen birds I’ve never “seen” before. The more I’ve learned and read, the more I’ve seen. I’ve often seen new birds right after reading or hearing about them. In fact, even though it’s more common for me to learn about a particular bird after I’ve seen and photographed one, expecting to see new birds often seems to lead directly to seeing them,

One can only wonder how many other things we “know” are really the result of expecting and wanting them to be true.