Afternoon Birding at Nisqually

The sun finally decided to come out about 1:30 Sunday afternoon, so Leslie and I went to Nisqually. I’ve never been to Nisqually in the late afternoon, so I was curious how it might change birding. Of course, I hoped that the birds that insisted on staying in the shade in the morning would be in the sun in the afternoon. Yeah, as if.

What I did notice was that there were a lot more butterflies flying around then I’ve seen in the morning. Even though they seemed more skittish than usual because of the considerable number of people, I managed to get a few shots:

Tiger Swallowtail

It also seemed that there were different birds out in the afternoon than in the morning. For instance, this is the first Western Wood-Pewee I’ve seen this year, and he seemed to be enjoying the sunshine. Of course, it might actually be the increased number of mosquitoes that he was really enjoying, because there seemed to be considerably more of them than I’ve noticed in the cooler morning.

Western Wood-Pewee

Nor have I gotten a picture of a Downy Woodpecker before yesterday, though I have seen glimpses of them in the morning. They were everywhere yesterday but still seemed to seek out the darkest shade, at least while I was trying to photograph them. Do the bugs they feed on tend to hide in the shade?

This photograph comes to you through the miracle of RAW, Aperture, and Photoshop, because about all I could see in the original was the shadow of a woodpecker. I’m sure if I keep going back I’ll finally get a shot of one in the sunshine and I can delete this series.

Downy Woodpecker

My favorite shot of the day, though, was this one of the same Hooded Merganser I shot last week, though this one has the advantage of having the rich glow of late afternoon sun rather than being shot in the dull gray of a cloudy morning. Photoshop can transform a bad photograph into an average photo, but it can never attain the beauty of a shot taken in the perfect light.

Hooded Merganaer with Duckling