We’re spending most of the weekend working in the yard, particularly in the garden. The recent rise in temperature has convinced me it’s now safe to plant the corn and other warm-weather vegetables.

However, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice an entre three day weekend of sunshine just to garden work. So we went to Theler Wetlands in Belfair early Sunday and had brunch at a favorite Mexican restaurant.

Birding was only so-so, and morning clouds meant that most of the bird pictures were rather average looking. Strangely enough, my favorite shots came from the Master Gardens where we always stop at the end of our walk. The Columbine, in various forms, dominated the garden, so I focused almost exclusively on them.

Here’s my favorite form, probably because it’s the form usually found in the Columbia Gorge, where I first saw them. This is the way you usually notice them because they’re not a very tall plant:

Top View of Pink Columbine

However, it’s not uncommon to see their bell shape from the side, like this,

Pink Columbine

because they often grow on banks.

If the bank is steep enough, you may even see them from a lower angle, like this,

Pink Columbine

but only a photographer who’s willing to lay down on the ground is likely to see them from this angle:

Pink Columbine

Luckily, they’re beautiful no matter how you look at them.


I still haven’t finished Tess of the D’Urbervilles, so I’m not ready to comment on it yet it, except to say that it is even more insightful than I remember it, perhaps because my own insights into society have changed so dramatically over time.

We’ve had relatives visiting all week and the weather has been cloudy; so, I haven’t had a chance to get out photographing this week and probably won’t at least until Friday.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to keep up with all my internet connections. I’m still reading a large number of blogs, and playing Scrabble games on Facebook, not to mention reading the usual news online. I forget how much I’m actually reading online until I go on vacation for a week and am faced with thousands of entries on my RSS reader. Faced with all of them, I almost invariably delete them all and pickup with new entries.

I’m assuming that many of the readers here also read many of the blogs that were on my blogroll (the one that, as Mike pointed out this week, hasn’t been restored yet), but here’s a entry from steve at the golden fish that fascinated me. Just be aware that it will take longer than the usual half minute you spend here to view it, but it seems well worth the time spent:

My First Sighting of Red Knots

With all of last week’s rain and this week’s family get-together it was beginning to look like I was going to miss the annual migration of Red Knots, a bird I’d never heard of until recently. To complicate matters, high tide wasn’t until 7 PM, necessitating a late trip with less than perfect lighting. Still, Leslie and I took the chance and drove to Bottle Beach Sunday. With perfect weather we could hardly miss.

Here’s my favorite shot of the Red Knots, my first sighting ever.

Two Red Knots

There were so many that it would have been impossible to miss them, particularly when they lined up like this.

Red Knots On Sand Bar

What really caught my attention, though, was the small number of Black-Bellied Plovers in the background. Even though I’ve seen them my previous two trips, I hadn’t managed to get a decent shot. I think this one is my favorite from Saturday, though it looks much better on a 24” monitor.

Black-Bellied Plover Landing

When we stopped for dinner in Westport I even managed to get a shot of this Ruddy Turnstone, another bird I’ve never seen before.

Ruddy Turnstone

Although it looks like its dramatic coloring would make it easy prey, when I moved to another place to get a better angle, I couldn’t see it at all as it blended in perfectly with the rocks, seaweed and kelp.

Retreating to My Shell

After basking in our recent sunshine and indulging in a photographic outburst, I’ve retreated to my shell

Painted Turtle Sunning

in face of this week’s rain and have finally started reading Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

I doubt I’ll be doing much posting this week unless the weather forecast improves radically. It’s tough to plan a photographic expedition when they’re predicting thunderstorms and hail, though so far they’ve been largely wrong. Still, with last week’s disastrous trip still firmly in mind I’m not about to head off to the beach for the day.